Lewis Hamilton: Not Just an F1 Star
Lewis Hamilton, born on 7th January 1985, is a British Formula One racing driver who races for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. Hamilton, who recently won his 4th Formula One World Championship, is often considered to be the best driver of his generation and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport. He won his 1st World Championship title with McLaren in 2008 at the tender age of 23, before moving to Mercedes where he won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015, and a 4th in 2017 making him one of the most successful drivers of all time.
Born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England to a white mother and a black father, Hamilton is mixed race and therefore the first and only black driver to race in Formula One. Lewis’ parents separated when he was 2 years old and he lived with his mother until the age of 12 when he started living with his father. In 1991, Hamilton’s father bought him a radio-controlled car and the following year Hamilton finished 2nd in the British Radio Car Association Championship.
Getting Started with Racing
Hamilton began karting at the age of 8 at the Rye House Kart Circuit and he was an almost overnight success. At the age of 10, Hamilton approached McLaren F1 team boss Ron Dennis for an autograph and told him, “I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.” Dennis, impressed by Hamilton’s confidence, wrote in his autograph book, “Phone me in 9 years, we’ll sort something out then”. Hamilton’s driving was so impressive that in 1997 popular online sports betting guide Ladbrokes took a bet that he would win an F1 GP race before the age of 23. From Cadet Ranks in karting, Hamilton progressed through Junior Yamaha in 1997 and Dennis called him in 1998 to sign him up to the McLaren driver development programme.
Timeline of a Notable F1 Career
2001-2005: Hamilton progresses through Formula Renault and Formula Three.
2006: Hamilton becomes a GP2 Series Champion at his first attempt.
2007: Hamilton’s first year in Formula 1 racing alongside then World Champion Fernando Alonso. Hamilton becomes the youngest drive to ever lead the World Championship.
2008: All the blood, sweat, and tears pay off as Hamilton becomes the F1 World Champion at the age of 23.
2009: A year of highs and lows for Hamilton – off-track he was awarded an MBE by the Queen, but he was banned from driving on public roads after he was caught speeding in France. Hamilton admits to lying in a hearing with the FIA involving an incident with Jarno Trulli, which saw him provide ‘misleading evidence’.
2012: Hamilton announces he is moving to Mercedes, ending his 5-year deal with McLaren after a difficult and unfruitful year of racing.
2014: After just 2 seasons with Mercedes, Hamilton wins his 2nd World Championship title and has his most successful year in racing – reaching a total of 32 victories.
2015: Hamilton wins his 3rd World Championship with still 3 races to go on the calendar and he also claims the 3rd longest streak of podium finishes – 14 – with his win at the Canadian GP.
2017: Hamilton wins his 4th F1 World Championship which puts him amongst other F1 greats such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, and Sebastian Vettel.