Lewis Hamilton will be racing under a different name this year after he revealed he is in the process of making the change official.
Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will change his name to honor his mother Carmen Larbalestier, he revealed as he prepares to challenge for a record eighth world title.
The 37-year-old said he would add his mother’s surname to his — most likely racing as Lewis Hamilton-Larbalestier — in a move that would take place “soon”.
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“My mum’s name is Larbalestier and I’m just about to put that in my name,” the Mercedes driver said in an on-stage interview at the Expo world fair in Dubai.
“Because I don’t really fully understand the whole idea when people get married then the woman loses her name.
“And my mum, I really want her name to continue on with the Hamilton name.”
Hamilton said he was “working on” the name change but that it would not take effect for this week’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Larbalestier divorced Lewis’s father, Anthony Hamilton, when their son was young but he lived with his mother until the age of 12.
The Brit, who was pipped to his eighth world title in controversial circumstances at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was non-committal about his future, saying he was taking it “one day at a time”.
But Hamilton, who took a two-month break from social media before reappearing in February, added: “I’ve come back to fight for that eighth (title), that’s what I’m here for.”
“Doing something that no one else has done, of course would be mind-blowing,” he said, adding that an eighth title would mean “everything”.
Hamilton admitted it had been a “different” off-season and described Abu Dhabi, where he was beaten to the title by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after a contentious last-lap restart, as “a difficult period of time”.
But he said: “I still love what I do. I still am so challenged. I didn’t think at this age I would feel so sharp and so energized.
“I’m still getting up for my morning runs, still fitting those workouts in, still putting the time in, more than the youngsters do.”
Hamilton, the first black F1 driver and a powerful voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, also said he was heavily invested in making the sport more ethnically diverse.
Last year’s Hamilton Commission report, conducted with Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering, produced recommendations aimed at getting more ethnic minorities involved in motorsport and the sciences.
“I’ve had all these years where I was having this success but not really understanding why I was the only person of color to get through to this role and not only that, but be at the forefront of (the sport),” he said.
“I’m really leaning on all the leaders of our sport to do what’s right … so hopefully, in the next five, 10 years, you’re going to see the sport looking a lot more like this place,” he told the multicultural crowd at Expo, which features pavilions from more than 190 countries.
Originally published as F1 star Lewis Hamilton is officially changing his name