Father of F1 star Hamilton silently mulled pulling son from sport

11/4/2008 - Formula 1

LONDON -- The father of new Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton said racial abuse and other insults directed at his son and family led him to consider withdrawing the 23-year-old driver from the sport.

Anthony Hamilton expressed dismay at what he described as a hate campaign against his son, who finished fifth in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to become the youngest and first black driver to win the F1 season title.

"My family has taken a lot of stick [abuse] this past week, not just this past week, but the past few months," Anthony Hamilton said in Tuesday editions of British newspapers, speaking from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"I did think that maybe this isn't the place for my family because as a parent you make sure you do right for your family and kids."

Hamilton said he never spoke to his son about withdrawing.

"I kept it to myself, even though I was going home thinking, 'I didn't think the world was quite like this,' " he said in The Guardian. "And then you think, 'It's just the way it is,' and I'd send Lewis a text saying, 'Whatever happens, people love you.' The negative people are a small percentage, and even the negative ones have a heart."

In the week leading up to the Brazilian race, Hamilton was the target of racist abuse on a Spanish Web site, was insulted by two Brazilian comedians and was handed a black cat -- a symbol of bad luck in Brazil -- at a sponsor's function.