How Lewis Hamilton almost lost his Formula One dream

November 14th, 2007 - 3:01 am ICT by admin  
Lewis, who was preparing to take his GCSEs and already attached to F1 giants McLaren, was excluded from lessons after he was accused of kicking a fellow pupil.

The superstar driver was totally innocent of the attack in 2001 that left a 15-year-old schoolmate suffering two fractured fingers, bruising and an injured arm.

In the sponsor-driven world of F1, being thrown out of school for a violent offence could have spelt the end of Lewis’s career before it had even started.

So dad Anthony, 47, fired off a letter to then PM Tony Blair to try to clear his son’s name.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, race ace Lewis, 22, said last night: “My career nearly ended before it had started because of a case of mistaken identity.

“I was not involved in the attack, but knew the boys involved. My career was on the line for something I didn’t do. I’m so careful not to ruin what I’ve got.”

The lunchtime attack happened in the toilets at John Henry Newman Catholic School in Stevenage, Herts, but was inflicted by one of Lewis’s fellow pupils.

Lewis, the greatest rookie F1 driver in history, added: “I knew I was innocent but the head teacher judged that I was guilty as charged and there was nothing I could do about it. The letters were no help.

“No one seemed to listen - no one either wanted to or had time. It nearly destroyed my faith in the education system.”

After an agonising two-month wait - which disrupted 16-year-old Lewis’s GCSEs - he was finally reinstated at the school.

An inquiry concluded the youngster had been wrongly identified and he received an apology from education chiefs.

And the career of one of the world’s most charismatic sportsmen was back on track. (ANI)

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