At the age of ten Hamilton approached the McLaren team principal, Ron Dennis, at the 1995 Autosport Awards ceremony and told him "I want to race for you one day." Less than three years later, he was signed by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he became a McLaren F1 driver for 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis. Coming from a mixed-race background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is often labelled "the first black driver in Formula One".
Hertfordshire is an English county forged in the Norse–Saxon wars of the ninth century and developed through commerce serving London. It is a land-locked county in the heart of England, well-protected from invasion, though it certainly saw battles during the various English and British civil wars, and action in its skies during the two world wars. Nowadays, with a population slightly over 1 million, it retains much of its historic character, but its industry and commerce have changed radically.
Although Hertfordshire is numbered among the historic counties of England, it was not created until the early tenth century. Since then, its development has been intimately tied with that of London, which lies on its southern border. London is easily the largest city in Western Europe; it requires an enormous tonnage of supplies each day and Hertfordshire grew wealthy on the proceeds of trade because no less than three of the old Roman roads serving the capital run through it, as do the Grand Union Canal and other watercourses.
This map depicts the locations of the major settlements within Hertfordshire. The line surrounding the lighter area shows the county's boundaries. The inner lines show the boundaries of the county's ten areas of local government. Grey areas depict areas of urban development.
According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, thirty settlements in Hertfordshire had a population of at least 5,000. These include Hertford, the county town, Watford, the most populous settlement, and St Alban's, the only city. Three settlements with populations of over 10,000 have been omitted from this map; Bushey, Croxley Green and Abbots Langley are situated to the immediate south, west and north of Watford respectively.