Lewis Hamilton started racing at an early age and was so focused on his Formula One aspirations that his education had to take a back seat. Did that stop him from attending college, or did he manage to complete higher education?
Lewis Hamilton went to college, but not in the same sense as in the US. He studied at the Cambridge College of Arts and Sciences, a private sixth-form college in Stevenage (16-19-year-olds). He picked CCAS because it offered him a flexible schedule, so he could easily juggle his studies and racing career.
Stick around to learn more about Hamilton’s educational background, and his time at the Cambridge College of Arts and Sciences.
Hamilton’s Early Education
Lewis Hamilton’s headmaster at his junior school Peartree remembers him as a composed and focused pupil, who always managed to stand out. He continued his secondary education at the John Henry Newman School, and quickly proved that racing isn’t the only thing he’s good at.
Hamilton also took up karate to defend himself from bullies, and thrived in other physical activities. He tried everything from cricket to basketball, and even played football alongside Ashley Young, who later made the England national team.
The six-time Formula One World Champion fondly remembers this part of his school experience, and recalls finding time for many extracurricular activities that he enjoyed.
“I’m very, very competitive in everything. I honestly don’t know where I get it from. I played for the school cricket team, the basketball team, the footy team. I was on the athletics team and I did javelin, discus and the 800 meters and won the occasional event on school sports days,” said Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton struggled with racism and bullying growing up, both at school and on the track. His dad used to take him karting on the weekends, and they always stood out due to being the only black people around.
Things weren’t any better at school, and the British race driver revealed that he was often bullied, but said it encouraged him and made him tougher. His father always told him to “do [his] talking on the track”, so he took his advice and put all of his energy into racing.
Hamilton admitted that both his peers and teachers used to tell him that he’ll “never amount to nothing”, and that his dream of becoming a racing driver is doomed. He managed to prove them wrong, and is hoping that his success made them proud.
“I forgive my teachers today, I hope they are watching and they are proud. Because even though they had that one moment which was quite difficult for me to swallow, they still helped me, and hopefully they are in a better place today,” Hamilton said during the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.
Hamilton’s Time at College
After completing his GCSEs at the John Henry Newman School, Hamilton decided to further his education. He continued his studies at the Cambridge College of Arts and Sciences (CATS College), a private sixth-form college in Cambridge.
It’s important to note that sixth-form colleges don’t rank as high as the Ivy League universities in the US, and they could be compared to the final year of education prior to college. Students are typically aged 16 to 19, and they’re working towards their A-levels or other advanced qualifications.
That was exactly Hamilton’s goal when he enrolled at the Cambridge College of Arts and Sciences, and its flexible timetable fit him perfectly. He remembered his time at college as “a pleasurable experience”, and said that the staff was really nice because they didn’t treat him “as if they were above [him]”.
Hamilton was already making waves as a race driver at the time, and his name was even mentioned in the college newsletter. It was reported that his studies have gone well, but that he found it hard “to concentrate on studies when his mind turns to the weekend’s racing.”