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.