Updated: Hamilton: I was the first working-class, black F1 champion

Hamilton Family

Lewis Hamilton has labeled his rise from humble beginnings his proudest achievement in his career, and hopes to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

A six-time Formula 1 world champion, Hamilton told Men’s Health that he hopes his own rise from a council estate in Stevenage to the top of the racing world can inspire others to make their own dreams come true.

“I was the first working-class, black* F1 champion. I’m proud to have paved the way for others,” he said. “One of my favourite phrases is: ‘You can’t be what you don’t see’. Anyone who sees me on the podium, even if it’s a child, can be inspired to follow their dreams. If that happens, I’ll have done my job well.”

A notoriously expensive sport to get into, it is widely accepted that those drivers with substantial financial backing have a better chance of reaching the top flight, although Hamilton’s assertion he is the “first” to win a title from working-class beginnings might require further verification.

In any case, Hamilton has promised to continue doing more to open up the sport to those who are under-represented.

“Diversity is a problem that Formula 1 has to face up to,” he explained, reiterating a stance he has been vocal about on social media in recent weeks.

“I want to do my part in helping the sport make progress, not only by inspiring others but also by collaborating to create more opportunities for people from different communities.”

*NOTE: Men’s Health acknowledged they misquoted Lewis Hamilton in the original article, and we have updated the report to reflect this.