Hamilton in Germany, October 2014
|Born||Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton
7 January 1985 
Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Entries||182 (182 starts)|
|Championships||3 (2008, 2014, 2015)|
|First entry||2007 Australian Grand Prix|
|First win||2007 Canadian Grand Prix|
|Last win||2016 German Grand Prix|
|Last entry||2016 Singapore Grand Prix|
|2015 position||1st (381 pts)|
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. He is the 2008, 2014 and 2015 Formula One World Champion.
In December 1995, at the age of ten, he approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at the Autosport Awards ceremony and told him, "I want to race for you one day ... I want to race for McLaren." Less than three years later McLaren and Mercedes-Benz signed him to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he drove for McLaren in 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis. Hamilton's contract for the McLaren driver development program made him the youngest ever driver to secure a contract which later resulted in a Formula One drive.
Coming from a mixed background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is often labelled "the first black driver in Formula One", although Willy T. Ribbs tested a Formula One car in 1986.
In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records while finishing second in the 2007 Formula One Championship, just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen. He won the World Championship the following season in dramatic fashion, becoming the then-youngest Formula One world champion in history before Sebastian Vettel broke the record two years later. Following his second world title in 2014, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In 2015, he became the first British driver in history to win consecutive F1 titles, and the second Brit to win three titles after Jackie Stewart. He also became the first English driver to reach that milestone. He is the first driver in the history of F1 to have made the podium after starting 20th place or lower at least 3 times. He is the only driver in the history of the sport to have won at least one race in each season he has competed to date, with McLaren from 2007 until 2012, and with Mercedes since 2013. He has more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently third on the all-time wins list, with 49 wins.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early career
- 3 Formula One career
- 4 Helmet
- 5 Racing record
- 6 Personal life
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Hamilton was born on 7 January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. Although widely reported as being named after American sprinter Carl Lewis, Hamilton states that this is not the case. Hamilton's mother, Carmen (Larbalestier), is white British, while his father, Anthony Hamilton, is black British, making him mixed-race; Anthony Hamilton's parents moved to the UK from Grenada in the 1950s. Lewis Hamilton's parents separated when he was two; as a result of this, he lived with his mother and half-sisters Nicola and Samantha until he was twelve, when he started living with his father, stepmother Linda and half-brother Nicolas, also a professional racing driver, who has cerebral palsy. In early 2011, Nicolas signed with Total Control Racing to start a racing career in the 2011 Renault Clio Cup. Hamilton was raised a Roman Catholic.
Hamilton's father bought him a radio-controlled car in 1991, which gave him his first taste of racing competition. Hamilton finished 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". As a result of this his father bought him his first go-kart as a Christmas present at the age of six. His father told him that he would support his racing career as long as he worked hard at school. Supporting his son became problematic, which caused him to take redundancy from his position as an IT Manager and become a contractor. He was sometimes employed in up to three jobs at a time, while still managing to find enough time to attend all Hamilton's races. He later set up his own computer company as well as working as a full-time manager for Hamilton. Hamilton ended his working relationship with his father in early 2010 and subsequently signed a management deal in March 2011 with Simon Fuller's firm XIX Entertainment. In November 2014, Hamilton announced that he would not be renewing his management contract with Fuller.
Hamilton was educated at The John Henry Newman School, a voluntary aided Catholic secondary school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Alongside his interest for racing, he played association football for his school team with England international midfielder Ashley Young. Hamilton said that if Formula One had not worked for him he would have been a footballer, being a big fan of Arsenal F.C. or a cricketer, having played both for his school teams as a youngster. He subsequently attended, in February 2001, Cambridge Arts and Sciences (CATS), a private sixth-form college in Cambridge. At the age of five Hamilton took up karate to defend himself as a result of bullying at school. At around 12, he learned to ride a unicycle, as part of his karting rivalry with future F1 Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, who could already ride one.
Hamilton began karting in 1993 at the age of eight, at the Rye House Kart Circuit and quickly began winning races and Cadet class championships. At the age of ten he approached McLaren F1 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. From the Cadet ranks, he progressed through to Junior Yamaha (1997) and Ron Dennis actually called him in 1998 after Hamilton won an additional Super One series and his second British championship. Dennis delivered on his promise and signed Hamilton to the McLaren driver development program. This contract included an option of a future F1 seat, which would eventually make Hamilton the youngest ever driver to secure a contract which later resulted in an F1 drive.
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 team mate 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.
In 2001, Michael Schumacher made a one-off return to karts and competed against Hamilton along with other future F1 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).
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. This led to a full 2002 Formula Renault UK campaign with Manor Motorsport. Hamilton finished third overall with three wins and three pole positions. 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. 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. Here he was less successful: in the first race he was forced out with a puncture, and in the second he crashed out and was taken to hospital after a collision with his team-mate Tor Graves. He did show his speed at both the Macau Grand Prix and Korea Super Prix, in the latter he qualified on pole position in his first visit to the track and in only his fourth F3 race. 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 F1 ...[but] to be experienced and then show what I can do in F1".
Later in 2004, Williams would announce that they had come close to signing him but were refused the opportunity due to BMW, their engine supplier at the time, refusing to fund Hamilton's career. Hamilton 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. He also won the Bahrain F3 Superprix and raced one of the Macau F3 Grand Prix. Hamilton first tested for McLaren in late 2004 at Silverstone.
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. He also won the Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort. After the season British magazine Autosport featured him in their "Top 50 Drivers of 2005" issue, ranking Hamilton 24th.
Due to his success in Formula Three, he moved to ASM's sister GP2 team ART Grand Prix for 2006. Just 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. Hamilton won the GP2 championship at his first attempt, beating Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Timo Glock.
His performances included a dominant win at the Nürburgring, despite serving a penalty for speeding in the pit lane. At his home race at Silverstone, supporting the British Grand Prix, Hamilton overtook two rivals at Becketts, a series of high-speed (up to 150 mph in a GP2 car) bends where overtaking is rare. In Istanbul he recovered from a spin that left him in eighteenth place to take second position in the final corners. He 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 finished twelve points clear of his rival.
His 2006 GP2 championship coincided with a vacancy at McLaren following the departure of Juan Pablo Montoya to NASCAR and Kimi Räikkönen to Ferrari. 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. He was told of McLaren's decision on 30 September, but the news was not made public until 24 November, for fear that it would be overshadowed by Michael Schumacher's retirement announcement.
Formula One career
It was announced prior to the start of the season that Hamilton would be partnering defending double World Champion Fernando Alonso who had joined McLaren after leaving Renault. On his debut at the Australian Grand Prix, he finished third in the race, becoming the thirteenth driver to finish on the podium in his first F1 career race (excluding those in the first ever World Championship round). In Bahrain and Barcelona, Hamilton finished second behind Felipe Massa to take the lead in the drivers championship. This meant that Hamilton broke Bruce McLaren's record of being the youngest driver to ever lead the world championship.
Hamilton finished second behind Alonso at Monaco and afterwards he suggested he was prevented from racing his team mate. The FIA cleared McLaren following an investigation. Hamilton had both his first pole position and first victory of his F1 career in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. A week later Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix, becoming the first Briton since John Watson in 1983 to win an F1 race in the US, and only the second person, after Jacques Villeneuve, to win more than one race in his rookie Formula One season since the first year of the Championship.
By finishing third at Magny-Cours behind Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa, Hamilton extended his lead in the Driver's Championship to 14 points. In Hamilton's first home Grand Prix at Silverstone he finished third. Having secured this podium finish meant he equalled Jim Clark's 1963 record of 9 consecutive podium finishes for a British driver.
During qualifying for the European Grand Prix, Hamilton crashed at the Schumacher chicane after a problem with the wheel nut caused by the wheel gun used on his car. He was taken to the circuit's medical centre on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and drip, but was conscious throughout. He was unable to complete qualifying and his existing laptime was surpassed by all other competitors during Q3, thus he qualified in tenth position. After a final medical check on Sunday morning, Hamilton was cleared to race. During a heavy rainstorm which caused the race to be red-flagged Hamilton slid off into a gravel trap, however as he kept his engine running he was lifted back on to the circuit and able to rejoin the race after the restart. His ninth-place finish in this race was his first non-podium and non-points finish. Controversially, Hamilton became the first and only driver to have his car recovered by a crane and put back on the track during a Formula One race. This led some to the conclusion Hamilton was getting preferential treatment by the FIA as all other drivers who went off into the gravel were not craned back onto the track. The FIA subsequently banned the use of mechanical assistance to move a car back on track afterwards.
Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position following a controversial qualifying session. Alonso had set the fastest time, but was relegated five places down the grid to sixth for preventing Hamilton from leaving the pit lane in time to complete his final qualifying lap. After the race Hamilton declared that he had restored his relationship with Alonso. At the Turkish Grand Prix Hamilton suffered a puncture which saw him finish in fifth place.
Alonso beat Hamilton in the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix, leaving Hamilton with a two-point lead in the title race. However he extended his lead to 12 points after winning the Japanese Grand Prix in heavy rain after Alonso crashed. Following the race Hamilton was investigated by the race stewards over his involvement in an incident behind the safety car, which saw both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber crash out of the race while following him. The trio were cleared on the Friday of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
At the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton started from pole, but failed to finish after McLaren left him out for too long on worn tyres, (despite advice from Bridgestone), and he slid into a gravel trap as he came into the pit lane. Hamilton thus went into the final race of the season four and seven points ahead of Alonso and Räikkönen respectively.
In the Brazilian Grand Prix Hamilton finished in seventh place and Räikkönen won, which meant that Hamilton came second in the championship by one point. On the first lap Hamilton was passed by several cars and dropped to eighth place. On the ninth lap of the race Hamilton could not select a gear and ending up coasting for 40 seconds. He recovered to seventh place but Ferrari switched their two drivers allowing the championship to go to Räikkönen. Hamilton took the record of Youngest World Drivers' Championship runner-up, at 22 years and 288 days, previously held by Kimi Räikkönen at 23 years and 360 days (since beaten by Sebastian Vettel in 2009).
On 21 October 2007 it was announced that the FIA were investigating BMW Sauber and Williams for fuel irregularities, the BMW drivers had finished in fifth and sixth place, and if they were to be excluded Hamilton would be promoted to fifth and would win the 2007 Drivers World Championship by one point over Räikkönen. Ultimately no penalty whatsoever was given to any team as there was "sufficient doubt as to render it inappropriate to impose a penalty", though McLaren officially appealed this decision. Hamilton subsequently told the BBC he did not want to win an F1 title through the disqualifications of other drivers.
Hamilton's relationship with McLaren team boss Ron Dennis dates back to 1995, with the first indication that Hamilton was unhappy with his team appearing after he finished second at Monaco in 2007. After post-race comments made by Hamilton which suggested he had been forced into a supporting role, the FIA initiated an inquiry to determine whether McLaren had broken rules by enforcing team orders. McLaren denied favouring double world champion Fernando 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. They did nothing which could be described as interfering with the race result".
The tensions within the team surfaced again at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix. During the final qualifying session for the race Hamilton was delayed in the pits by Alonso and thus unable to set a final lap time before the end of the session. McLaren pointed out that Hamilton had disobeyed an earlier instruction to let Alonso pass in qualifying, for fear of losing his own position. Alonso was relegated to sixth place on the starting grid, thus elevating Hamilton (who had originally qualified second) to first, while McLaren were docked constructors championship points. Hamilton said he thought Alonso's penalty was "quite light if anything" and only regretted the loss of constructors' points. Hamilton was reported to have sworn at Dennis on the team radio following the incident. 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)". However McLaren later issued a statement on behalf of Hamilton which denied the use of any profanity. As a result of these events, the relationship between Hamilton and Alonso temporarily collapsed, with the pair not on speaking terms for a short period. In the aftermath it was reported that Hamilton had been targeted by Luca di Montezemolo regarding a Ferrari drive for 2008.
Following the stewards' investigation into the incident at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, Alonso stated: "I'm not thinking of this championship any more, it's been decided off the track. The drivers' briefing has no purpose. You go there to hear what Charlie Whiting and the other officials say. Twenty one drivers have an opinion, Charlie and the officials another, and so it's like talking to a wall".
The rivalry between Hamilton and teammate Alonso led to speculation that one of the pair would leave McLaren at the end of the 2007 season and Alonso and McLaren subsequently terminated their contract by mutual consent on 2 November 2007.
On 14 December 2007, it was confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen who drove for Renault in 2007 would drive the second car for McLaren-Mercedes for the 2008 Formula One season alongside Hamilton. In January 2008, Hamilton signed a new five-year multimillion-pound contract to stay with McLaren-Mercedes until the end of the 2012 season.
Hamilton won the first race of the 2008 season, the Australian Grand Prix, having qualified on pole position. In Malaysia, he finished fifth after he had started from ninth on the grid, serving a penalty for impeding Nick Heidfeld's qualifying lap. He was back on the podium in Spain finishing third. Hamilton finished second in Turkey, and won the Monaco Grand Prix, putting him in the lead of the championship. In Montreal, Hamilton crashed into the back of Räikkönen during the race, after failing to see that the Finn was waiting at a red light at the end of the pit lane as the whole field went past under the guide of the safety car. Both cars were forced to retire and Hamilton was given a 10 position grid penalty for the next race, the French Grand Prix. Despite an error in qualifying that saw him start fourth on the grid, Hamilton went on to win the British Grand Prix in difficult, wet conditions. His performance was stated as being one of his best drives to date. Hamilton himself said in the post race press conference that it was his most difficult and most meaningful win. In the next race at Hockenheim, Hamilton won the race despite a tactical blunder by the team.
Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix, however he was later judged to have gained an unfair advantage by cutting a chicane when he used a tarmac run off area to avoid hitting Kimi Räikkönen. McLaren said that their telemetry showed Hamilton backed off to let Räikkönen past but Hamilton was given a 25-second penalty, thereby dropping him to third. As a result, his main title rival Massa inherited the win. Hamilton's lead in the Drivers' Championship was cut to two points, and a subsequent appeal by McLaren to the FIA World Motor Sport Council was rejected on the grounds that the case was inadmissible.
The Italian Grand Prix saw Hamilton finish in seventh place. This result cut Hamilton's lead in the Championship to one point. Hamilton finished third at the next race in Singapore, while Massa failed to score any points, allowing Hamilton to increase his championship lead to seven points. At Fuji, Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty for forcing other cars off the track when he made an error on the first lap. Before he could serve the penalty Hamilton attempted to pass Massa who hit him after the Ferraris driver made a mistake. Massa was later given a drive-through penalty for this move. Hamilton could only finish in 12th position, however Massa finished seventh after being given an extra point after a penalty was given to Toro Rosso's Sébastien Bourdais. This meant that with just two races to go Hamilton led the World Championship by five points from Massa. At the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton won the race from Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen, taking a 7-point lead in the World Championship into the last race of the season. Speaking afterwards, Hamilton said "All weekend we have had God on our side as always, and the team did a phenomenal job in preparing the car, which has been a dream to drive."
At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton needed to finish at least in fifth position if Massa won the race to secure the World Championship. In mixed conditions, Hamilton became the youngest Formula One World Champion as he snatched the championship on the very last corner. Just before the race began a rain shower hit and Hamilton ran in fourth place before dropping down to sixth to put on dry weather tyres. Hamilton moved back to fourth place after passing Fisichella and overtaking the three stopping Vettel. Hamilton held Vettel off and after they pitted for wet weather tyres as another shower he was fifth. But with two laps to go Vettel overtook Hamilton and the Brit could not get back past, but on the final lap he and Vettel made up an eighteen-second gap on Glock who had stayed out on dry tyres and Hamilton overtook him for fifth place and the championship by one point in the very last corner as Massa won the race. This meant that Hamilton had clinched the 2008 Formula One World Championship, becoming the youngest driver to win the title, as well as the first black driver. He is also the first British driver to win the World Championship since Damon Hill triumphed in 1996.
On 4 February 2008, Hamilton was verbally heckled and otherwise abused during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Catalonia by several Spanish spectators who wore black face paint and black wigs, as well as shirts bearing the words "Hamilton's familly [sic]". Hamilton became widely unpopular in Spain because of his rivalry with Spanish former team-mate Fernando Alonso. The FIA have warned Spanish authorities about the repetition of such behaviour. In reaction to this behaviour, the FIA announced on 13 February 2008 that it will launch a "Race Against Racism" campaign.
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" (burst Hamilton's tyre) was featured in the British media. The website contained an animated 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. His rival Fernando Alonso condemned the racist supporters.
Hamilton started the 2009 season-opening Australian Grand Prix from 18th place on the grid after the McLaren team incurred a penalty for changing his gearbox during qualifying. Hamilton benefited from a late crash between Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica to move into fourth place by the end of the race. He was then promoted to third after Jarno Trulli was penalised for overtaking him under safety-car conditions. During a post-race stewards' hearing, Hamilton and McLaren officials told stewards they had not purposely let Trulli pass, but it was revealed by release of the McLaren race radio communication that this was not true. Hamilton was then disqualified from the race for providing "misleading evidence" during the stewards' hearing. He later privately apologised to FIA race director Charlie Whiting for having lied to the stewards. He went on to describe the incident as the hardest week of his life, and considered quitting Formula One.
Hamilton scored minor points at the Malaysian, Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix. Hamilton's fortunes were reversed at the Hungaroring, the tenth round of the season where he won the race, 11.529 seconds clear of Räikkönen to take his 10th career win and the first for a KERS-equipped car. McLaren's return to form continued in Valencia, where Hamilton finished second. In Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton took his second win of the season. He finished third at the Japanese and Brazilian Grands Prix. In the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton led the race, but retired on lap 20 due to a rear brake problem, his first technical-related retirement in Formula One.
Hamilton finished third in Bahrain, In Australia, Hamilton ended the race in sixth place, after a late-race collision with Mark Webber. In Malaysia a misjudgement on the weather by his team in qualifying, left him on tyres that were unfavourable for the wet conditions. This restricted him to 20th on the grid for the race, but he made his way through the field to finish in sixth place. Hamilton was given a warning during the race, after he weaved four times on a straight as he tried to break the tow that Vitaly Petrov was receiving and was not intending to block him. After the race the rules were clarified by stewards to only allow a driver to make one move during an overtaking manoeuvre.
Hamilton achieved a second-place finish in China behind Jenson Button. This completed McLaren's first 1–2 finish since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton was involved in a pit lane incident with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, for which both later received a reprimand from race stewards. In Monaco Hamilton qualified and finished 5th. In the Turkish Grand Prix Grand Prix, Hamilton claimed his first victory of the 2010 season as he and Button completed a 1–2. Hamilton qualified on pole for the Canadian Grand Prix, continuing a 100% pole record at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. After setting his pole lap, Hamilton received instructions from his team to stop on circuit due to a lack of fuel in the car which would not be equivalent to the level necessary for a sample to be taken by the FIA. Hamilton was reprimanded after failing to complete his in-lap in a sufficient time, while his team received a $10,000 fine. But Hamilton went on to win the race and take the lead in the Drivers' Championship after McLaren's third 1–2 of the season. In Valencia Alonso complained on his radio that Hamilton had gained an advantage by not following the safety car which led to the stewards giving Hamilton a drive through penalty. However Alonso and the Ferrari were furious as the length of time to make a decision meant that the penalty did not alter the result of the race as Hamilton finished second. This led to Hamilton to accuse Alonso of "sour grapes", although the pair reconciled before the next race.
He finished second at his home race at Silverstone, and followed it up with fourth at the German Grand Prix. Despite running into the gravel at Spa-Francorchamps, Hamilton won his third race of the season and reclaimed the championship lead. At the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton finished fifth. In South Korea, Hamilton finished second and finished fourth at the Brazilian Grand Prix. In the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi Hamilton finished second to Vettel in the race, who broke Hamilton's record for being the youngest ever Formula One World Champion.
At the start of the 2011 season Hamilton dismissed Red Bull Racing as "just a drinks company". Hamilton began the season qualifying and finishing second in the Australian Grand Prix, despite having to deal with a damaged floor on his McLaren. In the Malaysian Grand Prix, he qualified second and finished seventh on-the-road, struggling partly due to tyre wear and being tagged by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in the closing stages. Hamilton received a 20-second time penalty post-race for weaving whilst defending and unsuitable driving, which dropped Hamilton to eighth place. Hamilton took his first win of the season in China. He then finished fourth in Turkey, and second in Spain.
In Monaco, he qualified tenth after Q3 was red-flagged before he could set a competitive time due to a heavy crash from Sergio Pérez. During the race Hamilton received a drive through penalty after he bumped into Massa at the Hotel Harpin. Later on, Alguersuari crashed into Hamilton, breaking his rear wing; the race was red-flagged as Petrov crashed at the same time allowing his team to fix the car. On the restart he had a collision with Maldonado at Sainte Devote, which later he was given a 20-second time penalty for but it did not affect his finishing position. In an interview with the BBC Hamilton, said that he had been to the stewards five races out of six thus far in the season and felt victimised. When prompted why he had been to the stewards so much Hamilton replied "Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says." He later returned to the stewards and explained the joke and escaped further punishment.
At the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Webber at the first corner before rejoining behind his team mate. A few laps later Hamilton tried to capitalise on a mistake attempted to pass teammate Button who pushed the former into the pitwall causing Hamilton to retire with a broken driveshaft, both agreed that it was one of those things. In Valencia and Silverstone Hamilton finished fourth after holding off Massa whilst managing high tyre wear in the former and conserve fuel in the later. In Germany, Hamilton took his second victory of 2011 as he held off Webber and Alonso. In Hungary Hamilton had five pitstops and a drive-through penalty for sending Paul di Resta onto the grass as he finished fourth. He finished fourth at Monza after a race long battle with Michael Schumacher, who he refused to blame the German after his aggressive tactics.
In Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton caused an accident with Felipe Massa which left Hamilton needing a new front wing and a drive through penalty. Hamilton was accused by Massa of being "incapable of using his brain," during a post race interview. Whilst the pair conducted interviews, Massa grabbed Hamilton's shoulder saying "Good job, man, well done" which Hamilton responded by telling the Brazilian to leave him alone. Before the Japanese Grand Prix Hamilton insisted that he had not done anything wrong during the season. During the race Hamilton suffered a puncture before once again tangling with Massa; despite Ferrari pushing for Hamilton to be punished, Hamilton escaped a reprimand as he finished fifth. Hamilton later told Massa to "grow up", after admitting that his Formula One career had driven over a cliff.
In Korea, Hamilton qualified on pole position, ending a run of 16 consecutive pole positions for Red Bull. He led only until turn four on lap 1, where World Champion Sebastian Vettel overtook him and went on to win the race as Hamilton finished second. At the inaugural race in India, Hamilton recorded the second-fastest time in qualifying, but was penalised three places on the starting grid, after a yellow flag infraction in Friday practice. Hamilton finished seventh after yet another incident with Massa which left the Brazilian facing the penalty as Hamilton had to replace the front wing. In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton qualified second and won the race. In Brazil Hamilton and Massa ended their feud as he retired from the race and finish fifth overall in the championship.
Hamilton remained at McLaren alongside Button for the 2012 season. Hamilton qualified in pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, but finished third after being passed by Button at the start, and by Vettel after pitting before a safety car. Hamilton again qualified on pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but in the race was passed early on by Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez, finishing third. Hamilton took his third consecutive third-place finish in China, with Nico Rosberg and Button ahead. Hamilton qualified in second place in Bahrain, but during the race, a series of poor pitstops put him out of contention, and he finished eighth. Hamilton was also involved in a controversial racing incident with Rosberg, with Rosberg appearing to push Hamilton off track while he attempted to overtake. Hamilton qualified on pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, but had to stop the car on track in order for a reputable fuel sample to be given post-qualifying. The stewards decided he had breached qualifying rules introduced after a similar incident involving Hamilton at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. Race stewards excluded him from the qualifying results, and demoted him to the back of the grid; but despite this, Hamilton finished eighth, ahead of Button, who had started in tenth.
Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on 29 July 2012 to claim his second win of the season. Hamilton, along with championship leader Fernando Alonso, retired from the Belgian Grand Prix after being involved in a multiple car accident on the first corner of the race. Romain Grosjean was deemed responsible for causing the accident and was given a one-race ban. Hamilton bounced back with pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, and led for the majority of the race to claim his third victory of the season and keep his hopes of winning the Drivers' Championship alive. Hamilton again qualified on pole at the Singapore Grand Prix, but suffered a gearbox failure whilst leading the race. He also retired from the lead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before he won the United States Grand Prix in Austin. Hamilton's season ended with another pole position and retirement in the Brazilian GP, when he was involved in a collision with Nico Hülkenberg while leading in the late stages.
On 28 September 2012, it was announced after much speculation that Hamilton would be leaving McLaren after the 2012 season to join the Mercedes-Benz works team for the 2013 season onwards, partnering Nico Rosberg after signing a three-year contract with the team.
In his first race weekend for Mercedes, the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified in third and ended the race in fifth place. Hamilton finished third in Malaysia to take his first podium for the team, although Nico Rosberg was prevented from attempting to overtake him by team orders. At the following race in China, Hamilton secured his first pole position for Mercedes.
At Monaco after being out-qualified by his team-mate Rosberg for the third successive race, Hamilton admitted that he was struggling to control the car under braking. Prior to the race, both Red Bull and Ferrari had lodged formal complaints against Mercedes for taking part in what was determined to be an illegal 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) tyre test. Neither Mercedes drivers received any punishment for the breach of rules, and Mercedes was given a reprimand.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton secured his first race win as a Mercedes driver, the first British driver to win a Formula One race in a Mercedes works car since Stirling Moss did so at the 1955 British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. He won the race from an unexpected pole position, eventually crossing the line nearly 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kimi Räikkönen. By winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton continued his personal record of winning at least one race prior to the mid-season break, and went into the summer break in the fourth place in the Drivers' Championship. At the Belgian Grand Prix he secured his fifth and last pole position of the season and finished the race third. Although he did not score any podiums for the rest of the season, a string of point finishes helped him end the season in fourth place.
A new rule for the 2014 season allowed the drivers to pick a unique car number that they will use for their entire career. Hamilton picked No. 44, the same number he used during his karting days.
During pre-season testing in Jerez, Hamilton along with Mercedes team-mate Rosberg showed themselves as the team to beat. This was realised at the Australian Grand Prix where Hamilton took pole. He was forced to retire, but Rosberg dominated to win by over 20 seconds. In Malaysia, Hamilton's potential was realised when he won from pole in a Mercedes one-two, the first since 1955. In Bahrain, Mercedes were unstoppable with Rosberg claiming pole in a Mercedes front-row lock-out. Hamilton got a better start but still battled hard with Rosberg through the early part of the race. Mercedes chose split strategies for their drivers, and Hamilton opened up a gap on the faster option tyres. But the safety car was called out after Esteban Gutiérrez rolled his Sauber. Hamilton was forced to battle Rosberg in a gripping race to the finish with tight wheel-to-wheel racing. In the end Hamilton won, taking consecutive victories for the first time since the 2010 season, when he won in Turkey and Canada.
Mercedes's dominance was further confirmed in China where Hamilton took pole and then led every lap of the race while his teammate finished in second place. This completed a hat-trick of wins, the first of Hamilton's career. Mercedes continued to dominate in Spain where Hamilton once again set pole position and went on to win the race – his fourth successive win – despite close competition from team-mate Nico Rosberg who finished in second place. At Monaco, Hamilton qualified 2nd behind Rosberg. Rosberg was investigated by the stewards after he went down the escape road at the Mirabeau corner. The resulting yellow flags forced Hamilton to back off in the final moments of the session, which could have cost Hamilton a chance at pole position. Rosberg was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident. Rosberg won the race with Hamilton finishing 2nd. During qualifying for the German Grand Prix, Hamilton had a brake failure and started 20th but managed to finish 3rd. An engine fire in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix meant he would start from the pit lane from where he again managed to climb to third ahead of Rosberg, despite being ordered by his race engineer to let his teammate past.
At the first race after the summer break in Belgium, Hamilton took the lead from Rosberg at the start but a collision between them on lap two punctured his rear tyre and he later retired from the race. He then won the Italian, and Singapore Grands Prix each from pole to take the lead in the Drivers' Championship. This was followed by victories at the Japanese Grand Prix – which was stopped due to heavy rain – the Russian and United States Grands Prix to achieve five consecutive victories for the first time in his career. His tenth victory of the season was also his 32nd career victory, the most of any British driver. Hamilton became the World Champion after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating team mate Rosberg by 67 points, after Rosberg's car encountered mechanical trouble during the race. Hamilton said in the podium interview "This is the greatest day of my life". At the end of the year, Hamilton was awarded with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Hamilton enjoyed a continuation of Mercedes's dominance heading into the 2015 season, as the new W06 Hybrid completed more laps in pre-season testing than any rival car, and did so using just one power unit. At the opening race in Australia, Hamilton qualified in pole position, 0.594 seconds quicker than team-mate Rosberg and 1.391 seconds clear of Felipe Massa's Williams in third. Hamilton then won the race ahead of Rosberg in second, with Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in third, 34 seconds back. In Monaco he lost first position to his team mate Rosberg after leading the race for 65 laps due to a pit-stop error made by his team, eventually finishing third.
Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes announced they had extended the contract with Hamilton for three additional years, keeping him at the squad until the end of the 2018 season. This followed months of widely publicised contract talks between the driver, who chose to negotiate on his own behalf, and the team. The deal is reportedly worth more than 100 million pounds over the full three years, making Hamilton one of the best paid drivers in Formula One. It was also reported that the extension contract granted Hamilton the right to maintain his own image rights, which is considered unusual in the sport, and keep his championship winning cars as well as the trophies he collects.
After a win-less start to the European round, Hamilton went on to win the British Grand Prix for the second time in a row and third overall, also surpassing Jackie Stewart's 45-year-old record of laps led in eighteen consecutive Grands Prix. He finished 6th in an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix, ending his run of 16 consecutive podium finishes, the second-longest in F1 history. Hamilton won the next two races at Spa and Monza and extended his championship lead over Nico Rosberg, who was forced to retire in the latter race due to engine failure, to 53 points. At the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton was only able qualify in 5th ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg, and had moved up to 4th in the race before he was forced to retire due to a power unit issue. By winning the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton secured his third Drivers' Championship with three races left to run.
Just before the season opener in Australia, Hamilton was pictured riding a motorcycle in New Zealand on the public road whilst using a mobile phone, against the law. Though urged by triple world champion Jackie Stewart to apologise, Hamilton refused to comment on the incident. At the season opening Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified on pole however made a poor start to the race before recovering to finish second behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. In the second race of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton again qualified on pole. On the first lap however there was a collision between him and Bottas with Bottas getting a drive-through penalty. Hamilton finished the race in third behind Rosberg and Räikkönen. In the next race, the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton did not set a time in qualifying so started at the back of the grid. He got as high up fifth but was overtaken by Räikkönen and Ricciardo near the end of the race to finish seventh. In the fourth race of the season, the Russian Grand Prix, Hamilton did not set a time in the third part of qualifying so he started in tenth. Hamilton came second behind Rosberg despite having zero water pressure for the last 16 laps. In the next race in Spain, Hamilton qualified on pole. On the opening lap a collision between Hamilton and Rosberg meant that both Mercedes cars retired instantly. The stewards decided that the collision was a racing incident. On 3 July 2016, Hamilton went on to win the Austrian Grand Prix despite having a last lap collision with Rosberg. On 10 July 2016, Hamilton completed a hat-trick of home wins by triumphing in the British Grand Prix to cut his Mercedes team-mate's championship lead to just one point.
Hamilton's helmet was made yellow so that his father could tell which kart his son was driving back in his karting days. Hamilton chose the colours blue, green and red and they were originally in a ribbon design; however before entering F1, 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.
During the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton had an altered helmet design with the addition of a roulette wheel image on the top. Hamilton had 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."
Hamilton's helmet underwent one major change during his F1 career. From his debut in 2007 until 2010 his helmet was yellow with a metallic green ribbon on the upper visor and a metallic blue ribbon on the lower visor (these being visually near identical to the helmet of Ayrton Senna, apart from the fact that their designs did not loop all around the back of the helmet, but were cut off either side of the helmet.) It furthermore featured a bright red diagonal patch where these stripes bordered the visor. The yellow however was not a rich, sunburst yellow like Senna's helmet but was a whiter, pastel yellow.
From 2011 onwards Hamilton's helmet was changed whereby it no longer resembled Senna's helmet as much as it had done. 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.
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. He has also worn special helmets in honour of Bob Marley (India 2011) and Michael Jackson (USA 2013).
In 2014, Hamilton changed his helmet colour for the first time since his karting days, using a white helmet with red stripes in the shape of his 2011 design. In 2015, Hamilton added 2 stars to his helmet to celebrate his two world championships (2008, 2014), adding a third star after the 2015 US Grand Prix to celebrate winning his third championship in 2015.
|2001||Formula Renault 2000 UK Winter Series||Manor Motorsport||4||0||0||0||0||?||5th|
|2002||Formula Renault 2000 UK||Manor Motorsport||13||3||3||5||7||274||3rd|
|Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup||4||1||1||2||3||92||5th|
|2003||Formula Renault 2.0 UK||Manor Motorsport||15||10||11||9||13||419||1st|
|British Formula 3||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|
|Macau Grand Prix||1||0||0||0||0||N/A||14th|
|Masters of Formula 3||1||0||0||0||0||N/A||14th|
|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|
|2013||Formula One||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||19||1||5||1||5||189||4th|
* Season still in progress.
Complete Formula 3 Euro Series results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2004||Manor Motorsport||Dallara F302/049||HWA-Mercedes||HOC
|2005||ASM Formule 3||Dallara F305/021||Mercedes||HOC
Complete GP2 Series results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2006||ART Grand Prix||VAL
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
* 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.
Comparison with team-mates
During the course of his career, season-by-season Hamilton has beaten nearly all his team-mates on total points, including two World Champions. The only exception was in 2011 when Jenson Button beat him by 43 points.
|Year||Hamiltons's points||Team-mates' points||Team-mate|
† - Hamilton beat Alonso to 2nd in the Championship on countback of 2nd places (both had 4 wins), 5 to 4
‡ - Season still in progress
Formula One records
Hamilton holds the following Formula One records:
|Most career points||2,132||2016 Austrian Grand Prix (3 July 2016)|
|Most consecutive podium finishes from debut||9 podium finishes||2007 Australian GP – 2007 British GP|
|Youngest driver to lead the World Championship||22 years, 4 months, 6 days||2007 Spanish GP|
|Most wins in a debut season||4 wins||2007[N 1]|
|Most pole positions in a debut season||6 pole positions||2007|
|Most points in a debut season||109||2007|
|Pole positions at most different Grands Prix||21 Grands Prix||2015 Austrian Grand Prix|
|Most podium finishes in a season||17||2015[N 2]|
|Most starts from front row in a season||18||2015[N 3]|
|Most consecutive seasons with a win from debut season||10 seasons||2007–2016|
|Most consecutive seasons with a pole from debut season||10 seasons||2007–2016|
|Most consecutive races with at least one lap in the lead||18 races||2014 Hungarian GP – 2015 British GP|
|Most wins in one calendar month ||4 wins (July 2016)||2016 Austrian GP - 2016 German GP|
In October 2007, Hamilton announced his intention to live in Switzerland, stating that this was because he wished to get away from the media scrutiny that he experienced living in the United Kingdom. Hamilton admitted under questioning on the television show Parkinson, which was broadcast on 10 November 2007, that taxation was partly responsible for his decision, in addition to wanting more privacy. Hamilton received public criticism from UK MPs including Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell for avoiding UK taxes. He settled in Luins in Vaud canton on Lake Geneva; other Formula One drivers, including world champions Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso, also live in Switzerland. Hamilton was one of several super-rich figures whose tax arrangements were singled out for criticism in a report by the charity Christian Aid in 2008.
In November 2007, Hamilton started dating Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the American girl band Pussycat Dolls; it was announced in January 2010 that they split up to focus on their respective careers. However, they were seen together at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, on 13 June 2010. The couple split up and reunited numerous times between 2011 and 2013, but appeared to have got back together in November 2013. They split up again in February 2015.
On 18 March 2009, Madame Tussauds unveiled a waxwork of Hamilton in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race suit. This wax replica cost around £150,000 and took over six months to complete. In 2012, Hamilton featured in the cartoon Tooned, alongside Jenson Button and comedian Alexander Armstrong.
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.
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.
Hamilton is a fan of art; one of his favourite artists is Andy Warhol. 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.
One of Hamilton's favourite cars is the AC Cobra. He owns two unrestored 1967 models, one black and one red. In February 2015, it was reported that Hamilton had purchased a Ferrari LaFerrari from "his rivals in Maranello."
Hamilton has an estimated personal fortune of £88m.
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but I was downshifting into Turn 4 and the car just selected neutral. I coasted for some time.
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To have the world title taken away is a bit cruel and probably not good for the sport
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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 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.
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