As a four-time champion, Lewis Hamilton is the most successful British driver in the history of Formula 1. Hamilton also holds many records in the competition: most consecutive podium finishes from debut (9), most wins in debut season (4), most pole positions in debut season (6), most points in debut season (109) and was youngest driver to lead the World Championship. The most recent record is for the biggest number of pole positions in a history of Formula One (72).
Lewis Hamilton celebrated F1 World Championship title four times
Destined to be a champion
He was born on January 7, 1985 in Stevenage, and from an early age he knew he would be a racing driver. Specifically, there is an anecdote according to which Hamilton approached McLaren boss Ron Dennis as a ten years old boy, telling him that he want to race for him one day. Just three years later Hamilton was a part of McLaren-Mercedes development program.
Lewis Hamilton driving McLaren at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009
Formula Renault, Formula 3 and GP2 Series champion
Hamilton's career rise was fast. He won the titles in the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries and GP2, and in 2007 finally made his debut in Formula 1.
The contract he had with the McLaren driver development program made him the youngest ever driver to secure a place in Formula 1.
Immediate success in Formula 1
Hamilton immediately drew attention in his debut season in Formula 1 by winning second place in the overall standings with only one point less than champion Kimi Raikkonen. In the following year he managed to climb to the throne with five wins and 10 podium places.
After a few years of controversy with team principal Ron Dennis, he left McLaren and in 2013 he signed multiyear contract with Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton celebrating second title with Mercedes
Three championship titles with Mercedes
After a few years of ups and downs, Hamilton made a new step forward in his career. In the first season with Mercedes he was fourth in overall standings, but in 2014 he won his second Championship title after a big battle with his teammate Nico Rosberg.
Lewis Hamilton defended the title in 2015 easily, winning 10 races, one less than in the previous season, and again beating Nico Rosberg, this time by a margin of 59 points.
However, he couldn't win the title for the third in a row. After very tight battle with his teammate, Lewis had to hand the crown to Rosberg, losing by only five points.
The fourth title came in 2017, two races before the end of the season. During the season, Lewis broke Michael Schumacher's record of most pole positions.
Video - Lewis Hamilton onboard Singapore GP 2015 pole lap
In the center of the tabloids attention
Hamilton's private life also attracts much publicity. He has been the target of criticism in his homeland when moved to Switzerland in 2007 and few years later in Monaco. He is often the target of tabloids which were interested in his turbulent relationship with famous singer Nicole Scherzinger or his accident before the Brazilian Grand Prix when he crashed his Pagani Zonda in Monaco.
Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger
Hamilton was awarded an MBE by the Queen in the 2009 New Year Honours and was nominated for the Laureus award a couple of times.