Lewis Hamilton Opens Up On Facing Racism, Bullying ... Kids Called Me N-Word

Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton is opening up on the racism and bullying he faced as a kid ... saying his classmates called him the N-word during "the most traumatizing and most difficult part of my life."

The 7-time world champion made a rare podcast appearance with "On Purpose with Jay Shetty" this week ... where he spoke about the impact his childhood experiences had on his life.

"I was already being bullied at the age of six," Hamilton said. "I think at the time of that particular school, I was probably one of three kids of color and just bigger and stronger bullying kids were throwing me around a lot of the time."

"I was always the last picked, you know, when you're standing at the playground, and you're in the line of when they're picking teams for football, I was always the last one chosen, or not even chosen, even if I was better than somebody else."

38-year-old Hamilton -- who is mixed-race -- said the way his peers treated him made him question his identity and sense of belonging ... claiming people even threw bananas at him and used the N-word "just so relaxed."

"People calling you half cast and, you know, just really not knowing where you fit in," he added.

"That, for me, was difficult. When you then go into like history class and everything you learn in history, there are no pictures of people of color in the history that they were teaching us.”

FYI, Lewis' father, Anthony Hamilton, is Black and of Grenadian descent, and his mother, Carmen Larbalestier, is White British, hailing from Birmingham in England.

Hamilton, a prominent advocate against racism and champion of diversity in motorsport, suppressed the traumas he was experiencing ... but said racing helped him channel his emotions properly.

"I didn't want my dad to think I was not strong," he said. "And so, I would, if I had tears, I would hold them back. If I had emotions, it would be in a quiet place."

"It wasn't really 'til I started racing that I was able to channel this emotion that I had into my driving," Hamilton said. "And, it's like when I put this helmet on, Superman was my favorite. I loved how he fought for the people, and I loved how he did the right things."

"And, he was a really inspiring character for me. But again, no superhero was of color, so, you know, but you can still aspire to be someone that's if they don't look like you, you know?"

Hamilton is now dedicated to using his platform for good ... including promoting diversity throughout the sport he's been dominating for years.

Joakim Noah, Tony Parker Shoot Hoops With Formula 1 Stars ... In France

STILL GOT GAME
Twitter / @NBAFrance

Ex-NBA All-Stars Tony Parker and Joakim Noah teamed up with some of the fastest athletes on the planet for a game of pickup basketball on Thursday -- Formula 1 superstars Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly!!

The cool moment went down as part of the league's festivities in Paris this week ... with the guys tossin' the rock around with actor Darko Perić.

Of course, the Ferrari and Alpine drivers are phenomenal on the track ... but as for the hardwood?? Not so much. In fact, Pierre -- who's become tight with Michael Jordan recently -- hilariously gets away with a clear double dribble.

But it was all in good fun ... and no one appeared to be taking it seriously. After all, everyone was wearing street clothes.

As for the REAL ball going on in Paris, the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls are currently going at it ... with big names like Magic Johnson and Lil Baby in attendance for the matchup.

The drivers also had great seats for the game ... with Gasly's Alpine teammate, Esteban Ocon, also joining them for the action.

Formula One Bans Drivers From Making Political Statements ... At Races

Any Formula One driver looking to send a message next season will have to get permission from the higher-ups first ... 'cause the org.'s governing body just instituted a ban on unapproved political statements at races.

The decision comes after a rise in activism throughout the sport in recent years ... with Mercedes superstar Lewis Hamilton leading the charge in spreading awareness by wearing slogans on shirts under his race suit.

The 7-time champion has worn "Black Lives Matter" and "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" on his shirts in the past ... and recently retired star Sebastian Vettel has also shown solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community with his wardrobe as well.

The FIA's new rule now forbids "the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA."

The only exceptions to the rule will include any statements that are given the OK prior to being displayed.

The org. says the move echoes the protocols handed down by the International Olympic Committee ... which is intended to create political neutrality within sports.

Charles Leclerc Splits From GF Charlotte Sine ... After 3 Years

F1 superstar Charles Leclerc is a single man -- the Ferrari driver just announced his split from girlfriend Charlotte Sine after three years of dating.

"Hello everyone, Charlotte and I have decided to end our relationship and we remain good friends," 25-year-old Leclerc said Tuesday.

"We have shared so many great moments and she is and always will be a very special person to me."

The breakup sounds pretty amicable ... as Leclerc added, "She is amazing and deserves the best."

Charles and the architecture student took their romance public back in 2019 ... and Sine was a regular in the paddock at his F1 races over the years.

Charlotte also released a statement about the split ... saying, "Charles and I have decided to end our relationship and stay good friends. It's been 3 beautiful years together with loads of memories."

"He is an amazing person and I wish him the best."

It's not the only breakup Leclerc has dealt with recently -- Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto resigned from his position following the 2022 season, in which Charles finished second in the driver standings.

Formula One Cancels Chinese Grand Prix Amid Covid-19 Restrictions

Formula One will NOT be making a return to China in 2023 -- the series just announced it has pulled the Chinese Grand Prix due to Covid-19 difficulties.

China recently implemented strict guidelines and lockdowns as part of a "zero-Covid" approach ... which has resulted in public protests.

China has since reportedly announced a plan to loosen its protocols by reducing mass testing in the coming days ... but F1 decided it was best to start its search for a replacement host ASAP.

"Formula 1 can confirm, following dialogue with the promoter and relevant authorities, that the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix will not take place due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation," F1 announced Friday.

"Formula 1 is assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course."

The April 16 event at Shanghai International Circuit was set to be F1's first return to China since 2019 ... and would have been Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu's debut home race of his career.

It's not the first time the plug has been pulled on the Chinese GP -- it was one of the first races to be canceled prior to the pandemic in 2020.

F1's Valtteri Bott-ass Skinny Dippin' In Pool ... After Final Race Of Season

SKINNY SWIMMIN'
Instagram / @tiffanycromwell

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas ditched his race suit -- and everything else -- after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ... by jumping in the pool in the buff!!

The 33-year-old star's partner, pro cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, posted the scene on Monday ... showing VB enjoying his first full day off after the 2022 F1 season.

Of course, Valtteri is no stranger to getting buck nekkid -- his friends always seem to grab a shot of his booty and post it on social media for all his fans to enjoy.

Remember, Bottas' buddy snapped a photo of his donk back in May ... when the guys were enjoying Aspen, Colorado.

Bottas finished his first season with Alfa Romeo in 10th place ... his worst finish since his rookie year in 2013.

But the guy seemed happier than ever on Monday ... and still made sure to get in some exercise by going on a bike ride with Cromwell.

Enjoy the time off!!

Sergio Pérez, Max Verstappen Moving Past Brazilian GP Drama ... 'Behind Us'

F1 star Sergio Pérez says he's not going to dwell on the fact his teammate, Max Verstappen, refused to help him out during the Brazilian Grand Prix ... claiming the issue is "behind us."

Verstappen came under fire for disobeying Red Bull's orders and not letting Checo pass him at the end of Sunday's race ... which ultimately hurt his spot in the driver standings.

Pérez broke his silence on the situation Monday ... saying he talked things over with Max after the race, and they're moving past it.

"With Max and the team everything was discussed yesterday and it will remain internally," Checo said on Twitter. "This is behind us and we will continue working as the great team that we have been until now."

Many criticized Max for his actions because he has the 2022 championship on lock ... and Checo is in a tight race for second with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who finished 4th in Brazil.

If Max -- who was positioned in 6th at the time -- would have let Pérez through, he would have been able to keep his lead over Leclerc in the standings.

Audio of Verstappen's exchange with the Red Bull crew was released after the race ... which showed the 2021 champ voicing his disagreement with the demand.

"I told you already last summer. The guys don't ask that again to me -- are we clear about that?" Max said. "I gave my reasons and I stand by it."

Sergio was heard reacting to Verstappen's antics ... saying, "It shows who he really is."

It's a pretty shocking move on Max's part -- especially considering everything Checo did for him as he made his title run last year.

But if we're taking Pérez at his word, they'll be able to bury the hatchet for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.

Mercedes F1 Team Suspends Partnership W/ FTX ... Amid Bankruptcy

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell's cars will look a little different during the Brazilian Grand Prix ... Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team has removed the logo of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX after the company went belly up this week.

The MB F1 team, currently in 3rd place in the Constructors standings, made the announcement on Friday, just days before Sunday's GP, saying they'd suspended their partnership and removed the FTX logo from their cars.

FTX was one of the world's biggest crypto exchanges ... keyword was. The company, valued at over $30 billion just weeks ago, became insolvent after they were unable to pay out users. Basically, they didn't have enough money to cash users out.

It's particularly infuriating for many customers because as recent as Thursday, the company insisted they were "100% liquid," tweeting "Every user could fully withdraw [their money]."

One day later ... bankrupt.

And, Mercedes F1 isn't the only team or athlete affected by FTX's demise. Tom Brady was heavily invested in the company. TB12 and Gisele even appeared in a commercial for FTX.

Steph Curry, Naomi Osaka, Shohei Ohtani and others were also involved with the company. The Miami Heat even play at FTX Arena ... which the crypto company promised to pay $135 million to rename back in 2021. It's likely they default on that agreement.

On Friday, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned, and the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many people, including some of the biggest celebs, lost an immense amount of money.

The Brazilian Grand Prix goes down Sunday from the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo ... the Mercedes car will look just a little different.

F1's Sergio Pérez Rocking 'Wakanda Forever' Helmet ... For Brazilian Grand Prix

Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez will have the power of the Black Panther when he hits the track in Brazil this week -- he'll be wearing an awesome 'Wakanda Forever' helmet!!

"My helmet for the next race, your thoughts?," Checo said alongside pics of the movie premiere on Monday. "Hope we can be as fast as Black Panther."

Let's be honest -- Red Bull doesn't need any vibranium on their side to come away with a win this weekend ... as they've been crushing it in 2022.

Pérez and his teammate Max Verstappen are currently at the top of the driver standings ... with the latter already securing the championship.

The helmet is really cool -- it's matte gray with the Black Panther logo on top ... with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" written across the back.

It's perfect timing for Checo to rock the look -- the Marvel flick is set to hit theaters on Friday.

If the helmet does make the Red Bull cars go as fast as Black Panther, it will be more bad news for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari.

Brad Pitt Snubs F1 Journo Martin Brundle Racing Community Pissed

Brad Pitt might be making a movie about Formula 1 racing, but he sure doesn't respect the sport in real life -- at least that's what F1 Twitter's saying after snubbing one of their heroes.

The A-lister was on the ground these past few days down in Austin -- where the U.S. Grand Prix's been taking place all weekend -- but on Sunday ... the guy skirted out of an interview with Sky Sports' Martin Brundle ... a famed former race car driver turned pundit/journalist.

PITT IN THE PIT
Formula 1

Brundle -- who's well-known these days for his grid walks, where he interviews celebs (sometimes awkwardly) impromptu -- got a bit of a cold shoulder from BP in person.

Now, in Brad's defense ... he didn't totally not respond to Brundle's questions -- ones about the movie, which he says can't answer since it's top secret -- but clearly didn't wanna chat. It would seem like a no harm, no foul sitch ... but some online are offended on MB's behalf.

Brundle himself seemed perturbed -- saying to the camera, "They're known at 'pit stops'" if they don't want you talking to Brad Pitt. Bird app users are mostly agreeing, arguing he should respect the culture and talk to Brundle, whose interviews are par for the course on the grid and who's an F1 staple. In other words, play ball when you're on our turf, Brad!

It's not the first time a celeb has brushed off Brundle -- Megan Thee Stallion famously did it last year -- but in this case, some are suggesting that since Brad is literally making a film about F1 ... he should be aware of the major players, Brundle included, and show reverence.

Outside of this salty interaction ... Brad has mostly been receiving the rock star treatment during his time in Texas, at one point posing for a pic with the Williams Racing team. He's still a golden boy in Hollywood -- and this won't change that.

Haters, take your mark.

Brad Pitt I've Got The Formula ... Hits F1 Race In Texas

Brad Pitt's got a need for speed lately ... only this time he's trading in his bullet train for a super fast race car.

The "Bullet Train" star was in Austin, TX on Friday for the start of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

Brad is set to star in a new movie about F1, which is skyrocketing in popularity across the country ... with legendary driver Lewis Hamilton among the producers.

The upcoming film is said to have Brad playing a former racer turned team owner who comes out of retirement to coach up the next generation of drivers.

Brad's already looking the part ... slipping on a pair of bright orange ear muffs to protect from the sound of those powerful F1 engines.

BP was also rocking some sweet shades, blue jeans and a matching blue jacket at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack ... surely a fit that would make Austin's favorite son, Matthew McConaughey, proud.

F1's Daniel Ricciardo Horsin' Around ... At U.S. Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo took his horse to that old town Grand Prix on Thursday ... showing up to Austin in the most Texas way possible!!

Of course, the Australian McLaren driver is OBSESSED with the Lone Star state ... and has become a fan of all things Texas since the event made its way to Austin in 2012.

In fact, DR has even tried to do his own Texas accent in interviews in the past ... and it's not half bad!!

Riccardo decided to show off just how much he loves his second home as he showed up to the Circuit of the Americas on Thursday ... by throwing on a Stars and Stripes shirt and cowboy hat and hopping on a horse to make a truly American entrance.

To make it even better, Daniel had country musicians accompany him as a crowd formed around him.

The best part?! Ricciardo's horse, apparently named "Horsey McHorse," had its very own VIP access badge -- complete with photo identification!!

Ricciardo is currently 12th in the driver standings ... but we reckon his passion for the Red, White and Blue could turn into some points this weekend, y'all.

Lewis Hamilton First Broncos Game As Co-Owner ... Gets Game Ball!!!

F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton got a firsthand look at his new team on Monday ... hitting up the Broncos vs. Chargers game -- and he left with a souvenir!!

The Mercedes driver hit up SoFi Stadium to catch his Broncos in action for the first time since joining the team's ownership group ... and while the game ended up being a dud, he clearly had a great time.

Sir Lewis -- who's in the U.S. leading up to the Grand Prix in Austin this weekend -- got the VIP treatment at the game ... and was on the field at some points throughout the night.

The team had a special present for Hamilton, too -- an honorary game ball!!

The ball says "Denver Broncos Football Club 2022" ... and "A New Chapter in Broncos History."

"First game being a part of this organization. Thanks for the warm welcome ❤️," Hamilton said on Twitter.

The Walton-Penner family -- which bought the team for a record $4.65 billion back in June -- announced Hamilton joined the ownership group back in August ... saying they're "delighted" to bring Hamilton on board.

The dude certainly seems to be fitting in with the team ... 'cause he also referenced Russell Wilson's viral battle cry.

"@Broncos country, LET'S RIDE 🐎🏈"

Michael Schumacher Nephew Breaks Spine In Crash ... Out At Least 6 Weeks

David Schumacher -- the nephew of racing icon Michael Schumacher -- suffered a broken spine during a terrifying crash in Germany, his family announced on Thursday.

The scene was tough to watch -- David's Mercedes-AMG GT3 crashed during the final round of the 2022 DTM season at Hockenheim ... after his car crashed into fellow racer Thomas Preining as the two were battling for seventh into Turn 8.

Ralf Schumacher, David's father, shared the update with German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) ... saying his son has to wear a corset due to the accident but won't require surgery.

"When David came home, he was still complaining of back pain," Ralf Schumacher told the outlet. "We then decided to go to a hospital in Salzburg to have an MRI done."

David will be sidelined for at least six weeks.

The crash sparked a chain reaction -- causing Ricardo Feller to hit the back of Dennis Olsen's Porsche ... and prompting officials to red-flag the session.

David was taken to the hospital after the accident, where preliminary scans revealed that he suffered a scraped knee and bruising to his lumbar spine.

The crash ended David's season and any hopes he had of competing in the title decider at the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters last Sunday.

David is the cousin of current F1 driver Mick Schumacher ... and also has experience in Formula 3.

F1's Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly Hilariously Butcher Adele Song ... In Karaoke Sesh

STICK TO RACING

If you're a big fan of Adele's hit song, "Hello," you may wanna say "goodbye" to F1 stars Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly ... 'cause the AlphaTauri drivers sang a horrendous rendition of the ballad this week -- and it's hilarious!!

Gasly shared the footage fresh off the Singapore GP ... showing the friends/teammates absolutely butchering the 2015 tune at a karaoke studio in Tokyo.

Both guys do their best at belting the challenging chorus ... but let's be honest, they're both better behind the wheel than a mic.

It was all in good fun, though ... as Yuki and Pierre couldn't help but smile throughout the teammate bonding.

The Singapore GP was a bummer for Tsunoda, who didn't finish the race. Gasly finished 10th.

Yuki and Pierre are pretty much inseparable ... and have gotten pretty close during their time with AlphaTauri.

Nice to see they were quick to turn things around and have a bit of R&R before the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.

AT is currently second to last in the Constructor standings ... but there's still a few more races this year to get back up in the rankings.

F1's Pierre Gasly Narrowly Escapes Car Fire ... During Practice

FIERY ESCAPE
Formula 1

Frightening moment during free practice at the Singapore Grand Prix -- AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly just barely escaped as his car burst into flames ... and the video is wild.

The incident went down as the 26-year-old made his way into the pit lane ... and as his car was being tended to, the area near his air box caught fire.

Luckily, Gasly was able to hop out of the vehicle as his pit crew put out the blaze.

Pit reporter Ted Kravitz provided an update on the Sky Sports broadcast ... saying, "Everything’s been sorted out. There’s been a bit of tape that’s been out over the fire-damaged engine cover."

"The team are telling me the fire started when the fuel breather was connected to the car but it was put out quickly and then he’s going back out on the circuit."

The Singapore GP is known for giving drivers one of the biggest challenges on the calendar due to humid temperatures and the nature of the track.

Great to hear Gasly avoided any injury ... and shoutout to the mechanics for reacting so quickly.

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