A brief biography of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, including his career history and Formula One statistics
Lewis Hamilton has always known how to make an impression: as a ten-year-old already making a name for himself in karting, he walked up to Ron Dennis at an awards ceremony and informed the startled McLaren team boss that he wanted to drive for him one day. And sure enough that's exactly what happened, although there was the small matter first of completing a season in Formula Renault 2000 UK followed by title-winning campaigns in Formula Renault 2.0 UK in 2003 and Formula 3 Euro Series in 2005.
That gave Hamilton the chance of a GP2 race seat the following year - and he promptly won that title, too, with some eye-catching drives along the way. That convinced Dennis to make his young protégé's childhood dream come true with a Formula One race seat in 2007. Once again Hamilton was quick to make a strong impression with some fearless launches off the starting grid. He picked up four wins in his maiden season and finished second in the championship ahead of his team mate, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who didn't at all care for being upstaged by a rookie. It was a title that slipped through McLaren’s grasp as outsider Kimi Raikkonen pipped both at the final round.
When Alonso left the team at the end of the year, Hamilton - in only his second season in the sport - stepped up as team leader and duly clinched the 2008 world championship by one point from Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Unfortunately, with new regulations in 2009, McLaren's fortunes were on the wane, and although he continued to win two or three races every season Hamilton found himself further and further away from his ambition of a second title. Determined to break away from his image as a 'McLaren company man', Hamilton made the shock decision to move to the midfield Mercedes team for the 2013 season.
Many observers thought he'd made a mistake, but Hamilton proved to have astute judgement. Mercedes soon hit its stride and became the dominant force in Formula One, and Hamilton went on to claim his second championship title in 2014 followed by a third in 2015, despite strong competition from his team mate Nico Rosberg which quickly developed into a bitter feud. So far Hamilton has thrived from the conflict and proved himself a hard-headed campaigner who simply refuses to be beaten.