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Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton
MBE
Lewis Hamilton 2016 Malaysia 2.jpg
BornLewis Carl Davidson Hamilton[1]
(1985-01-07) 7 January 1985 (age 33)[2]
Stevenage, England
Formula One World Championship career
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
2018 teamMercedes[4]
Car number44[3]
Entries228 (228 starts)
Championships5 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
Wins72
Podiums133
Career points2,993
Pole positions82
Fastest laps41
First entry2007 Australian Grand Prix
First win2007 Canadian Grand Prix
Last win2018 Brazilian Grand Prix
Last entry2018 Brazilian Grand Prix
2017 position1st (363 pts)

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for Mercedes AMG Petronas. A five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.[note 1] He won his first World Championship title with McLaren in 2008, then moved to Mercedes where he won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 before winning back-to-back titles again in 2017 and 2018. Statistically the most successful British driver in the history of the sport, Hamilton has more World Championship titles (5) and more race victories (72) than any other British driver in Formula One. He also holds records for the all-time most career points (2,993), the most wins at different circuits (26), the all-time most pole positions (82) and the most grand slams in a season (3).[note 2]

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 3]

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.

The switch to turbo-hybrid engines following changes to engine regulations for 2014 proved to be highly successful for Hamilton and Mercedes as he won 11 races in an intense championship battle with Nico Rosberg, decided in the final race of the season, which Hamilton won to secure his second world title. The next season saw Hamilton seal his third world title with three races remaining, in a season where he finished on the podium a record 17 times and matched his hero Ayrton Senna's three World Championships. Hamilton claimed consecutive titles again in 2017 and 2018, fending off title challenges from the resurgent Ferrari driven by Sebastian Vettel, to join Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as drivers with five or more World Championship titles.

Early life

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;[5] he self-identifies as black.[6] Lewis's parents separated when he was two; as a result of this, he lived with his mother and half-sisters[7] 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.[8] In early 2011, Nicolas signed with Total Control Racing to start a racing career in the 2011 Renault Clio Cup.[9] Hamilton was raised a Roman Catholic.[10]

Anthony Hamilton, Lewis' father and then-manager, celebrating with his son after the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.[11]

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".[12] His father bought him a go-kart for Christmas when Hamilton was six[13] and promised to support his racing career as long as he worked hard at school. In order 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.[14] Hamilton ended his working relationship with his father in early 2010.[15]

Lewis Hamilton was educated at The John Henry Newman School, a voluntary aided Catholic secondary school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.[16] In addition to racing, he played association football for his school team with eventual England international Ashley Young.[14] Hamilton, an Arsenal fan, said that if Formula One had not worked for him he would have been a footballer[17] or a cricketer, having played both for his school teams. In February 2001 he began studies at Cambridge Arts and Sciences (CATS), a private sixth-form college in Cambridge.[18] At the age of five Hamilton took up karate to defend himself as a result of bullying at school;[19] 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.[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.[12] Dennis delivered on his promise and signed Hamilton to the McLaren driver development program.[5] This contract included an option of a future Formula One seat, which would eventually make Hamilton the youngest ever driver to secure a contract which later resulted in an 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.[12] This led to a full 2002 Formula Renault UK campaign with Manor Motorsport in which 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. In his first race he was forced out with a puncture,[28] and in the second he crashed out and was taken to hospital after a collision with teammate Tor Graves.[29] He showed 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 Formula 3 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 Formula One" but rather "to be experienced and then show what I can do in Formula One".[30] 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.[31] 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. 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.[32] 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.[12] He also won the Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort.[33] After the season British magazine Autosport featured him in their "Top 50 Drivers of 2005" issue, ranking Hamilton 24th.[34]

2006 season: GP2

Due to his success in Formula Three, he moved to ASM's sister GP2 team ART Grand Prix for 2006.[35] 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.[36] 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 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 bends where overtaking is rare. In Istanbul he recovered from a spin that left him in eighteenth place to take second position.

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.[37] 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.[38][39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

Formula One career

McLaren

2007 season: A record-breaking rookie year

Hamilton's first Formula One win came at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.

In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton partnered 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 13th driver to finish on the podium on his debut [note 4].[42] At the next two rounds in Bahrain and Barcelona, Hamilton finished second behind Felipe Massa to take the lead in the Drivers' Championship,[43] to become the youngest driver ever to lead the World Championship.[44] After finishing second behind Alonso at Monaco, Hamilton suggested he was prevented from racing his teammate, but the FIA cleared McLaren following an investigation. Hamilton achieved both his first pole position and first victory of his Formula One career in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.[45] A week later Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix, becoming the first Briton since John Watson in 1983 to win a Formula One race in the US.[46]

Hamilton finished third at Magny-Cours behind Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa, to extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 14 points.[47] In his first home Grand Prix at Silverstone, Hamilton finished third[48] to equal Jim Clark's 1963 record of 9 consecutive podium finishes for a British driver.[49] Th is run came to an end at the European Grand Prix where during qualifying, Hamilton crashed at the Schumacher chicane after a problem with a wheel nut.[50] He was unable to complete qualifying so started in tenth position.[51][52] During a heavy rainstorm which ultimately stopped the race, Hamilton slid off into a gravel trap, but managed to keep his engine running and was lifted back on to the circuit and able to rejoin the race after the restart. He went on to finish out of the points in ninth,[53] and was the first and only driver to have his car recovered by a crane and put back on the track during a race.[54] The FIA subsequently banned the use of mechanical assistance to move a car back on track.[55]

Hamilton after taking pole at the 2007 United States Grand Prix

Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole following a controversial qualifying session in which team-mate Alonso, having set the fastest time, was given a five place grid penalty for preventing Hamilton from leaving the pit lane in time to complete his final qualifying lap.[56] After the race Hamilton declared that he had restored his relationship with Alonso.[57] At the Turkish Grand Prix Hamilton suffered a puncture and ultimately finished in fifth-place.[58] Alonso beat Hamilton in the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix, reducing Hamilton's lead in the championship to just 2 points. He increased his lead to 12 points after winning the Japanese Grand Prix in heavy rain after Alonso crashed. After the race, Hamilton was investigated by the race stewards over his involvement in an incident behind the safety car, but was cleared ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix,[59] where Hamilton, starting from pole, retired after sliding 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.[60]

In the Brazilian Grand Prix Hamilton finished seventh and Räikkönen won, which meant that Hamilton came second in the championship by a point. On the first lap Hamilton was passed by several cars and dropped to eighth; eight laps later he 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.[61][62][63] Hamilton took the record of Youngest World Drivers' Championship runner-up, at 22 years and 287 days, previously held since 1960 by Bruce McLaren at 23 years and 5 days; Hamilton's record has since been beaten by Sebastian Vettel in 2009. In October the FIA began 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 neither team was penalized; McLaren appealed.[64] Hamilton subsequently told the BBC he did not want to win a Formula One title through the disqualifications of other drivers.[65]

Hamilton on the top podium position after winning the 2007 United States Grand Prix. He is flanked by teammate Fernando Alonso (left) and Felipe Massa (right).
Team tensions

The first public indication that Hamilton was unhappy with the team appeared after he finished second at Monaco in 2007.[66] 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.[67] 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".[67]

Tensions surfaced again at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, where 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.[68] Alonso was relegated to sixth place on the starting grid thus promoting 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.[69] Hamilton was reported to have sworn at Dennis on the team radio following the incident.[70] 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",[71] however McLaren later issued a statement on behalf of Hamilton which denied the use of any profanity.[72]

As a result of these events, the relationship between Hamilton and Alonso reportedly collapsed, with the pair not on speaking terms for a short period.[57][73] In the aftermath it was reported that Hamilton had been targeted by Luca di Montezemolo regarding a Ferrari drive for 2008.[74] The rivalry between the pair led to speculation that either Hamilton or Alonso would leave McLaren at the end of the season.[75][76][77] Alonso and McLaren subsequently terminated their contract by mutual consent in November.[78]

2008 season: Youngest-ever world champion

A month after Alonso's departure, it was confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen would drive the second car for McLaren-Mercedes in 2008 alongside Hamilton,[79] who signed a new five-year multimillion-pound contract to stay with McLaren-Mercedes until the end of the 2012 season.[80] Hamilton won the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, from pole.[81] In Malaysia, he finished fifth after he had started from ninth on the grid, serving a penalty for impeding Nick Heidfeld's qualifying lap.[82][83] He was back on the podium in Spain where he finished third,[84] before finishing second in Turkey,[85] and winning the Monaco Grand Prix to take the lead of the championship.[86] 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, causing both cars to retire. Hamilton was given a 10-position grid penalty for the next race, the French Grand Prix.[87][88]

Hamilton won the first race of 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.

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 in a performance regarded as one of the best of his career up to that point.[89] In the next race at Hockenheim, Hamilton won the race despite a tactical blunder by his team's strategists.[90] Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix, but was later judged to have gained an unfair advantage by cutting a chicane to avoid hitting Räikkönen.[91] McLaren said that their telemetry showed Hamilton backed off to let Räikkönen past[92] but Hamilton was given a 25-second penalty, which relegated him to third and handed title rival Massa victory. Hamilton's lead in the Drivers' Championship was cut to two points, and an appeal by McLaren to the FIA World Motor Sport Council was rejected.[93] The Italian Grand Prix saw Hamilton finish in seventh place, and Hamilton's lead in the championship was reduced to one point.[94]

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.[95] In 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 making a mistake. Massa was later given a drive-through penalty for this move and Hamilton finished twelfth.[96] With just two races to go, Hamilton led the World Championship by five points from Massa. In China, Hamilton won the race to take a seven-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."[97]

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

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton needed to finish at least fifth, if Massa won the race, to secure the World Championship. Just before the race began a rain shower struck and Hamilton ran in fourth place before dropping down to sixth after pitting for dry tyres. Intermittent rainfall meant all drivers stopped multiple times between wet and dry tyres and, with three laps remaining and Massa leading the race, Hamilton was running in fifth and needed only to maintain position to secure the title. On the penultimate lap, Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel passed Hamilton, meaning the British driver started the final lap in sixth position and looking unable to retake fifth place from the German. However, on the final lap he and Vettel made up an 18-second gap to overtake Timo Glock, who was struggling on dry tyres, on the last corner to re-take fifth place and deny race-winner Massa the title by one point.[98][99] This made Hamilton the youngest driver to win the World Drivers' Championship,[100][101] the first black driver,[102] and the first British driver to win the World Championship since Damon Hill in 1996.[103]

Racial abuse

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]".[104] Hamilton became unpopular in Spain because of his rivalry with Spanish former teammate Alonso. The FIA warned Spanish authorities about the repetition of such behaviour[105] and launched a "Race Against Racism" campaign.[106] 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.[107] His rival, Alonso, condemned the racist abuse.[108]

2009 season: A frustrating year

Hamilton driving for McLaren at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix

Hamilton started the season opener in Australia from eighteenth on the grid after the McLaren team incurred a penalty for changing his gearbox during qualifying.[109] Hamilton benefited from a late crash between Vettel and 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, which was contradicted by the release of the McLaren race radio communication.[110] Hamilton was then disqualified from the race for providing "misleading evidence" during the stewards' hearing.[111] He later privately apologised to FIA race director Charlie Whiting for having lied to the stewards.[112] He went on to describe the incident as the hardest week of his life, and considered quitting Formula One.[113]

After failing to score points in five consecutive races, Hamilton made public calls to scrap the car and a former team owner and commentator Eddie Jordan described the MP4-24 as "possibly the worst car McLaren have ever designed".[114] However, after bringing upgrades to the car, McLaren and Hamilton's fortunes were reversed at the Hungaroring, the tenth round of the season where he won the race to take his 10th career win and the first for a KERS-equipped car.[115] McLaren's return to form continued in Valencia, where Hamilton finished second.[116] At the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton took his second win of the season.[117] 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.[118] Hamilton finished the season in fifth place in the World Drivers' Championship.

2010 season: Another title challenge

Hamilton driving for McLaren in Malaysia, where he finished in sixth position after starting twentieth.

For the 2010 season Hamilton drove alongside Jenson Button, who joined McLaren after Heikki Kovalainen's departure to Lotus Racing.[119] Hamilton finished third at the season opener in Bahrain[120] and finished in sixth place at the next race in Australia after a late-race collision with Mark Webber.[121] Hamilton started from twentieth place on the grid in Malaysia after a poor tyre choice by McLaren left him out on dry tyres in wet conditions. He recovered, passing a number of cars in the race, to finish sixth.[122] Hamilton achieved a second-place finish in China behind Button, completing McLaren's first 1–2 finish since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix. In Monaco Hamilton qualified and finished fifth. Hamilton's fortunes improved in the Turkish Grand Prix, where he claimed his first victory of the season as he and Button completed a 1–2.

Hamilton scored his second successive victory in Canada, ahead of teammate Jenson Button.

Hamilton qualified on pole for the Canadian Grand Prix, his third in as many attempts at the 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 sufficient for a sample to be taken by the FIA. Hamilton was reprimanded after failing to complete his in-lap in a sufficient time and the team was fined $10,000.[123] 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, and Hamilton subsequently received a drive-through penalty.[124]

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, Hamilton won his third race of the season and reclaimed the championship lead. However, successive crashes at the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix dropped him to third in the championship. In Japan, Hamilton finished fifth, followed by a second place finish in South Korea. He finished fourth at the Brazilian Grand Prix meaning he would remain in contention for the title going into the last race of the season. In the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton finished second to Vettel, who won the World Drivers' Championship and broke Hamilton's record for being the youngest ever Formula One World Champion.[125]

2011–2012: Final years with McLaren

At the start of the 2011 season Hamilton dismissed Red Bull Racing as "just a drinks company".[126] Hamilton began the season qualifying and finishing second in the Australian Grand Prix, despite having floor damage to his McLaren.[127] In Malaysia, he qualified second but finished seventh in the race after being tagged by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.[128] Hamilton received a 20-second time penalty post-race for weaving whilst defending, dropping Hamilton to eighth place.[129] Hamilton took his first win of the season in China,[130] before finishing fourth in Turkey,[131] and second in Spain.[132] In Monaco, Hamilton qualified tenth after Q3 was red-flagged before he could set a time due to a heavy crash from Sergio Pérez. During the race Hamilton received a drive-through penalty and was involved in two further collisions, the last of which he was given a 20-second time penalty for.[133] After the race, Hamilton said that he felt victimised by the FIA, having been summoned to the stewards in five out of six races in the season so far. When asked to why he had been targeted by the stewards so much, Hamilton replied in jest, "Maybe it's because I'm black. That's what Ali G says."[134]

Hamilton during qualifying for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.

At the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Webber at the first corner before rejoining behind his teammate, Button. A few laps later Hamilton attempted to pass Button who pushed Hamilton into the pitwall, forcing him to retire with a broken driveshaft.[135] Hamilton finished fourth in Valencia and Silverstone.[136][137] In Germany, Hamilton took his second victory of the season,[138] before a chaotic race in Hungary in which Hamilton had five pitstops and a drive-through penalty after which he finished fourth.[139] He finished fourth at Monza after a race long battle with Michael Schumacher,[140][141] In the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Massa which left Hamilton needing a new front wing and serving a drive through penalty.[142] Massa accused Hamilton of being "incapable of using his brain," during a post race interview and grabbed Hamilton's shoulder before sarcastically retorting "Good job, bum"; Hamilton told Brazilian to leave him alone.[143] In Japan, Hamilton suffered a puncture before once again tangling with Massa, although Hamilton escaped a reprimand and finished fifth.[144]

Hamilton took his third victory of the season at 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In Korea, Hamilton took pole position, ending a run of 16 consecutive pole positions for Red Bull.[145] However, he was passed on the first lap by Vettel who went on to win the race as Hamilton finished second.[146] At the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, 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.[147][148] Hamilton finished seventh after yet another incident with Massa for which the Brazilian received a penalty as Hamilton had to replace the front wing.[149] In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton qualified second and won the race.[150] After retiring from the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton and Massa ended their feud as the two drivers spoke after the race before sharing a hug. Hamilton also apologised to his team for the "mishaps" throughout the season, and vowed that "2012 will be a good one".[151][152] Hamilton finished fifth overall in the championship, recording three wins, six podium finishes and one pole position. He also finished behind a team-mate in the World Championship for the first time in his career as Button finished runner-up.[153]

Hamilton remained at McLaren alongside Button for the 2012 season.[154] 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.[155] 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,[156] and demoted him to the back of the grid; but despite this, Hamilton finished eighth, ahead of Button, who had started in tenth.

Hamilton took pole position for the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, but slipped back to third place in the race.

Hamilton achieved his first victory of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix, his third win at in Montreal, after overtaking Alonso in the closing stages.[157][158] Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on 29 July 2012 to claim his second win of the season.[citation needed] 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.[159] 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.[160] 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.[161] He finished in fourth place in the World Championship.

Mercedes

2013 season: First win with Mercedes

Hamilton during free practice at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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.[162][163]

In his first race weekend for Mercedes, the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified in third and ended the race in fifth place.[164] 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.[165] At the following race in China, Hamilton secured his first pole position for Mercedes.[166]

At Monaco after being out-qualified by his teammate Rosberg for the third successive race, Hamilton admitted that he was struggling to control the car under braking.[167] 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-kilometre (620 mi) tyre test. Neither Mercedes drivers received any punishment for the breach of rules, and Mercedes was given a reprimand.[168]

The Hungarian Grand Prix was Hamilton's 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 at the 1955 British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. Hamilton won the race from an unexpected pole position, eventually crossing the line nearly 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kimi Räikkönen.[169] By winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton continued his personal streak of winning at least one race prior to the mid-season break, and went into the summer break fourth in the Drivers' Championship.[170] 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.[citation needed]

2014 season: Second world title

Hamilton at the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix. By winning the race, Hamilton achieved three consecutive wins for the first time in his Formula One career.

A new rule for the 2014 season allowed the drivers to pick a unique car number to use for their entire career. Hamilton picked 44, the same number he used during his karting days.[171]

After pre-season testing in Jerez, Mercedes were widely considered favourites for 2014 as it looked they had reacted best to the rule changes which were the biggest since 2009[172] as they appeared to hold a considerable speed advantage over other teams. 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.[173] In Malaysia, Hamilton's potential was realised when he won from pole in a Mercedes 1–2, the first since 1955.[174] 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' Sauber was struck by Pastor Maldonado's Lotus. 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.[175]

Hamilton is congratulated by Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, after winning the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in 2014.

Mercedes's dominance was further confirmed in China where Hamilton took pole and then led every lap of the race while his teammate finished second. This completed a hat-trick of wins, the first of Hamilton's career.[176] 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 teammate Nico Rosberg who finished in second place.[177] 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.[178] Rosberg was cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident. Rosberg won the race with Hamilton finishing second. During qualifying for the German Grand Prix, Hamilton had a brake failure and started 20th but managed to finish third.[179] 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.[180]

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.[181] He then won the Italian,[182] and Singapore Grands Prix[183] 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 teammate Rosberg by 67 points, after Rosberg's car developed mechanical trouble during the race. Hamilton said in the podium interview "This is the greatest day of my life".[184] At the end of the year, Hamilton received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.[185]

2015 season: Third world title

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.[186] At the opening race in Australia, Hamilton qualified in pole position, 0.594 seconds quicker than teammate Rosberg and 1.391 seconds clear of Felipe Massa's Williams in third.[187] Hamilton then won the race ahead of Rosberg in second, with Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in third, 34 seconds back.[188] In Monaco he lost first position to his teammate Rosberg after leading the race for 65 laps due to a pit-stop error made by his team, eventually finishing third.

Hamilton celebrating victory at the 2015 Canadian Grand Prix

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 over the full three years, making Hamilton one of the best paid drivers in Formula One.[189] 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.[190]

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.[191] He finished sixth in an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix, ending his run of 16 consecutive podium finishes, the second-longest in Formula One history.[192] 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,[193] and had moved up to 4th in the race before he was forced to retire due to a power unit issue.[194] By winning the United States Grand Prix, Hamilton secured his third Drivers' Championship with three races left to run.[195]

2016 season: Runner-up to Rosberg

At the season opening Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified on pole. He made a poor start to the race, however, but recovered to finish second behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.[196] 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, for which Bottas was handed a drive-through penalty. Hamilton recovered to finish the race in third behind Rosberg and Räikkönen. In the next race, the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton did not set a time in qualifying and 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, meaning he started from tenth position on the grid. He finished second behind Rosberg, despite having zero water pressure for the last 16 laps.[197]

In the next race in Spain, Hamilton claimed pole position, ahead of Rosberg. On the opening lap a collision between Hamilton and Rosberg meant that both Mercedes cars retired instantly. Both drivers made a good start, but Rosberg passed Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1. In the next few corners, Rosberg's car entered an incorrect engine mode due to an error the German had made on the formation lap. That meant he was slower than Hamilton coming out of Turn 3, and Hamilton went to overtake for the lead. Rosberg closed the door and forced Hamilton on to the grass where he lost control, eventually spinning into Rosberg and taking both drivers out of the race. The stewards deemed it a racing incident and decided Hamilton had been justified in his attempt as he was 17 kilometres per hour (11 mph) quicker than Rosberg coming out of Turn 3.[198][199]

Hamilton on his way to victory at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix

Hamilton, now 43 points behind Rosberg, began to close the gap by winning in Monaco and Canada ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel respectively, however a crash in qualifying at the next race in Baku and an engine mode setting problem meant that he was only able to finish 5th. Hamilton went on to win the Austrian Grand Prix despite having a last lap collision with Rosberg.[200] A week later, Hamilton completed a hat-trick of home wins at the British Grand Prix, cutting his Mercedes teammate's championship lead to a point.[201] He took the lead in the championship in the following race in Hungary, and extended the gap to 19 points after winning in Germany, where Rosberg finished fourth.[202]

After the summer break, however, Hamilton's season unravelled. With Mercedes opting to take a series of grid penalties to build up a stockpile of components, Hamilton was forced to start in Belgium from 21st position. He took advantage of first-lap contact between Vettel, Räikkönen, and Verstappen to work his way through the field before a heavy accident involving Kevin Magnussen at Eau Rouge forced a red flag. When the race resumed, Nico Rosberg led the race until the chequered flag, while Hamilton ultimately finished third after being unable to catch Daniel Ricciardo.[203] Rosberg reduced Hamilton's championship lead to two points at the next round in Italy, taking advantage of a slow start from pole position by Hamilton to establish an early lead that went unchallenged through the race. Hamilton dropped as low as fifth at the start, recovering to fourth in the opening laps and using strategy to get ahead of the Ferraris of Vettel and Räikkönen.[204]

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

Rosberg reclaimed the championship lead in Singapore, qualifying on pole while Hamilton was forced to settle for third after struggling with mechanical issues and driving errors.[205] Hamilton looked set to regain the lead after comfortably leading the Malaysian Grand Prix, however he retired 16 laps from the end of the race with engine failure, leaving Daniel Ricciardo in control of the race, whilst Rosberg finished in third position, extending his championship lead to 23 points.[206]

Rosberg further extended his championship lead to 33 points in Japan, starting the race from pole and finishing in first. Meanwhile, Hamilton made another poor start, slipping from second on the grid to eighth by the end of the first lap. He recovered with an alternate pit strategy to reclaim third place going into the final phase of the race but was unable to pass Max Verstappen, and finished in third, meaning that his deficit to Rosberg was now 33 points and that the Championship was no longer in his hands. The result secured Mercedes's third consecutive World Constructors' Championship title.[207] Hamilton began to reduce Rosberg's lead, fronting a Mercedes 1–2 finish in the United States.[208] Hamilton led another Mercedes 1–2 in Mexico and in Brazil, he dominated a heavily wet race to complete another hat-trick of wins. However, with Rosberg again finishing in second it meant that to win the championship, he would have to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Rosberg finishing fourth or lower.[209]

In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton took pole position ahead of Rosberg, and led him for most of the race. In the final laps of the race, Hamilton defied team-orders, first from his race engineer and then by the team's technical director, and deliberately slowed to back Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack at end of the race in a bid to encourage rivals Vettel and Verstappen to overtake his teammate, which would have allowed him to win the World Championship.[210] However, Rosberg was able hold his position to take second place, enough to win the title with 385 points to Hamilton's 380. Pressed on whether Hamilton could face sanction or even suspension, Toto Wolff replied: "Everything is possible", although no punishment was publicly announced. Others have supported him, on the principle that "drivers are free to race". After the race, Hamilton denied that he had been guilty of any wrongdoing, saying "I don't think I did anything dangerous", "I was in the lead, so I control the pace. Those are the rules."[211][212]

2017 season: Fourth world title

Hamilton during 2017 pre-season testing in Barcelona.

At the season opener in Australia, Hamilton took pole ahead of his new Mercedes teammate Bottas and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.[213][214] Vettel ultimately took victory, with Hamilton only able to take second after being stuck being Verstappen after his first pit-stop. Journalists and commentators suggested that the race signalled an end to the Mercedes dominance of the past two seasons.[215] Hamilton took his first win of the season at the next race in China where he won from pole[216] led every lap and set the fastest lap to give the Mercedes driver his third career Grand Slam.[217][218] Hamilton received a penalty as he finished runner-up in Bahrain,[219] and raised concerns over the pace of his car.[220] At the next race in Sochi, Hamilton struggled for pace and finished fourth, while team-mate Bottas took his first Grand Prix win.[221]

Mercedes brought a series of upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix, and qualifying saw Hamilton take pole ahead of Vettel.[222] Hamilton went on to secure victory after passing Vettel in the latter half of the race, reducing the German's lead in the championship to six points.[223] However, two weeks later in Monaco, Hamilton qualified in 14th as he struggled to warm his tyres as well as his final flying lap being impeded by an accident involving Stoffel Vandoorne while Ferrari locked out the front row.[224] Hamilton recovered to finish seventh, while Vettel won the race and extended his championship lead to 25 points.[225] Hamilton responded by taking pole in Canada, equalling his hero Ayrton Senna with the 65th of his career. He was presented with one of Senna's old helmets, a gift from the late Brazilian's family for equalling his record. Upon receiving the gift, Hamilton paid tribute to the Brazilian three-time World Champion, saying "He inspired me to be where I am today so to receive this is the greatest honour".[226] Hamilton went on to win, leading every lap of the race and setting the fastest lap for his second Grand Slam of the season.[227]

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

Hamilton secured his fifth pole of the season at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he looked to reduce the deficit to championship leader Vettel. The race was full of incident, with three safety cars and a red flag. Just before the second safety car period was ending, Vettel rear-ended Hamilton, accusing his title rival of brake testing him, though FIA telemetry data showed that Hamilton had not.[228] Moments later, Vettel pulled alongside and swerved into Hamilton's Mercedes as they prepared for a restart, for which he received a ten-second stop-go penalty.[229] However, with Hamilton being forced to pit for a loose headrest a couple of laps earlier, Vettel emerged in front and held off Hamilton to move 14 points clear in the standings. Vettel took full responsibility, issuing a public apology to Hamilton and committing to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events.[230]

In Austria, Hamilton qualified third and would start in eight place due to a five-place grid penalty after his car required an unscheduled gearbox change.[231] Hamilton finished the race in fourth place, while Bottas took his second ever Grand Prix victory. Vettel finished in second to extend his championship lead to 20 points over Hamilton.[232] At the British Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified on pole[233] and went on to win, achieving a record-equalling third grand slam of the season. With his fifth British Grand Prix win, he equalled the records of Alain Prost and Jim Clark. Championship rival Vettel suffered a tyre failure with two laps to go, and subsequently finished seventh and so his lead over Hamilton in the Drivers' standings was reduced to one point.[234] Hamilton finished in fourth position in Hungary, behind Bottas, after requesting that he swap places with Bottas to try to overtake both Ferraris. Unable to do so, Hamilton relinquished the position back to Bottas on the final corner of the last lap while Vettel won the race.[235]

A hat-trick of victories after the summer break saw Hamilton regain the lead of the championship. Hamilton won from pole in Belgium[236][237] and a week later in Italy he surpassed Michael Schumacher for the all-time most pole positions[238] and went on to win the race.[239] Hamilton took an unlikely victory at the Singapore Grand Prix after qualifying in fifth.[240] During the first-ever rain affected night Grand Prix, Hamilton took the lead on the first lap after a crash in turn one involving Räikkönen, Verstappen and Vettel forced all three to retire.[241] Despite major setup difficulties after introducing upgrades at the Malaysian Grand Prix,[242][243] Hamilton took pole position[244] before finishing in second place behind Verstappen.[245] In Japan, Hamilton took his first Suzuka pole[246] and took his eighth win of the season, while title-rival Vettel retired after four laps, extending his championship lead to 59 points.[247] Hamilton broke another record during qualifying of the United States Grand Prix. In windy conditions, Hamilton claimed pole position and his 117th front row start, setting a new record for all-time front row starts, surpassing Michael Schumacher.[248] Hamilton went on to win, and Mercedes clinched their fourth consecutive World Constructors' Championship title. The victory extended Hamilton's lead in the Drivers' Championship such that a fifth-place finish at in Mexico clinch the title with two races remaining.[249]

Max Verstappen overtaking Hamilton for the lead in Malaysia.

In Mexico, after qualifying in third, Hamilton suffered a puncture after a first lap collision with Vettel.[250] Hamilton, suffering damage to his diffuser and underfloor sustained in the first-lap collision, finished ninth to clinch the drivers' title with two races remaining.[251][252] During qualifying of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Hamilton made a rare mistake on his first flying run in the first qualifying session and hit the barriers, and so started the race from the pit lane.[253] An impressive comeback drive followed as he passed most of the field to finish fourth.[254] Mercedes dominated qualifying of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Hamilton qualifying second in the first front row lock-out for the team since Azerbaijan.[255] Mercedes capped off the season with their fourth 1–2 as Bottas won the race from pole with Hamilton unable to pass despite several attempts in the closing laps.[256]

2018 season: The Fight for Five

The 2018 season would be the first time that two four-time World Champions, Hamilton and Vettel, would be competing for a fifth title and has been billed as the Fight for Five by journalists and fans.[257][258][259] Hamilton started the season by taking a record seventh pole position in Melbourne,[260] but finished second behind Vettel, who used a timely virtual safety car period triggered by the stricken Haas of Romain Grosjean to pass Hamilton before successfully defending the position until the finish.[261] After finishing on the podium in Bahrain[262] finishing fourth in Shanghai,[263] Hamilton won his first race of the season in Azerbaijan, after an error from Vettel allowed Hamilton to take second place, before he inherited the race lead from team-mate Bottas who suffered an unfortunate late puncture. The victory gave Hamilton the lead of the championship for the first time in 2018.[264] After the race, Hamilton was late to the podium ceremony to console Bottas.[265] At the next race, Hamilton took his first consecutive victories of the season as he won from pole in Spain in Mercedes' first 1–2 finish of the season.[266] However, Hamilton relinquished the championship lead over the next two rounds in Monaco and Canada.[267][268][269][270]

Hamilton driving at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, where he would suffer his first retirement of the season.

In Formula One's return to France, Hamilton won from pole while championship leader Vettel caused a collision in turn one, demoting him to the back of the grid from where he ultimately finished fifth, allowing Hamilton to retake the championship lead by 14 points.[271][272] In Austria Hamilton suffered his first retirement since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix due to a mechanical issue, bringing an end to a record 33-race streak without retirements, all of which he finished in the points.[273] Vettel's third place finish meant the championship lead swung back in the German's favour.[274] Despite starting from pole at Silverstone, Hamilton was denied a home victory after a collision with Räikkönen on the first lap left him virtually last. Despite the spin, Hamilton recovered to finish in second place while Vettel stormed to victory.[275][276]

In the week leading up to the 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.[277] A hydraulic issue in qualifying meant Hamilton could only manage 14th place on the grid.[278] In the race, Hamilton took one of the best wins of his career as he worked his way through the midfield and dealt with the changing weather conditions, compounded by another mistake from Vettel who crashed into the barriers from the lead of his home race.[279] The championship lead swapped hands yet again, this time in favour of the Briton.[280] Hamilton took consecutive victories again, and his fifth Grand Prix win of the season as he won from pole in Hungary, extending his lead in the championship to 24 points entering the summer break.[281]

After the summer break, Hamilton returned in formidable form; winning four of the next five races including four consecutive Grand Prix victories. The season resumed in Belgium where Hamilton took his sixth pole position of the season.[282] However, the Ferrari of Vettel went on to take victory on the power-sensitive Spa circuit after passing Hamilton on the first lap.[283][284] Hamilton took full advantage of another error from title-rival Vettel, who spun on the first lap as Hamilton passed him around the outside, to take victory at Monza in front of the Tifosi after passing pole-sitter Räikkönen with eight laps to go.[285][286] At the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, a track at which Mercedes had struggled for performance in the hybrid era, Hamilton took an unexpected pole position with one of the finest laps of his career.[287][288] Hamilton himself said the lap "felt like magic", while team-boss Toto Wolff described it as "stardust", commenting "only he will know what he did around that lap... it’s surreal".[289] Hamilton converted his pole position into a win in the race, extending his championship lead over Vettel who finished third behind Red Bull's Verstappen.[290][291]

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, particularly in qualifying.[238] Also a tenacious racer, he excels across a wide range of areas.[292] He has been described as having an aggressive driving style,[293] which at times results in a tendency to lock up the front wheels.[294] 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.[295] Hamilton has been praised for his consistency, particularly in his championship battles against Vettel, a period during which he finished 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.[296][297]

Hamilton won the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix in torrential rain.

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".[298] He has been compared to Senna in raw speed.[299] 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.[300][301]

Hamilton is the most successful British driver in Formula One history, and has won the British Grand Prix a record-equalling five 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. Perhaps most notable of these performances was the 2008 British Grand Prix[302] where he won by over a minute from Nick Heidfeld, the largest margin of victory recorded since the 1995 Australian Grand Prix.[303]

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.[304] 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.[210]

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.[citation needed]

Hamilton is often considered the best driver of his generation,[305][306][307][308] and widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.[309][310][311][312][313][314] Often considered among the greatest British drivers in Formula One, Hamilton is the most successful, having more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and matching Jim Clark's and Alain Prost's five British Grand Prix victories.[315][316] His jet-set lifestyle and interests outside Formula One have been criticised, however, figures in the sport such as Emerson Fittipaldi and Christian Horner have voiced their support for Hamilton's ability to connect with fans. Bernie Ecclestone has 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.[317] Since Hamilton's rookie season in 2007, Formula One's annual global revenue has risen by 53%, to $1.83 billion as of 31 July 2016.[305]

"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.[318]

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.[319] 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 yield a finish higher than fourth in the Drivers' Championship from 2009–2013, leading some to question his status as the best driver in the sport.[320] 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 twelve consecutive seasons,[321] attracting high praise from experts and fellow drivers for extracting race-winning performances from cars that were not dominant.[318][322]

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",[306] an opinion which was more widely accepted amongst the public, experts, and fellow and former drivers.[305] 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.[320] 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.[323] 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 team-mates alike,[324][318][325][326][327] with some journalists and pundits considering the possibility of Hamilton being the greatest Formula One driver of all time.[328][329]

Rivalry with Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico 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.[330] 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".[331] Sports journalist Paul Weaver contrasts their upbringings:[331] Rosberg, an only child, was born in Germany but brought up in Monaco and was the son of the 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.[14]

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.[304] 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.[14] 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.[304] 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".[292]

In their time together as teammates, Hamilton won two World Championship titles to Rosberg's one, and scored more points in three out of their four seasons together. During this time, the pair won 54 of the 78 races over four seasons. In qualifying, Hamilton was superior to Rosberg, finishing ahead of his teammate on 42 occasions. Hamilton also had the upper hand over this period in race results, with 32 victories to Rosberg's 22 as well as securing 55 podium finishes, five more than Rosberg.[332]

Rosberg was ordered to remain behind Hamilton at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, the first of several controversial on-track incidents.

Timeline of incidents

The first sign of tensions between the pair was at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, where Mercedes implemented team orders, telling the quicker Rosberg to hold station behind Hamilton in fourth place to which Rosberg reluctantly obliged. Hamilton questioned the radio call and after the race admitted Rosberg had deserved the final spot on the podium. The incident, drowned out in the subsequent days by the "Multi-21" saga at Red Bull, passed by without further controversy as the two friends moved on.[333]

At the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, both the Mercedes drivers engaged in a wheel-to-wheel duel for the win. A late safety car had seemingly swung the favour to second-place Rosberg, who had the benefit of being on a better tyre, but after the restart Hamilton held firm in a close wheel-to-wheel encounter which passed without the Mercedes cars making contact. In parc ferme after the race the pair engaged in a mock fight.[198] Mercedes was praised for allowing its drivers to race. However, it later emerged Rosberg had used engine modes banned by Mercedes to give himself a power advantage over Hamilton in the closing laps.[334]

Hamilton arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix with three consecutive victories behind him and the opportunity to move ahead of Rosberg in the championship with win number four. Hamilton held off a charging Rosberg late in the race, crossing the line just 0.6s ahead of the German. On a track with more overtaking opportunities, Rosberg may have been able to pass and after the race said an extra lap would have been enough.[198] It was revealed after the race that Hamilton had used the same engine mode to defend position that Rosberg had used in Bahrain.[334]

Two weeks later, at the Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton was faster than his teammate in all three practice sessions and again in Q2 ahead of the top-ten shootout. In the closing stages of Q3, both Mercedes drivers started a lap; Rosberg first, Hamilton second. Rosberg, on provisional pole, ran deep at Mirabeau and drove into a sliproad, prompting yellow flags and forcing Hamilton to abort his final qualifying lap. Several pundits made suggestions of foul play and drew comparisons with Michael Schumacher's deliberate crash at La Rascasse in 2006, but the stewards cleared Rosberg of any wrongdoing. Hamilton made clear that he felt Rosberg had ruined his lap on purpose and, after starting and finishing the race second, announced that he and Rosberg were no longer friends.[335]

The start of the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix where Hamilton passed teammate Rosberg for the lead.

In Hungary, Hamilton was forced to start from the back of the grid when a fuel leak set his car alight in the first session of qualifying. Hamilton began to fight through the field before a mid-race safety car shuffled the order, putting Rosberg behind Hamilton but on a different strategy. When Rosberg, on fresher tires, closed the gap to Hamilton, Mercedes asked the British driver to move over, knowing the German would have to pit again before the end of the race.[198] Hamilton refused, reasoning that he had battled through from last position and that he was not prepared to slow down to let Rosberg, his title rival who had started from pole position, through. Hamilton's decision meant he held on to third, keeping Rosberg at bay in the final stages after his pit stop. Mercedes chairman, Niki Lauda spoke in support of Hamilton after the race, saying "From my point of view Lewis was right".[334]

The two made contact at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, where Rosberg was widely criticised for hitting Hamilton at Les Combes, breaking his front wing and giving his teammate a puncture and effectively putting him out of the race. Rosberg would recover to finish second behind Daniel Ricciardo but it later emerged the German had left the nose of his car in to "prove a point" to his British teammate by not backing out. After being booed on the podium, Rosberg was forced to apologise and "suitable disciplinary measures" were taken against him.[334]

The next season Hamilton came to the 2015 United States Grand Prix knowing he could win the title with three races to spare if he claimed victory. After Hamilton very aggressively forced Rosberg wide at Turn 1 to claim the lead, a thrilling race unfolded where the advantage continuously swung between both Mercedes drivers and the chasing Red Bulls. A fired-up Rosberg led in the closing stages but made a mistake at Turn 12, running deep and letting his teammate through a handful of laps from the flag. Hamilton never relinquished the lead and claimed his third championship. Rosberg was furious after the race, saying his teammate's Turn 1 move had been "one step too far". He infamously threw his podium cap at Hamilton as they waited to take the podium.[334]

After Austin, Rosberg went on a seven-race winning streak, which included the first four races of 2016. Coming to Spain he led Hamilton by 43 points following a number of issues for Hamilton, who then claimed pole position ahead of Rosberg. After a good start for both men, Rosberg passed Hamilton around the outside of Turn 1. Coming through the next few corners, Rosberg's car entered an incorrect engine mode due to an error the German had made on the formation lap. That meant he was slower than Hamilton coming out of Turn 3, and Hamilton went for the lead. Rosberg closed the door and forced Hamilton on to the grass where he lost control, eventually spinning into Rosberg and taking both drivers out of the race. The stewards deemed it a racing incident and decided Hamilton had been justified in his attempt as he was 17 kilometres per hour (11 mph) quicker than Rosberg coming out of Turn 3. Afterwards, Hamilton insisted the incident did not harm his relationship with Rosberg, which he later admitted had mellowed since 2014.[198]

Hamilton (background) thanked Rosberg for obeying team orders and letting him pass at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.

In Austria, Rosberg, struggling with a brake issue, looked on course to record the best win of his career. But in the final laps Hamilton closed in and a mistake from Rosberg at Turn 1 on the last lap gave him better drive on the long run to Turn 2. Hamilton picked the outside, moving alongside Rosberg as they approached the corner. As Hamilton turned in to make the corner, Rosberg went straight on, causing a collision and damaging the German's front wing. Hamilton would pass to win the race, while Rosberg would drop to fourth in the final corners. Both drivers blamed the other, while furious team boss Toto Wolff threatened team orders in future races. The stewards blamed Rosberg for the incident, issuing him two penalty points for failing to allow "racing room" and causing a collision.[198]

In the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Rosberg entered the round with a twelve-point lead over teammate Hamilton in the World Drivers' Championship. In the final laps of the race, Hamilton defied team-orders, first from his race engineer and then by the team's technical director, and deliberately slowed to back Rosberg into the chasing pack at end of the race in a bid to encourage rivals Vettel and Verstappen to overtake his teammate, which would have allowed him to win the World Championship.[210] Pressed on whether Hamilton could face sanction or even suspension, Toto Wolff replied: "Everything is possible", although no punishment was publicly announced. Others have supported him, on the principle that "drivers are free to race". After the race, Hamilton denied that he had been guilty of any wrongdoing, saying "I don't think I did anything dangerous", "I was in the lead, so I control the pace. Those are the rules."[211][212]

Just five days later, after winning his first World Drivers' Championship, Rosberg announced his shock retirement from the sport.[213] Hamilton said he was not surprised by the announcement, and despite their strained relationship, was still saddened to see his longtime rival leave. "The sport will miss him, but I wish him all the best," Hamilton said. "This is the first time he's won in 18 years, hence why it was not a surprise that he decided to stop. But he's also got a family to focus on and probably wants to have more children. Formula One takes up so much of your time." He also lamented the end of the rivalry between the two, saying "In terms of missing the rivalry, of course because we started karting when we were 13 and we would always talk about being champions. When I joined this team, Nico was there, which was something we spoke about when we were kids. So it's going to be very, very strange, and, for sure, it will be sad to not have him in the team next year."[336]

Outside racing

Personal life

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, although Hamilton admitted on the television show Parkinson that taxation was also part of the reason for his decision.[337] He settled in Luins in Vaud canton on Lake Geneva.[338][339] 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 suggested he would like to settle after his retirement.[340]

Hamilton has reportedly had romantic interests throughout his career with a number of high profile women. 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 the Turkish and Canadian Grands Prix. [341][342] The couple split up and reunited numerous times between 2011 and 2015,[343][344] before finally splitting up in February 2015.[345] In 2018, it was widely reported that Hamilton was in a relationship with singer Nicki Minaj.[citation needed]

In 2017, Hamilton told the BBC that had become vegan because, "As 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."[346] In 2018, Hamilton said in an interview that he gave up drinking "a while ago".[347]

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.[348] In 2018, it was reported that Hamilton had a net-worth of around £131 million.[349] Hamilton owns a red and black Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet, registered G-LCDH.[350], which he bought in 2013.[351][352] Hamilton owns two unrestored 1967 AC Cobras, one black and one red,[353][354] and in February 2015, it was reported that Hamilton had purchased a Ferrari LaFerrari from "his rivals in Maranello."[355]

Hamilton also has interests in music, saying "Music 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'[356] although Hamilton has not confirmed this is true.[357] Hamilton is a fan of art, and has said that one of his favourite artists is Andy Warhol.[358] 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.[359]

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.[360][361] 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.[362][363][364]

Tax avoidance

Hamilton was one of several figures whose tax arrangements were singled out for criticism in a report by the social-justice[365] charity Christian Aid in 2008.[366][367][368][369] The same year, Hamilton received public criticism from UK Members of Parliament for avoiding UK taxes.[370]

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.[371] 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.[371] The BBC also said that Hamilton's social media accounts provide evidence that he has used his jet for holidays and other personal trips.[371]

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.[372] 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.[373]

In 2017, Hamilton announced that he was running a competition for his fans to design his 2017 helmet.[374] 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.[375] 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.[376]

Hamilton's helmet design changed to a predominately 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 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."[377] 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.[378] Hamilton sported a gold coloured helmet at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after winning his fourth title in Mexico, represented by four stars adorning the top of the helmet with the words "World Champion".[379]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
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
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 20 10 10 3 16 383* 1st

* 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

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

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 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 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 1st 383*

* 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

[380][381][382]

Mercedes

Individual

Orders

Records

Hamilton holds the following records in Formula One:

Record Date first achieved Current Record
Youngest driver to lead the World Championship[415] 2007 Spanish Grand Prix 22 years, 126 days
Most points in a debut season[416] 2007 109
Most points in a season without winning the World Championship 2016 380
Most career points[417] 2016 Austrian Grand Prix 2,993
Most pole positions 2017 Italian Grand Prix 82
Most pole positions in a debut season[418] 2007 6
Pole positions at most different Grands Prix[419] 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 24
Pole positions at most different circuits[420] 2018 French Grand Prix 27
Wins at most different Grands Prix[421] 2018 French Grand Prix 23
Most wins in a debut season[422] 2007[N 1] 4
Most wins in one calendar month[423] 2016 Austrian Grand Prix – 2016 German Grand Prix 4 (July 2016)
Wins at most different circuits[424] 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix 26
Most wins in a season without winning the World Championship 2016 10
Most wins from pole position[425] 2017 United States Grand Prix 46
Most consecutive podium finishes from debut[426] 2007 Australian Grand Prix – 2007 British Grand Prix 9
Most consecutive seasons with a win from debut season[427] 20072018 12
Most consecutive seasons with a pole from debut season[428] 20072018 12
Most consecutive races with at least one lap in the lead[429] 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix – 2015 British Grand Prix 18
Most consecutive race starts 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix 228
Most consecutive race finishes[430] 2016 Japanese Grand Prix – 2018 French Grand Prix[N 2] 33
Most consecutive points finishes[431] 2016 Japanese Grand Prix – 2018 French Grand Prix 33
Most podium finishes in a season 2015, 2016[N 3] 17
Most races with a single engine manufacturer 2017 Monaco Grand Prix 228
Most grand slams in a season[432] 2017 British Grand Prix[N 4] 3
Most front row starts[433] 2017 United States Grand Prix 131
Footnotes
  1. ^ Record shared with Jacques Villeneuve.
  2. ^ Record shared with Nick Heidfeld.
  3. ^ Record shared with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher although Schumacher did so with fewer total races in the season (2002).
  4. ^ Record shared with Alberto Ascari in 1952, Jim Clark in 1963 and 1965, Nigel Mansell in 1992.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ (excluding those in the first ever World Championship round)

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 26 June 2008.
  3. ^ "Hamilton to keep 44 as car number". GP Update. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  4. ^ Parkes, Ian (20 May 2015). "Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes announce three-year new F1 deal". Autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b Wolff, Alexander (12 June 2007). "Better Than Sex". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Being F1's first black driver is important". www.lewishamilton.com. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  7. ^ Duffy, Michael (1 July 2007). "MY BOY RACER". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2007.
  8. ^ Matt Dickinson (3 November 2008). "Lewis Hamilton admits: 'I just don't know how I kept my cool'". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009.
  9. ^ English, Steven (16 February 2011). "Hamilton's brother to race in Clio Cup". Autosport. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  10. ^ "Lewis Hamilton Biography – Trivia". The Biography Channel. London: thebiographychannel.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  11. ^ Cary, Tom (3 March 2010). "Anthony Hamilton's massive support makes parting with Lewis easier to understand". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d "Who's Who: Lewis Hamilton". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
  13. ^ "20 things you don't know about Lewis Hamilton". Nuts. 22 June 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d Owen, Oliver (3 June 2007). "The real deal". The Observer. London. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  15. ^ Callow, James (14 March 2011). "Lewis Hamilton signs with Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Lewis Hamilton fact file". BBC Southern Counties. BBC. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Arsenal fan Lewis Hamilton is backing Gunners all the way". Daily Mirror. 16 February 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  18. ^ Hamilton, Lewis (2007). Lewis Hamilton: My Story. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-727005-7.
  19. ^ Davies, Gareth A (5 July 2007). "A salute to the real Lewis Hamilton". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  20. ^ Lewis Hamilton relishing reunion with old unicycle rival Nico Rosberg, The Guardian, 15 March 2013
  21. ^ a b "Hamilton's kart sells for £42,100". BBC News. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  22. ^ Hamilton, Lewis (1 November 2007). "1st Time in a Kart Felt So Natural". The Sun. London. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2007.
  23. ^ Nottage, Jane; Rae, Richard (17 June 2007). "Teams target the next generation of stars". The Times. London. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  24. ^ Westcott, Kathryn (9 July 2012). "The curious world of long-term bets". BBC News.
  25. ^ "Schumacher Tips Hamilton for Future Glory". AtlasF1. 28 October 2001. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  26. ^ "Lewis Hamilton Biography". Vodafone McLaren Mercedes official website. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  27. ^ "When Hamilton raced Schumacher". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
  28. ^ Thomas, Stella-Maria; Waite, Lynne (10 October 2003). "Brands Hatch round 23 race report". Motorsport.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 5 July 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 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