“No, I wouldn’t say F1 is worth dying for. Your dream, passion, ambition and goals can be worth dying for.” (Lewis Hamilton, Independent, 2018)
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix this weekend at the Silverstone Circuit and achieved the fastest lap on old, hard tyres. He has achieved a lot since becoming the F1 driver for McLaren-Mercedes in 2007. Almost everyone knows about his wins and his racing achievements. However, what people may not know is that he was diagnosed with dyslexia while in school. In an article with the Independent, he explained how he struggled in school due to his learning difficulty but said he liked to challenge his mind, learn new things and surpass certain tests.
Lewis Hamilton often talks about growing up in Stevenage on a council estate and said he wants to show people that if you really, really try it is possible to meet your dreams even with obstacles in the way. It took Lewis Hamilton 20 years to become an F1 driver, so he emphasises that people should not to give up on their dreams.
However, Lewis Hamilton is not the only Hamilton to succeed. Nicolas Hamilton is Lewis’s younger brother who was born with Cerebral Palsy. When he was 18 months old his parents were told that he would never walk again and that he would deteriorate as he got older. However, due to his determination and belief that his disability would not prevent him from achieving his dreams, he is now a successful racing driver.
Nicolas was originally wheelchair bound but with years of hard work he was able to walk unaided by age 17. With his dream to race, he was given the opportunity to race in the Renault Clio Cup series which gave him his first attempt at motor sports. Nicolas became the first disabled athlete to compete in the British Touring Car Championship and he hoped to inspire both disabled and able-bodied individuals. Nicolas wants people to know that pushing yourself regardless of your life situation or industry is possible as long as you try.
There are now nearly 14 million individuals in the UK who are disabled which means that disabled individuals make up around 22% of the UK population. Access to sports for those with learning and physical disabilities has improved however, there are still barriers in place. Seven out of ten individuals with disabilities want to be involved but often the correct facilities or staff training is not available.
It is hoped that individuals like Lewis and Nicolas Hamilton can continue to raise awareness of these disabilities to show the importance of support from organisations and sports facilities. Both these individuals believe that as long as you really try you will succeed in something. All we can do is try it is the only way to succeed.
By Yvette Gibson, Assistant Psychologist at Lexxic