Born on January 7th 1985, Lewis Carl Davidson
Hamilton is widely regarded as one of Formula 1's most natural
talents. His racing career from step one has been covered in great
detail and he is one of the sport's richest drivers thanks to his
Lewis began karting in 1993, aged eight years old. He showed
promise from the offset, winning the Cadet class championships.
Aged ten, Hamilton met Ron Dennis at the Autosport Awards ceremony
where he told the McLaren boss that he wanted to drive his F1 cars
one day. Just three years later Lewis got the call from McLaren and
was signed up on McLaren's driver development programme.
While working with McLaren, Hamilton continued his karting
during his teenage years, picking up the odd championship win and
numerous wins along the way. In 2001 though he made the leap to
single seater cars, racing in the British Formula Renault Winter
Series in which he finished 5th. After this performance
he was promoted to Formula Renault in 2002, racing for Manor
Motorsport. In his first year with the team he came 3rd,
taking three wins and three poles. The next year he stormed to
victory, taking the championship by more than 50 points. In 2004,
he was promoted to the Formula 3 Euro Series where he finished
5th, taking just one win out of the twenty races. In
2005, and with a different team, Hamilton dominated the F3 series,
taking fifteen wins from twenty races along with two further
podiums. His place in GP2 was sealed.
Hamilton raced for ART Grand Prix in 2006 and after a shaky
first four races, Lewis came into his own, taking five wins from
the next seven wins, including one at Monaco and both the sprint
and feature races at his home race of Silverstone. The rest of the
season was very solid, mainly consisting of second and third place
finishes, but Lewis had sealed the championship at the first time
of asking. He now couldn't return to the series and Formula 1 was
In 2007, Hamilton debuted in Formula 1 for McLaren, partnering
Fernando Alonso which would eventually turn into a very frosty
relationship, resulting in the Spaniard leaving the team to return
to Renault. Lewis' year was very successful and although he lost
out on the championship title by just one point to Kimi Raikkonen,
he ended the season with four wins and a whopping twelve podiums
from seventeen races. He still holds the record for the most number
of wins, poles and points in a debut season. Strangely, 2007 is
Hamilton's most successful year in the sport with more wins and
podiums than in any other, although the McLaren MP4-22 was very
In 2008, the battle for the title was predominantly between
Hamilton and Felipe Massa with the Briton ending the year just one
point from his rival. This time though, Lewis took the title after
a nail-biting season finale at the Brazilian Grand Prix where Lewis
took 5th place at the last corner and confirming his
title win. Felipe Massa took an emotional home Grand Prix win but
it wasn't enough to seal the big trophy.
A year later McLaren mis-interpreted the major rule changes with
the aerodynamics and brought an uncompetitive car. Disqualification
at the first race of the season was handed to Lewis after he lied
to the stewards on an overtaking situation under the safety car.
The year got progressively worse for Hamilton with four straight
races yielding no points. Hungary was the turning point however
with a win from fourth on the grid. The rest of the season was
mixed with four podiums, a 12th place finish and two
retirements. He ended the season with 49 points, giving him
5th in the championship.
In 2010, Jenson Button joined McLaren after dominating most of
2009 with Brawn GP. Button proved to be a fierce opponent at times,
giving Hamilton tougher competition compared to his previous
teammate, Heikki Kovalainen. Three wins and a good handful of
podiums secured 4th in the championship, behind the
unstoppable Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.
Lewis had beaten his teammate by a fair margin but his performance
was overshadowed by the dominance of Red Bull.
2011 was Hamilton's second most successful season with points
finishes in every race bar three. Despite this consistent effort,
he was regularly outpaced by the improved Jenson Button and only
occasionally in the mix with Vettel, Alonso and Webber. Just one
pole position was won due to Red Bull's immense stronghold. A raft
of private problems blighted Lewis' performance with splits with
both his father and girlfriend, leading to the appointment of XIX
Management who were criticised for their poor supervision of Lewis.
2011 was also the first year that Hamilton finished behind his
teammate in the championship, something which was unusual for the
In 2012, Hamilton's main focus will be starting the season on a
high, while increasing the pressure on the now very confident and
more experienced Jenson Button. His future at McLaren and in
Formula 1 as a whole has been questioned and commented upon but his
decision at the end of this season will be purely based on his
driving performance and McLaren's ability to provide a solid car
that can challenge Red Bull's predicted supremacy.
Previously known as the co-founder of F1Lite (a Twitter-only
service), Alex Norton joined PortalF1 as the English language
editor in January 2012.
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