Lewis Hamilton
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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
MBE HonFREng
Lewis Hamilton 2016 Malaysia 2.jpg
BornLewis Carl Davidson Hamilton[1]
(1985-01-07) 7 January 1985 (age 34)[2]
Stevenage, England
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom
2019 teamMercedes[3]
Car number44[note 1]
Entries249 (249 starts)
Championships6 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Wins83
Podiums150
Career points3405
Pole positions87
Fastest laps46
First entry2007 Australian Grand Prix
First win2007 Canadian Grand Prix
Last win2019 Mexican Grand Prix
Last entry2019 Brazilian Grand Prix
2018 position1st (408 pts)

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. A six-time Formula One World Champion, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, and considered by some to be the greatest of all time.[note 2] He won his first drivers' title with McLaren in 2008, before moving to Mercedes in 2013, with whom he has won a further five titles. One of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, Hamilton's six World Championship titles is the second-most of all time, as is his tally of 83 race victories and 150 podium finishes. He currently holds the records for the all-time most career points (3405), the all-time most pole positions (87), the most grand slams in a season (3) and the most points in a season (408).[note 3]

Born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Hamilton's interest in racing started when his father bought him a radio-controlled car when he was six. He was signed to McLaren's young driver support programme in 1998, after he approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at an awards ceremony three years earlier and said "one day I want to be racing your cars". After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula 3 Euro Series, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he made his Formula One debut twelve years after his initial encounter with Dennis, driving for McLaren in 2007. Coming from a mixed background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is the first and only black driver to race in Formula One.[note 4]

In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records as he finished runner-up in the 2007 season to Kimi Räikkönen by just one point, including those for the most consecutive podium finishes from debut (9), the joint most wins in a debut season (4) and the most points in a debut season (109). The following season, he won his first title in dramatic fashion; on the last corner of the last lap in the last race of the season, becoming the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history. After four more years with McLaren without finishing higher than fourth in the drivers' standings, Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013, reuniting with his childhood karting teammate, Nico Rosberg. In his first season, he finished 4th once again, the third time in five years.

Changes to regulations ahead of the 2014 season, which mandated the use of turbo-hybrid engines, contributed to the start of a highly successful era for Hamilton and Mercedes, during which he has won a further five World Championship titles. Hamilton won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 during an intense and sometimes volatile rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg, to match his hero Ayrton Senna's three World Championships. Following Rosberg's retirement, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton's closest rival as the pair engaged in two intense championship battles, but Hamilton prevailed to claim consecutive titles for the second time in his career in 2017 and 2018. A third World Drivers' Championship followed in 2019 to complete a hat-trick of consecutive titles, bringing his tally to six overall, second only to seven-time World Drivers' Champion Michael Schumacher.

Early life and education

Anthony Hamilton, Lewis' father and then-manager, celebrating with his son after the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.[6]

Hamilton was born on 7 January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England.[2] Hamilton's mother, Carmen (Larbalestier), is white British, while his father, Anthony Hamilton, is black British, making him mixed-race;[7] he self-identifies as black.[8] Lewis's parents separated when he was two and, as a result of this, he lived with his mother and half-sisters until he was twelve.[9] He then moved to live with his father, stepmother Linda and half-brother Nicolas, who is also a professional racing driver and has cerebral palsy.[10] Hamilton was raised a Roman Catholic.[11]

At the age of five Hamilton took up karate to defend himself as a result of bullying at school;[12] later, he learned to ride a unicycle, as part of his karting rivalry with future Formula One Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, who could already ride one.[13] Hamilton's father bought him a radio-controlled car in 1991, which gave him his first taste of racing competition before finishing second in the national BRCA championship the following year. He said of the time: "I was racing these remote-controlled cars and winning club championships against adults".[14] His father bought him a go-kart for Christmas when Hamilton was six[15] and promised to support his racing career as long as he worked hard at school. To support his son, Anthony took redundancy from his position as an information technology manager and became a contractor; sometimes working up to three jobs at a time, while still attending all his son's races. Anthony later set up his own computer company, still managing Lewis;[16] Hamilton would later end his working relationship with his father in early 2010.[17]

Lewis Hamilton was educated at The John Henry Newman School, a voluntary aided Catholic secondary school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.[18] In addition to racing, he played association football for his school team with eventual England international, Ashley Young.[16] Hamilton, an Arsenal fan, said that if Formula One had not worked for him he would have been a footballer or a cricketer, having played both for his school teams.[19] In February 2001 he began studies at Cambridge Arts and Sciences (CATS), a private sixth-form college in Cambridge.[20]

Early career

1993-2000: Karting

Hamilton began karting in 1993, when he was eight,[21] at the Rye House Kart Circuit[22] and quickly began winning races and Cadet class championships. Two years later, he approached McLaren Formula One team boss Ron Dennis for an autograph, and told him, "Hi. I'm Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars." Dennis wrote in his autograph book, "Phone me in nine years, we'll sort something out then." Hamilton drove for Martin Hines's Zip Young Guns Karting Team.[23] By the age of 12, his driving skill was high enough that Ladbrokes took a bet, at 40/1 odds, that Hamilton would win a Formula One Grand Prix race before the age of 23; another predicted, at 150/1 odds, that he would win the World Drivers' Championship before he was 25.[24] He progressed through to Junior Yamaha in 1997, and in 1998, Dennis called Hamilton after he won an additional Super One series and his second British championship.[14] Dennis delivered on his promise and signed Hamilton to the McLaren driver development programme.[7] This contract included an option of a future Formula One seat, which would make Hamilton the youngest driver to secure a contract which later resulted in a Formula One drive.[21]

"He's a quality driver, very strong and only 16. If he keeps this up I'm sure he will reach F1. It's something special to see a kid of his age out on the circuit. He's clearly got the right racing mentality."

--Michael Schumacher, speaking about Hamilton in 2001.[25]

Hamilton continued his progress in the Intercontinental A (1999), Formula A (2000) and Formula Super A (2001) ranks, and became European Champion in 2000 with maximum points. In Formula A and Formula Super A, racing for TeamMBM.com, his teammate was Nico Rosberg, who would later drive for the Williams and Mercedes teams in Formula One; they would later team up again for Mercedes in 2013. Following his karting successes the British Racing Drivers' Club made him a "Rising Star" Member in 2000.[26] In 2001, Michael Schumacher made a one-off return to karts and competed against Hamilton along with other future Formula One drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Nico Rosberg. Hamilton ended the final in seventh, four places behind Schumacher. Although the two saw little of each other on the track, Schumacher praised the young Briton (see quote box).[27]

2001-2005: Formula Renault and Formula Three

Hamilton began his car racing career in the 2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series. Despite crashing on his third lap in the car in testing, he finished fifth overall in the winter series.[14] This led to a full 2002 Formula Renault UK campaign with Manor Motorsport in which he finished third overall with three wins and three pole positions.[28] He remained with Manor for another year and won the championship with ten wins and 419 points to the two wins and 377 points of his nearest rival, Alex Lloyd.[29] Having clinched the championship, Hamilton missed the last two races of the season to make his debut in the season finale of the British Formula 3 Championship.[30] In his first race he was forced out with a puncture,[31] and in the second he crashed out and was taken to hospital after a collision with teammate Tor Graves.[32]

Asked in 2002 about the prospect of becoming one of the youngest ever Formula One drivers, Hamilton replied that his goal was "not to be the youngest in Formula One" but rather "to be experienced and then show what I can do in Formula One".[33] Later in 2004, Williams would announce that they had come close to signing Hamilton but did not because BMW, their engine supplier at the time, would not fund him.[34] He eventually re-signed with McLaren, and made his debut with Manor in the 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series. They won one race and Hamilton ended the year fifth in the championship.[35] He also won the Bahrain F3 Superprix[36] and raced one of the Macau F3 Grand Prix.[37]

Hamilton first tested for McLaren in late 2004 at Silverstone.[38] Hamilton moved to the reigning Euro Series champions ASM for the 2005 season and dominated the championship, winning 15 of the 20 rounds. This would have been 16 but for being disqualified from one win at Spa-Francorchamps on a technical infringement that caught out several other drivers.[14] He also won the Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort.[39] After the season British magazine Autosport featured him in their "Top 50 Drivers of 2005" issue, ranking Hamilton 24th.[40]

2006 season: GP2

Due to his success in Formula Three, he moved to ASM's sister GP2 team ART Grand Prix for 2006.[41] Like their sister team in F3, ART were the leaders of the field and reigning champions having taken the 2005 GP2 crown with Nico Rosberg.[42] Hamilton won the GP2 championship at his first attempt, beating Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Timo Glock.[43] His performances included a dominant win at the Nürburgring, despite a penalty for speeding in the pit lane.[44] At his home race at Silverstone, supporting the British Grand Prix, Hamilton overtook two rivals at Becketts, a series of high-speed bends where overtaking is rare.[45] In Istanbul he recovered from a spin that left him in eighteenth place to take second.[46] Hamilton won the title in unusual circumstances, inheriting the final point he needed after Giorgio Pantano was stripped of fastest lap in the Monza feature race. In the sprint race, though he finished second with Piquet sixth, he was 12 points clear of his rival.[47] His success in the GP2 championship coincided with a vacancy at McLaren following the departure of Juan Pablo Montoya to NASCAR and Kimi Räikkönen to Ferrari.[48][49] After months of speculation on whether Hamilton, Pedro de la Rosa or Gary Paffett would be paired with defending champion Fernando Alonso for 2007, Hamilton was confirmed as the team's second driver.[50] He was told of McLaren's decision at the end of September, but the news was not made public for almost two months, for fear that it would be overshadowed by Michael Schumacher's retirement announcement.[51]

Formula One career

McLaren

2007-2008: Record-breaking season and maiden title

Hamilton took his first Formula One win at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix in only his sixth Grand Prix.

Hamilton's first season in Formula One saw him partner two-time and defending World Champion Fernando Alonso. After finishing on the podium in his debut, Hamilton went on to set several records as he finished runner-up in the 2007 World Drivers' Championship to Kimi Räikkönen by one point, including those for the most consecutive podium finishes from debut (9), the joint most wins in a debut season (4) and the most points in a debut season (109). Throughout the season, Hamilton and Alonso were involved in a number of incidents which resulted in tensions between both drivers and the team, culminating in Alonso and McLaren terminating their contract by mutual consent in November. Following a successful first season at McLaren, Hamilton signed a multi-million-pound contract to stay with the team until 2012.[52]

Hamilton and his team celebrate his maiden Formula One World Championship title in 2008.

Hamilton's success continued in 2008. He amassed five victories and ten podium finishes, but was also accused of arrogance and dangerous driving, though he argued that his self-belief was wrongly interpreted and that his driving was firm but fair. As the season reached its conclusion in Brazil, it became a clear two-way fight for the title between the home-favourite Felipe Massa and the young Briton. Hamilton won his first title in dramatic fashion; on the last corner of the last lap in the last race of the season, becoming the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history as he denied race-winner Massa the title by one point.[53][54] This made Hamilton the first British driver to win the World Championship since Damon Hill in 1996.[55]

2009-2012: Unsuccessful championship campaigns with McLaren

In his last four years with McLaren, Hamilton continued to score podium finishes and race victories, but a culmination of less competitive machinery and a self-confessed loss of focus saw him fail to finish higher than fourth in the drivers' standings. Hamilton entered the final round of the 2010 season with a chance of winning the title, but ultimately finished fourth as Sebastian Vettel won the race to take his maiden drivers' crown. The following year was the first season he had been out-scored by a teammate, as Jenson Button finished runner-up to champion Sebastian Vettel, during a year in which distractions in his private life and run-ins with FIA officials saw Hamilton finish a lowly fifth in the standings, after which he vowed he would return to form for 2012. Keeping to his word, Hamilton achieved four race-wins in the 2012 season as he finished fourth in the standings. Before the end of the year, Hamilton announced, to much surprise, that he would be joining Mercedes for the 2013 season, replacing the retiring Michael Schumacher.[56]

Mercedes

Hamilton (right) and Rosberg (left) endured a tense rivalry in their time as teammates.

2013-2016: Teammates with Rosberg; back-to-back titles

Upon signing with Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton was reunited with his childhood karting teammate, Nico Rosberg. The move was met with surprise by pundits and the public, with some describing the move to Mercedes, a team with no recent history of success, as a gamble.[57][58] In his first season with the silver arrows, Hamilton secured a sole race victory, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he converted an unexpected pole position into a winning margin of over 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kimi Räikkönen,[59] alongside a number of podium finishes and pole positions, finishing fourth in the standings once again, the third time in five years.[56]

Changes to regulations ahead of the 2014 season, which mandated the use of turbo-hybrid engines, contributed to the start of a highly successful era for Hamilton as he found himself in the most dominant car on the grid. That year saw Mercedes win 16 of the 19 races that season, 11 of those secured by Hamilton as he prevailed in a season-long duel for the title against teammate Rosberg. Clinching his second drivers' title, and eclipsing the victory tally of all British drivers before him, Hamilton declared over team-radio after the final race in Abu Dhabi, "This is the greatest day of my life".[56]

Hamilton's engine failure in Malaysia in 2016 was a key moment in the Drivers' Championship fight.

Ahead of the 2015 season, Hamilton announced he would not be exercising his option of switching his car number to 1, as was his prerogative as reigning World Champion, and would instead continue to race with his career number 44. It was the first season since 1994, when Alain Prost retired from the sport following his fourth and final World Drivers' Championship title in 1993, that the field would not contain car bearing the number 1.[60] Hamilton dominated the 2015 season, winning ten races finishing on the podium a record seventeen times as he matched his hero, Ayrton Senna's three World Championships titles. The rivalry between him and Rosberg intensified, climaxing in a heated battle at the US Grand Prix where Hamilton won in an action-packed, wheel-to-wheel battle with his teammate to clinch the title with three races to spare.[56] That year, Hamilton extended his contract with Mercedes for three additional years in a deal reportedly worth more than £100 million, making him one of the best-paid drivers in Formula One,[61][62] as well as allowing Hamilton to retain his own image rights, which is considered unusual in the sport, and keep his championship winning cars and trophies.[63]

Hamilton achieved his fifth career Grand Slam and his third of the season at the 2017 British Grand Prix.

Despite recording more pole positions and race wins than any other driver in 2016, Hamilton lost the drivers' title by five points to his teammate, Rosberg. The team's policy of letting the pair fight freely led to a number of acrimonious exchanges both on and off the track, culminating in Hamilton defying team-orders at the season finale in Abu Dhabi and deliberately slowing to back Rosberg into the chasing pack at end of the race in an unsuccessful bid to encourage other drivers to overtake his teammate, which would have allowed him to win the title.[64] Ultimately, a lack of reliability and a handful of driving errors from Hamilton helped Rosberg get closer than in previous years, and a crucial engine blowout in Malaysia allowed the title to fall into Rosberg's hands, which he successfully secured before announcing his shock retirement from the sport immediately after beating his rival.[56][65]

2017-2019: Three titles in a row; most pole positions

Following Rosberg's retirement, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton's closest rival as the pair exchanged the championship lead throughout 2017 in a tense title fight. Hamilton registered 11 pole positions that season as he took the record for the all-time most pole positions, and his consistency (finishing every race in the points), as well as a lack of a serious challenge from his new teammate Valtteri Bottas, saw him record nine race victories and secure his fourth World Drivers' title as he overturned a points deficit to Vettel in the first half of the season, ultimately wrapping the title up in Mexico with two races to spare.[56]

The 2018 season was the first time in the sport that two four-time World Champions--Hamilton and Vettel--would be competing for a fifth title.

The 2018 season was the first time that two four-time World Champions, Hamilton and Vettel, would be competing for a fifth title and was billed as the Fight for Five by journalists and fans.[66][67][68] As with the season before, Ferrari and Vettel appeared to have the upper hand for much of the season, topping the standings until the half-way point. However, Vettel's season unravelled with a number of driver and mechanical errors, while Hamilton's run of six wins in seven in the latter half of the season saw Hamilton clinch the title in Mexico for a second year running as he set a new record for the most points scored in a season (408).[56][65] During the season, Hamilton signed a two-year contract with Mercedes, reported to be worth up to £40 million, making him the best-paid Formula One driver in history.[69]

Having signed a contract with Mercedes that lasts until 2020, it was confirmed Hamilton would defend his title in 2019.[3] Hamilton clinched his sixth World Drivers' Championship at the 2019 United States Grand Prix,[70][71] and with two rounds remaining, has recorded 10 wins, 16 podiums and 4 pole positions in the season thus far.[72]

Driver profile

Driving style

Hamilton won by over a minute from second-place Nick Heidfeld at the 2008 British Grand Prix.

Hamilton is regarded as one of the most complete drivers on the grid. The all-time record holder for most pole positions, Hamilton is considered one of the fastest qualifiers in the history of the sport, and has received praise for his ability to produce fast laps at crucial moments.[73] Also a tenacious racer, he excels across a wide range of areas.[74] He has been described as having an aggressive driving style,[75] which at times results in a tendency to lock up the front wheels.[76] Hamilton has been praised for his ability to adapt to variances in the car set-up and changing track conditions; throughout his career, he has typically used less fuel than his teammates as a result of his ability to carry momentum through corners despite instability in the car.[77] Hamilton has been praised for his consistency, especially later in his career, finishing 33 consecutive races in point-scoring positions; a run only brought to an end as a result of mechanical issues as opposed to driver error.[78][79]Ross Brawn wrote that "over the course of [2018], Hamilton hardly put a foot wrong, winning not only the races he should have, but also some where the opposition was stronger, and that is the true mark of a champion".[80]

Hamilton won the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix in torrential rain, and compared the conditions to his victory at the 2008 British Grand Prix.

Ayrton Senna was a major influence on Hamilton's driving style. "I think it's partly because I watched [him] when I was young and I thought 'this is how I want to drive when I get the opportunity' and I went out there and tried it on the kart track. My whole approach to racing has developed from there".[81] He has been compared to Senna in raw speed.[82] In 2010, Hamilton drove Ayrton Senna's original title winning McLaren MP4/4 as part of a tribute documentary by the BBC motoring show, Top Gear. In the documentary, Hamilton, along with fellow racing drivers, name Senna as the number one driver ever.[83][84]

Hamilton is the most successful British driver in Formula One history, and has won the British Grand Prix a record six times.

Hamilton is regarded as one of the best wet-weather drivers in the sport, with some of his best performances occurring in those conditions. In the 2008 British Grand Prix, Hamilton bested second-place Nick Heidfeld by over a minute, the largest margin of victory recorded since the 1995 Australian Grand Prix.[85][86] During the turbo-hybrid era, Hamilton remained unbeaten in every race affected by wet weather from the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix up to the 2019 German Grand Prix, where his almost five-year streak was broken by Max Verstappen.[87]

Earlier in his career, Hamilton was criticised for being hot-headed at times, as demonstrated when he was disqualified in Imola in the GP2 Series for overtaking the safety car, something he would go on to repeat four years later in Formula One at the 2010 European Grand Prix in Valencia.[88] Later in his career, however, Hamilton demonstrated greater maturity, while maintaining his ruthlessness and aggression. He divided public and former drivers' opinions in the final race of the 2016 season, where from the lead, he defied team-orders and deliberately slowed to back Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack at end of the race in a bid to encourage their rivals to overtake his teammate, which would have allowed him to win the World Championship.[89]

Reception

"As a driver he is absolutely outstanding - as good as there's ever been. Apart from the talent, he's a good guy, he gets out on the street and supports and promotes Formula One. He is box office, 100 per cent."

--Bernie Ecclestone, speaking of Hamilton in 2015.[90]

Hamilton is often considered the best driver of his generation,[91][92][93][94] and widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.[95][96][97][98][99][100] Often considered among the greatest British drivers in Formula One, and as one of the greatest British sportsmen ever,[101] Hamilton is the most successful British driver in the sport, having more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and holding a record six British Grand Prix victories.[102][103] Despite receiving widespread plaudits from experts and fans both in and out of the sport, Hamilton has been a divisive figure in the eyes of the general public, with some journalists arguing his exploits on the track are under-appreciated by some.[104][105] Jim Holder of Autocar magazine has suggested that racial bias may have contributed towards Hamilton's perceived lack of popularity relative to his achievements, with Hamilton's race and physical appearance--being mixed-race and often seen sporting earrings, dreadlocks and designer clothing--alienating some of the sport's traditional white, elderly male fanbase.[101] Others have attributed his lack of appreciation to the perceived predictability of results during the turbo-hybrid era, likening his period of dominance to that of Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s, and to tennis players Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, all of whom became more appreciated in the latter part of their careers.[106][101]

Hamilton's jet-set lifestyle and interests outside Formula One have received criticism,[107] although he has been praised for disregarding convention and public opinion, and has been described as one of the last 'superstar' drivers.[108][106] For example, between race weekends Hamilton has on several occasions travelled around the world to explore a variety of interests, such as in 2018 where, after winning the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton flew to Shanghai and New York where he released his own designer clothing line with Tommy Hilfiger, before flying immediately back to, and winning, the next race in Singapore.[108] Team boss, Toto Wolff, has been consistenly vocal in his support for Hamilton's off-track pursuits, explaining how freedom allows Hamilton to function at his best.[104] Figures in the sport such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Christian Horner have voiced their support for Hamilton's ability to connect with fans, while Bernie Ecclestone frequently commented on his admiration of Hamilton's ability to promote the sport through his lifestyle, noting how he is happy to engage with fans, unlike some of his peers.[107] Since Hamilton's rookie season in 2007, Formula One's annual global rose by 53%, to $1.83 billion as of 31 July 2016.[91] Sports journalist for The Telegraph, Luke Slater, goes as far as to argue that "[t]here have been few better representatives of the sport than Hamilton ... [both] on and off the track."[109]

"He was able to win with a dominant car, with a good car like 2010 or 2012, or with bad cars like 2009 and 2011. Not all the champions can say that"

--Fernando Alonso, speaking of Hamilton in 2017.[110]

A prodigious talent as a teenager, Hamilton established himself as one of the world's best drivers following his record-breaking rookie year. After his first world title a year later, many people considered Hamilton the best driver of his generation.[111] Following Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's four-year dominance of the sport, Hamilton's resolve was tested both professionally and personally as he did not finish higher than fourth in the Drivers' Championship from 2009 to 2013, leading some to question his status as the best driver in the sport.[112] In spite of this, Hamilton's less successful years with McLaren have also been cited as a demonstration of driving ability as Hamilton has won at least one race in thirteen consecutive seasons,[99] attracting high praise from experts and fellow drivers for extracting race-winning performances from cars that were not dominant.[110][113]

Hamilton waving to fans after winning the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

After Hamilton clinched his second and third World Championship titles with Mercedes in 2014 and 2015, David Coulthard declared Hamilton the best driver of his generation, calling him "the Ayrton Senna of his era",[92] an opinion which was more widely accepted amongst the public, experts, and fellow and former drivers.[91] As Hamilton became more widely considered the best driver of his era, public and expert debate moved from his status in modern Formula One to his status amongst the greatest drivers in history.[112] The next few seasons saw Hamilton eclipse a number of records, including achieving the most all-time pole positions ahead of Michael Schumacher, leading him to be regarded by some as the greatest qualifier in history.[114] After winning his fourth and fifth world titles, Hamilton's place among the greats of the sport became firmly established in the opinions of experts, rivals and teammates alike,[99][110][115][116][98] with some journalists and pundits considering the possibility of Hamilton being the greatest Formula One driver of all time.[117][118] Following Hamilton clinching a sixth World Drivers' Championship title in 2019, ex-Formula One driver and pundit Johnny Herbert acclaimed Hamilton as the greatest driver ever,[119] a sentiment echoed by his Mercedes team-boss Toto Wolff, who described him as "maybe the best driver that has ever existed",[104] while Formula One staff writer, Greg Stuart, described Hamiton as "arguably the most complete Formula [One] driver ever".[120]

Racist treatment

"People come up to me from different ethnic backgrounds saying, 'My kid wants to be you one day', and I can assure you that when I started racing, there weren't people from those [ethnic backgrounds]. I take great pride in that."

--Hamilton in 2017 commenting on his influence on minority representation in Formula One.[121]

The first and only black driver to race in Formula One, Hamilton has been subject to racist abuse throughout his career. In 2008, Hamilton was verbally heckled and otherwise abused during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya by several Spanish spectators who wore black face paint and black wigs, as well as shirts bearing the words "Hamilton's familly [sic]".[122] The FIA warned Spanish authorities about the repetition of such behaviour[123] and launched a "Race Against Racism" campaign.[124] Shortly before the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, a website owned by the Spanish branch of the New York-based advertising agency TBWA and named "pinchalaruedadeHamilton", which translates into English as 'burst Hamilton's tyre', was featured in the British media. The site contained an image of Interlagos that allowed users to leave nails and porcupines on the track for Hamilton's car to run over. Among thousands of comments left since 2007, some included racial insults.[125]

Hamilton's treatment by the media and critics has, at times, been criticised as being racist. In 2014, The Guardian journalist Joseph Harker highlighted double-standards in Hamilton's treatment compared to other British drivers by British newspapers, suggesting that his skin colour has played a factor in a perceived lack of acceptance amongst the British public.[126] In 2019, footballer Rio Ferdinand described media scrutiny of Hamilton as having "racist undertones" and contrasted Hamilton's treatment to that of fellow British driver Jenson Button.[127] At the start of his Formula One career, Hamilton admitted that he "tried to ignore the fact [he] was the first black guy ever to race in the sport" but later stated that he had since grown to "appreciate the implications",[128] and changed his approach to embrace his position and promote equality within the sport.[129] Hamilton has since questioned racial politics in Formula One on a number of occasions. In 2011, after being summoned to the stewards in five out of the first six races of the season, Hamilton quipped: "Maybe it's because I'm black, that's what Ali G says".[130] In 2018, Hamilton criticised the lack of diversity in Formula One, describing how nothing had changed in his eleven years in the sport before saying "Kids, people, there are so many jobs in this sport of which anybody, no matter your ethnicity or background, can make it and fit in".[131][132] In 2019, Toto Wolff, Hamilton's team boss at Mercedes, described how Hamilton was "scarred for life" by racist abuse inflicted during his childhood.[133]

Rivalries

Nico Rosberg

Hamilton (left) and Rosberg (right) at the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

When Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013, he was paired alongside old karting teammate and friend Nico Rosberg. Over their four seasons as teammates, a period of Mercedes dominance Formula One, the pair's relationship became strained and, at times, led to volatile confrontations on and off the track.[134] Hamilton and Rosberg were first teammates in 2000, when they were in karting. They raced for Mercedes Benz McLaren in Formula A, where Hamilton became European champion, with Rosberg not far behind. Robert Kubica, who raced with them before Formula One, recalled how they were competitive both on and off the track, saying "they would even have races to eat pizza, always eating two at a time".[135] Sports journalist Paul Weaver contrasts their upbringings:[135] Rosberg, an only child, was born in Germany but brought up in Monaco and was the son of a wealthy former Formula One world champion, Keke Rosberg, whereas Hamilton was born on a council estate in Stevenage, and his father had to work multiple jobs to fund his son's junior racing.[16]

Pundit and commentator Will Buxton compared the character and driving styles of the pair, labelling Hamilton as the faster driver with more natural ability while labelling Rosberg, while not as quick, as the more intelligent driver.[88] Their old karting boss, Dino Chiesa, admitted Hamilton was the faster driver whereas Rosberg, who once said to Chiesa "everything relates to physics and maths", was always more analytical.[16] This led some to believe that Rosberg would achieve greater success in Formula One, the highest level of open-wheel racing, due to the intellectual capacity required to manage brakes, energy harvesting, tyre management and moderate fuel usage.[88] However, Hamilton's tyre management has frequently allowed him to push on for longer, often enabling optimum race strategies, and his fuel usage has regularly been better than almost anyone on the grid. Sky Sport's Mark Hughes, commented "Rosberg has a more scientific methodology, looks to fine-tune more specifically than Hamilton who typically tends just to find a balance he can work with, then adapt his driving around it".[74][136]

In their time together as teammates, Hamilton and Rosberg won 54 of 78 races over four seasons. Hamilton had 32 victories, 55 podium finishes and qualified ahead of Rosberg 42 times. Rosberg had 22 victories, 50 podium finishes and qualified ahead of Hamilton 36 times. During this period, Hamilton won two World Championship titles to Rosberg's one, and scored more points in three out of their four seasons together.[137]

Fernando Alonso

Alonso (left) and Hamilton (right) at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix

Hamilton's debut season saw him partner two-time and defending World Champion, Fernando Alonso. In their time as teammates, tensions arose between the two drivers and McLaren as a result of several incidents. The first tensions surfaced after Hamilton finished second at Monaco in 2007.[138] After post-race comments made by Hamilton which suggested he had been forced into a supporting role, the FIA investigated whether McLaren had broken rules by enforcing team orders.[139] McLaren denied favouring double world champion Alonso, and the FIA subsequently vindicated the team, stating that "McLaren were able to pursue an optimum team strategy because they had a substantial advantage over all other cars ... nothing which could be described as interfering with the race result".[139]

Tensions surfaced again at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, where during the final qualifying session Hamilton was delayed in the pits by Alonso and thus unable to set a final lap time before the end of the session.[140] Alonso was relegated to sixth place on the starting grid thus promoting Hamilton, who had qualified second, to first, while McLaren was docked Constructors' Championship points. Hamilton said he thought the penalty was "quite light if anything" and only regretted the loss of points.[141] Hamilton was reported to have sworn at Dennis on the team radio following the incident.[142] British motorsport journal Autosport claimed that this "[led] Dennis to throw his headphones on the pit wall in disgust: a gesture that was misinterpreted by many to be in reaction to Alonso's pole",[143] however McLaren later issued a statement on behalf of Hamilton which denied the use of any profanity.[144]

As a result of the events over the 2007 season, the relationship between Hamilton and Alonso reportedly collapsed, with the pair not on speaking terms for a short period.[145][146] In the aftermath it was reported that Hamilton had been targeted by Luca di Montezemolo regarding a Ferrari drive for 2008.[147] The rivalry between the pair led to speculation that either Hamilton or Alonso would leave McLaren at the end of the season;[148][149][150] Alonso and McLaren subsequently terminated their contract by mutual consent in November that year, ending his and Hamilton's time as teammates.[151] In subsequent years, tensions between the pair dissipated, and the mutual respect has grown,[152] with Alonso praising Hamilton in 2017 saying "[Hamilton] was able to win with a dominant car, with a good car like 2010 or 2012, or with bad cars like 2009 and 2011. Not all the champions can say that".[110] Alonso would later describe Hamilton as one of the top five greatest drivers of all time.[98] On the cool-down lap after Alonso's final race before retirement in 2018, Hamilton joined Sebastian Vettel in paying tribute to Alonso by driving, each on one side, in a formation to the start-finish straight where all three executed donuts.[153]

In their time together as teammates, Hamilton and Alonso won 8 of 17 races in the 2007 Formula One season. Hamilton had 4 victories, 12 podium finishes and qualified ahead of Alonso 10 times. Alonso also had 4 victories, 12 podium finishes but qualified ahead of Hamilton only 7 times. At the end of their season as teammates, the pair were tied on 109 points, with Hamilton placing second and Alonso third in the World Drivers' Championship by virtue of Hamilton having more second-place finishes.[154]

Public image and influence

Wealth and income

Hamilton's Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet

In 2015, Hamilton was ranked as the richest British sportsperson, with an estimated personal fortune of £88 million.[155] In 2018, it was reported that Hamilton had a net-worth of £159 million.[156] Hamilton owns two unrestored 1967 AC Cobras, one black and one red,[157] and in February 2015, it was reported that Hamilton had purchased a Ferrari LaFerrari from "his rivals in Maranello."[158]

Hamilton is currently the best-paid driver in Formula One, and since joining Mercedes in 2013 has been one of the highest-paid drivers on the grid. Ahead of the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton signed a contract to stay with Mercedes until the end of the 2018 season in a deal reportedly worth more than £100 million over the three years, making him one of the best-paid drivers in Formula One.[159] In the week leading up to the 2018 German Grand Prix, Hamilton signed a two-year contract with Mercedes, reported to be worth up to £40 million, making Hamilton the best-paid driver in the history of Formula One.[160]

Media reception

In December 2017, Hamilton courted controversy after sharing a video on Instagram of his nephew wearing a princess dress in which he commented "Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas, boys don't wear princess dresses".[161] He was condemned on social media and by LGBT charities for his comments.[162][163] He subsequently deleted the video before later deleting all content from his social media channels,[164] though he returned to actively using his social media accounts on 17 January 2018.[165] Hamilton apologised for his comments, and later appeared at Disneyland Paris with his nephew, who wore a princess dress for the trip, as well as featuring on the front cover of GQ wearing a rainbow tartan kilt he designed with Tommy Hilfiger, saying "I've done something and then realised the effect I've had ... I want to make amends. I accept it, realise it and I'm glad that I'm accountable for it".[166]

In December 2018, Stevenage-born Hamilton caused controversy at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards where he said on live television, "It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums" before immediately correcting himself, saying, "Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something. We all set our goals very, very high but we did it as a team." While Hamilton immediately sought to correct his remarks, the leader of Stevenage Borough Council described the comments as "disappointing" and noted that people felt "very offended".[167] Hamilton posted a video on Instagram in which he apologised for his comments, saying "I'm super proud of where I come from and I hope you know that I represent in the best way I can always. [...] Particularly when you are up in front of a crowd, trying to find the right words to express the long journey you've had in life, I chose the wrong words."[168] The town mayor subsequently accepted his "gracious apology".[169]

Residence and tax scrutiny

Hamilton announced his intention to live in Switzerland in 2007, stating that this was because he wished to get away from the media scrutiny that he experienced living in the UK. He said on the television show Parkinson that taxation was also a reason.[170] He settled in Luins in Vaud canton on Lake Geneva.[171][172] In 2010, Hamilton joined many Formula One drivers past and present when he moved to Monaco, purchasing a house worth a reported £10 million, where he still resides as of 2018. Hamilton also owns a flat in New York, and an estate in Colorado where he has said he would like to live after his retirement.[173]

Hamilton was one of several figures whose tax arrangements were singled out for criticism in a report by the social-justice[174] charity Christian Aid in 2008.[175][176][177] The same year, Hamilton received public criticism from UK members of parliament for avoiding UK taxes.[178] Following the leak of the confidential Paradise Papers in November 2017, it was reported that Hamilton had avoided paying £3.3 million of value added tax (VAT) on his Challenger 605 private jet worth £16.5 million.[179] According to BBC Panorama, the leasing deal set up by his advisers appeared to be artificial and not to comply with an EU and UK ban on VAT refunds for private use.[179] The BBC also said that Hamilton's social media accounts provide evidence that he has used his jet for holidays and other personal trips.[179] The jet was sold in September 2019.[180]

Other ventures

Hamilton also has interests in music, saying "[m]usic has been a huge passion of mine since I was really young. I started playing guitar when I was 13. In here, I can be me, I can be vulnerable. I can show a side of me that people don't get to see". He reportedly features on Christina Aguilera's song "Pipe" under the pseudonym 'XNDA'[181] although Hamilton has not confirmed this is true.[182]

Hamilton is a fan of art, and has said that one of his favourite artists is Andy Warhol.[183] Prior to the 2014 United States Grand Prix, Hamilton wore a gold-framed version of Warhol's Cars, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe painting hanging from a chain around his neck.[184]

Hamilton also made a guest appearance in the film Cars 2 in which he voices an anthropomorphic version of himself.[185]

In 2018 Hamilton launched a clothing line, TOMMYXLEWIS, during New York Fashion Week with American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger alongside models Winnie Harlow and Hailey Baldwin.[186] Hamilton stated "[g]rowing up, I remember seeing the iconic Tommy Hilfiger flag" and Hilfiger commented on Hamilton, saying "Lewis is bold in everything he does ... He's not afraid to take risks. And he has a cool and sophisticated style that really speaks to the new generation of Tommy fans".[187]

Personal life and relationships

In 2017, Hamilton told the BBC that he had become vegan because, "[a]s the human race, what we are doing to the world... the pollution [in terms of emissions of global-warming gases] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible. The cruelty is horrible and I don't necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life."[188] In 2018, Hamilton said in an interview that he gave up drinking "a while ago".[189]

In November 2007, Hamilton started dating Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the American girl band Pussycat Dolls. Although it was announced in January 2010 that they split up to focus on their respective careers, they were seen together at that year's Turkish and Canadian Grands Prix.[190][191] The couple split up and reunited numerous times between 2011 and 2015,[192][193] before finally splitting up in February 2015.[194]

On 18 December 2007, Hamilton was suspended from driving in France for a month after being caught speeding at 196 km/h (122 mph) on a French motorway. His Mercedes-Benz CLK was also impounded.[195][196] Two days before the 2010 Australian Grand Prix, Victoria Police witnessed Hamilton "deliberately losing traction" in his silver Mercedes-AMG C63, and impounded the car for 48 hours. Hamilton immediately released a statement of apology for "driving in an over-exuberant manner". After being charged with intentionally losing control of a vehicle, Hamilton was eventually fined A$500 (£288), being described as a "hoon" [boy racer] by the magistrate.[197][198][199]

Helmet

Design changes

Hamilton's 2007 helmet design, which he used until 2010

From a young age, Hamilton's helmet was made yellow so that his father could tell which kart his son was driving. Hamilton chose the colours blue, green and red and they were originally in a ribbon design; however before entering Formula One, Hamilton felt that the design was "a bit old hat" so it was changed. In later years a white ring was added and the ribbons moved forward to make room for adverts and logos.[200] From 2011 onwards Hamilton's helmet was changed so it no longer resembled Senna's helmet so much. The green and blue ribbons were changed to the diagonal style of the red patch, with a single red stripe behind the helmet with the letters "Hamilton" printed within it. In 2014, Hamilton changed his primary helmet colour for the first time since his karting days, using a white helmet with red stripes in the shape of his 2011 design.[201]

In 2017, Hamilton announced that he was running a competition for his fans to design his helmet.[202] The contest winner was Brazilian designer Rai Caldato and the helmet featured white and yellow base colour with red and orange details. Three stars representing Hamilton's Formula One championships featured on either side of the design.[203] During the 2017 season, the design would often change between a yellow or white base colour with the same red and orange accents. The three stars were also modified to have underlying green, yellow, and blue accent colours. After winning his fourth world championship title in 2017, Hamilton changed the design to include two stars on either side of the helmet to represent each of his four titles.[204] Hamilton updated this design a year later to have five stars on either side to celebrate winning his fifth world title in 2018.[205]

Hamilton's helmet design changed to a predominantly white and yellow colour in 2017, with red and orange details.

Special helmets

During the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton had an altered helmet design with the addition of a roulette wheel image on the top. Hamilton said, "I'll also be wearing a specially-painted helmet for the occasion. When you see it, you'll know why I'll be hoping for it to swing the odds in my favour".[206] For the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton wore a special helmet that was a fusion of his post-2011 helmet, and that of Ayrton Senna. The helmet was auctioned after the race in aid of the Ayrton Senna Foundation.[207]

Hamilton has sported gold coloured helmets on two occasions in his career. After winning his fourth title in Mexico, he raced in the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a gold helmet with four stars adorning the top of the helmet with the words "World Champion".[208] Hamilton wore a gold helmet in the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after sealing his fifth world title, toward which he made reference with five stars on either side of the design.[205]

At the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton, like fellow driver Sebastian Vettel, wore a special helmet to pay tribute to Niki Lauda, who passed away at the start of the week. The helmet was painted red and white, Lauda's classic colours, and had his name printed on the back. After the race, Hamilton reflected on Lauda's career, saying "Ultimately, as a driver, my goal one day is to hopefully be as respected as he was ... He's definitely someone who led by a great example, left a great example, and was a real hero to so many."[209]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
2001 Formula Renault UK Winter Series Manor Motorsport 4 0 0 0 0 48 7th
2002 Formula Renault UK Manor Motorsport 13 3 3 5 7 274 3rd
Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup 4 1 1 2 3 92 5th
2003 Formula Renault UK Manor Motorsport 15 10 11 9 13 419 1st
British Formula 3 Championship 2 0 0 0 0 0 NC
Formula Renault 2000 Masters 2 0 0 0 1 24 12th
Formula Renault 2000 Germany 2 0 0 0 0 25 27th
Korea Super Prix 1 0 1 0 0 N/A NC
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 0 0 0 N/A NC
2004 Formula 3 Euro Series Manor Motorsport 20 1 1 2 5 69 5th
Bahrain Superprix 1 1 0 0 1 N/A 1st
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 1 0 0 N/A 14th
Masters of Formula 3 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 7th
2005 Formula 3 Euro Series ASM Formule 3 20 15 13 10 17 172 1st
Masters of Formula 3 1 1 1 1 1 N/A 1st
2006 GP2 Series ART Grand Prix 21 5 1 7 14 114 1st
2007 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 17 4 6 2 12 109 2nd
2008 Formula One 18 5 7 1 10 98 1st
2009 Formula One 17 2 4 0 5 49 5th
2010 Formula One 19 3 1 5 9 240 4th
2011 Formula One 19 3 1 3 6 227 5th
2012 Formula One 20 4 7 1 7 190 4th
2013 Formula One Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 19 1 5 1 5 189 4th
2014 Formula One 19 11 7 7 16 384 1st
2015 Formula One 19 10 11 8 17 381 1st
2016 Formula One 21 10 12 3 17 380 2nd
2017 Formula One Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 20 9 11 7 13 363 1st
2018 Formula One 21 11 11 3 17 408 1st
2019 Formula One 20 10 4 5 16 387* 1st*
Source:[210][211]

* Season still in progress

Complete Formula 3 Euro Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DC Points
2004 Manor Motorsport Dallara F302/049 HWA-Mercedes HOC
1

11
HOC
2

6
EST
1

Ret
EST
2

9
ADR
1

Ret
ADR
2

5
PAU
1

4
PAU
2

7
NOR
1

1
NOR
2

3
MAG
1

Ret
MAG
2

21
NÜR
1

3
NÜR
2

4
ZAN
1

3
ZAN
2

6
BRN
1

7
BRN
2

4
HOC
1

2
HOC
2

6
5th 68
2005 ASM Formule 3 Dallara F305/021 Mercedes HOC
1

1
HOC
2

3
PAU
1

1
PAU
2

1
SPA
1

DSQ
SPA
2

1
MON
1

1
MON
2

1
OSC
1

3
OSC
2

1
NOR
1

1
NOR
2

1
NÜR
1

12
NÜR
2

1
ZAN
1

Ret
ZAN
2

1
LAU
1

1
LAU
2

1
HOC
1

1
HOC
2

1
1st 172
Source:[212][213]

Complete GP2 Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 DC Points
2006 ART Grand Prix VAL
FEA

2
VAL
SPR

6
IMO
FEA

DSQ
IMO
SPR

10
NÜR
FEA

1
NÜR
SPR

1
CAT
FEA

2
CAT
SPR

4
MON
FEA

1
SIL
FEA

1
SIL
SPR

1
MAG
FEA

19
MAG
SPR

5
HOC
FEA

2
HOC
SPR

3
HUN
FEA

10
HUN
SPR

2
IST
FEA

2
IST
SPR

2
MNZ
FEA

3
MNZ
SPR

2
1st 114
Source:[214]

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 WDC Points
2007 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-22 Mercedes FO 108T 2.4 V8 AUS
3
MAL
2
BHR
2
ESP
2
MON
2
CAN
1
USA
1
FRA
3
GBR
3
EUR
9
HUN
1
TUR
5
ITA
2
BEL
4
JPN
1
CHN
Ret
BRA
7
2nd 109
2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-23 Mercedes FO 108V 2.4 V8 AUS
1
MAL
5
BHR
13
ESP
3
TUR
2
MON
1
CAN
Ret
FRA
10
GBR
1
GER
1
HUN
5
EUR
2
BEL
3
ITA
7
SIN
3
JPN
12
CHN
1
BRA
5
1st 98
2009 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-24 Mercedes FO 108W 2.4 V8 AUS
DSQ
MAL
7?
CHN
6
BHR
4
ESP
9
MON
12
TUR
13
GBR
16
GER
18
HUN
1
EUR
2
BEL
Ret
ITA
12+
SIN
1
JPN
3
BRA
3
ABU
Ret
5th 49
2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-25 Mercedes FO 108X 2.4 V8 BHR
3
AUS
6
MAL
6
CHN
2
ESP
14+
MON
5
TUR
1
CAN
1
EUR
2
GBR
2
GER
4
HUN
Ret
BEL
1
ITA
Ret
SIN
Ret
JPN
5
KOR
2
BRA
4
ABU
2
4th 240
2011 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-26 Mercedes FO 108Y 2.4 V8 AUS
2
MAL
8
CHN
1
TUR
4
ESP
2
MON
6
CAN
Ret
EUR
4
GBR
4
GER
1
HUN
4
BEL
Ret
ITA
4
SIN
5
JPN
5
KOR
2
IND
7
ABU
1
BRA
Ret
5th 227
2012 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-27 Mercedes FO 108Z 2.4 V8 AUS
3
MAL
3
CHN
3
BHR
8
ESP
8
MON
5
CAN
1
EUR
19+
GBR
8
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
Ret
ITA
1
SIN
Ret
JPN
5
KOR
10
IND
4
ABU
Ret
USA
1
BRA
Ret
4th 190
2013 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 W04 Mercedes FO 108F 2.4 V8 AUS
5
MAL
3
CHN
3
BHR
5
ESP
12
MON
4
CAN
3
GBR
4
GER
5
HUN
1
BEL
3
ITA
9
SIN
5
KOR
5
JPN
Ret
IND
6
ABU
7
USA
4
BRA
9
4th 189
2014 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid Mercedes PU106A Hybrid 1.6 V6 t AUS
Ret
MAL
1
BHR
1
CHN
1
ESP
1
MON
2
CAN
Ret
AUT
2
GBR
1
GER
3
HUN
3
BEL
Ret
ITA
1
SIN
1
JPN
1
RUS
1
USA
1
BRA
2
ABU
1
1st 384
2015 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid Mercedes PU106B Hybrid 1.6 V6 t AUS
1
MAL
2
CHN
1
BHR
1
ESP
2
MON
3
CAN
1
AUT
2
GBR
1
HUN
6
BEL
1
ITA
1
SIN
Ret
JPN
1
RUS
1
USA
1
MEX
2
BRA
2
ABU
2
1st 381
2016 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid Mercedes PU106C Hybrid 1.6 V6 t AUS
2
BHR
3
CHN
7
RUS
2
ESP
Ret
MON
1
CAN
1
EUR
5
AUT
1
GBR
1
HUN
1
GER
1
BEL
3
ITA
2
SIN
3
MAL
Ret
JPN
3
USA
1
MEX
1
BRA
1
ABU
1
2nd 380
2017 Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ Mercedes M08 EQ Power+ 1.6 V6 t AUS
2
CHN
1
BHR
2
RUS
4
ESP
1
MON
7
CAN
1
AZE
5
AUT
4
GBR
1
HUN
4
BEL
1
ITA
1
SIN
1
MAL
2
JPN
1
USA
1
MEX
9
BRA
4
ABU
2
1st 363
2018 Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ 1.6 V6 t AUS
2
BHR
3
CHN
4
AZE
1
ESP
1
MON
3
CAN
5
FRA
1
AUT
Ret
GBR
2
GER
1
HUN
1
BEL
2
ITA
1
SIN
1
RUS
1
JPN
1
USA
3
MEX
4
BRA
1
ABU
1
1st 408
2019 Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ Mercedes M10 EQ Power+ 1.6 V6 t AUS
2
BHR
1
CHN
1
AZE
2
ESP
1
MON
1
CAN
1
FRA
1
AUT
5
GBR
1
GER
9
HUN
1
BEL
2
ITA
3
SIN
4
RUS
1
JPN
3
MEX
1
USA
2
BRA
7
ABU 1st* 387*
Source:[215]

* Season still in progress.
+ Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.
? Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed.

Honours and achievements

Team

Mercedes

Individual

Orders and awards

Records

As of 6 November 2019
Record Date first achieved Current Record
Youngest driver to lead the World Championship[253] 2007 Spanish Grand Prix 22 years, 126 days
Most points in a debut season[254] 2007 109
Most points in a season 2018 408
Most points in a season without winning the World Championship 2016 380
Most career points[255] 2016 Austrian Grand Prix 3405
Most pole positions[256] 2017 Italian Grand Prix 87
Most pole positions at the same Grand Prix[257] Australia 2008, 2012, 2014-2019[N 1] 8
Most pole positions in a debut season[258] 2007 6
Pole positions at most different Grands Prix[259] 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 24
Pole positions at most different circuits[260] 2018 French Grand Prix 27
Wins at most different Grands Prix[261] 2018 French Grand Prix 23
Most wins in a debut season[262] 2007[N 2] 4
Most wins in one calendar month[263] 2016 Austrian Grand Prix - 2016 German Grand Prix 4 (July 2016)
Wins at most different circuits[264] 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix 26
Most wins in a season without winning the World Championship 2016 10
Most wins from pole position[265] 2017 United States Grand Prix 49
Most consecutive podium finishes from debut[266] 2007 Australian Grand Prix - 2007 British Grand Prix 9
Most consecutive seasons with a win from debut season[267] 2007-2019 13
Most consecutive seasons with a pole from debut season[268] 2007-2019 13
Most races led[269] 2019 Russian Grand Prix 146
Most consecutive races with at least one lap in the lead[270] 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix - 2015 British Grand Prix 18
Most consecutive race starts 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix 249
Most consecutive race finishes[271] 2016 Japanese Grand Prix - 2018 French Grand Prix[N 3] 33
Most consecutive points finishes[272] 2016 Japanese Grand Prix - 2018 French Grand Prix 33
Most podium finishes in a season[273] 2015, 2016, 2018[N 4] 17
Most races with a single engine manufacturer 2017 Monaco Grand Prix 249
Most grand slams in a season[274] 2017 British Grand Prix[N 5] 3
Most front row starts[275] 2017 United States Grand Prix 144
Footnotes
  1. ^ Record shared with Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
  2. ^ Record shared with Jacques Villeneuve.
  3. ^ Record shared with Nick Heidfeld.
  4. ^ Record shared with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher although Schumacher did so with fewer total races in the season (2002).
  5. ^ Record shared with Alberto Ascari in 1952, Jim Clark in 1963 and 1965, Nigel Mansell in 1992.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Hamilton was the first reigning world champion to decline to run the number 1, deciding to stay with his old karting number 44 from 2014.[4] He briefly ran the number 1 on the front of his car in practice for the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after winning his fifth World Championship, but was still officially entered under the number 44 and that figure still appeared on the engine cover.[5]
  2. ^
    • "Formula 1's Greatest Drivers - Lewis Hamilton". Autosport. Retrieved 2017.
    • "Top 15 All Time Drivers". F1-Grand Prix. Retrieved 2016.
    • Gregory, Sean (20 December 2016). "The fastest man on wheels". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2017.
    • Brown, Oliver (27 November 2016). "Nico Rosberg: Taking title from Lewis Hamilton is a phenomenal feeling". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017.
    • "Lewis Hamilton is in Formula 1's top five, says Fernando Alonso". BBC. 19 October 2018. Retrieved 2018.
    • Maltby, Matt. "Hamilton x5: The stats that prove his greatness". formula1.com. Formula One World Championship Limited. Retrieved 2018.
    • Nicholls, Jack. "Lewis Hamilton is comfortably one of the greatest racing drivers the world has ever seen". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. Retrieved 2018.
    • Herbert, Johnny (3 November 2019). "Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton is the best driver I have seen". theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
    • "THE DEBATE: How much better can Lewis Hamilton get?". formula1.com. FIA Formula One World Championship Ltd. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 2019.
    • Mitchell, Scott (26 June 2019). "Hamilton may be "best driver that has ever existed" - Wolff". motorsport.com. Motorsport. Retrieved 2019.
    • Barretto, Lawrence (6 November 2019). "OPINION: Why Hamilton's sporting greatness transcends Formula 1". formula1.com. FIA Formula One World Championship Limited. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^

Citations

  1. ^ Hamilton, Lewis (2007). Lewis Hamilton: My Story. HarperSport. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-00-727005-7.
  2. ^ a b Kelso, Paul (20 April 2007). "Profile: Lewis Hamilton". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver agrees £40m-a-year deal until 2020". BBC Sport. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Hamilton to keep 44 as car number". GP Update. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "World champion Hamilton runs number 1 on his Mercedes in Abu Dhabi". Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Cary, Tom (3 March 2010). "Anthony Hamilton's massive support makes parting with Lewis easier to understand". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ a b Wolff, Alexander (12 June 2007). "Better Than Sex". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 2007.
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Bibliography

Written by Hamilton
  • Hamilton, Lewis (2007). Lewis Hamilton: My Story (Hardback). London: HarperSport. pp. 320 pages. ISBN 978-0-00-727005-7. (also in paperback Lewis Hamilton: my story. HarperSport. 17 March 2008. pp. 336 pages. ISBN 978-0-00-727006-4.)
Written by others
  • Hughes, Mark (11 August 2007). Lewis Hamilton: The Full Story (hardback). Thriplow: Icon Books Ltd. pp. 224 pages. ISBN 978-0-00-727006-4. (Also in paperback as Mark Hughes (26 February 2008). Lewis Hamilton: the full story. Icon Books Ltd. pp. 304 pages. ISBN 978-1-84046-941-7.)
  • Worral, Frank (10 January 2007). Lewis Hamilton: The Biography (hardback). London: John Blake Publishing. pp. 306 pages. ISBN 978-1-84454-543-8. (also in paperback Lewis Hamilton: The Biography. John Blake Publishing. 9 August 2008. pp. 288 pages. ISBN 978-1-84454-581-0.)
  • Stafford, Ian (11 January 2007). Lewis Hamilton: New Kid on the Grid. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing Co. (Edinburgh) Ltd. pp. 224 pages. ISBN 978-1-84596-338-5.
  • Belton, Brian (9 March 2007). Lewis Hamilton: A Dream Comes True. London: Pennant Publishing Ltd. pp. 256 pages. ISBN 978-1-906015-07-7.
  • Rogers, Gareth (10 January 2007). Lewis Hamilton: The Story So Far (paperback). Stroud: The History Press Ltd. pp. 200 pages. ISBN 978-0-7524-4480-2.
  • van de Burgt, Andrew (15 November 2007). Lewis Hamilton: A portrait of Britain's new F1 hero (hardback). Yeovil: J H Haynes & Co Ltd. pp. 160 pages. ISBN 978-1-84425-480-4.
  • Jones, Bruce (10 January 2007). Lewis Hamilton: The People's Champion (ITV SPORT) (hardback). London: Carlton Books Ltd. pp. 128 pages. ISBN 978-1-84442-027-8.
  • Apps, Roy (9 November 2008). Lewis Hamilton (Dream to Win) (paperback). London: Franklin Watts Ltd. pp. 48 pages. ISBN 978-0-7496-8233-0.
  • Townsend, John (2008). Lewis Hamilton (hardback). Oxford: Raintree Publishers. pp. 32 pages. ISBN 978-1-4062-0953-2.
  • Spragg, Ian (3 June 2008). Lewis Hamilton: The Rise of F1's New Superstar.
  • Worrall, Frank (2016). Lewis Hamilton: Triple World Champion: The Biography (paperback). London: John Blake Publishing Ltd. pp. 388 pages. ISBN 978-1-7860-6033-4.

External links


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