- "Hamilton" redirects here. For other uses, see Hamilton (disambiguation).
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton (born 7 January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom) is a British racing driver who currently drives in Formula One for the Mercedes team, having driven for McLaren from 2007 to 2012. He is a two-time Formula One World Drivers' Champion, taking the title in 2008 with McLaren and in 2014 with Mercedes.
He was quite successful in kart racing, securing a Formula One contract at a very young age after being entered into the McLaren development program. He was the youngest driver to win the Formula One World Championship at the age of 23 years and 300 days, a record that has since then been broken by Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton is often labelled as the first 'black' Formula One racing driver. In 2008, he was racially, verbally attacked by fans in Spain and a website. This led to the Race Against Racism campaign, launched by the FIA.
Throughout his career, he has had a fair bit of visits to the stewards. At one point during his 2009 season, he considered leaving the sport after lying to the stewards about an incident during the 2009 Australian Grand Prix.
For the 2014 season, drivers were required to choose a permanent racing number. Hamilton chose 44 because that had been his number during his karting career.
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton was born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, UK to Carmen Larbalestier and Anthony Hamilton. Hamilton was named after the American runner Carl Lewis. His parents divorced when he was two years old and when raised by his mother with his half-sisters Nicola and Samantha.
When he was twelve years old, his father gained custody for Hamilton. He was raised by his father and step-mother Linda and lived with his step-brother Nicolas Hamilton. His step brother began his racing career in 2011 racing in the Renault Clio Cup.
Hamilton's father was responsible for Lewis' interest in racing, after he purchased him a remote controlled racing car. Hamilton took entered this car in many competitions in 1991, winning some against adult competitors.
Before Formula One
In 1993, Hamilton began his racing career racing karts in the Cadet class championship. He first met the McLaren team boss, Ron Dennis at the age of ten when Hamilton asked him for an autograph. Dennis called Hamilton after he had won the Super One series championship and signed him to the McLaren development program. This program was a contract that promised Hamilton a seat with the McLaren Formula One team at a later date, which made Hamilton to the youngest driver to secure a Formula One contract.
Hamilton advanced through the different ranks of karts and eventually joined the TeamMBM.com karting team in 2000, where he was partnered with Nico Rosberg. In 2001, Michael Schumacher made a special appearance in kart racing and raced against Hamilton.
"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
In 2004, Hamilton was signed with the Formula Three team Manor Motorsport. He returned the sport again the following year with ASM Formule 3, managing to win 75% of his races that season and winning the championship.
Because of his success in Formula Three, ART Grand Prix signed him for the 2006 in GP2. He was dominant and won the season. In late September of 2006, he was signed with the McLaren Formula One team as the secondary driver.
Hamilton was offered a position on McLaren for the 2007 season, racing alongside the defending World Champion, Fernando Alonso. Hamilton became a piece of history during his first Formula One race at the Australian Grand Prix, as he finished on the podium (3rd position) and became the thirteenth driver to finish on the podium in their début.
Hamilton then placed second in the following four grand prix events, taking the lead in the World Championship and becoming the youngest driver to lead the World Championship.
Later in the season, he was in a terrible accident while qualifying for the European Grand Prix. He was later released from the medical centre and cleared to race. During the race, the weather conditions escalated and Hamilton slid off of the track and into a gravel trap. He was lifted from the trap with a crane and placed on the track to rejoin the race. He was the only driver to rejoin the race after receiving mechanical assistance before the FIA banned this action. The race was later stopped because the conditions were too severe, meaning Hamilton would finish in 9th position. This was the first time that he was not on the podium since joining Formula One.
Hamilton faced his first race retirement during the Chinese Grand Prix after skidding off the track and into a gravel trap on lap 30. Now unable to receive mechanical assistance, he was stuck in the trap.
Hamilton was unable to win the World Championship, finishing only one point behind Kimi Räikkönen.
During pre-season testing in the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the upcoming season, Hamilton was verbally abused by Spanish spectators wearing black wigs, face-paint and t-shirts. In response to these attacks, the FIA began the "Race Against Racism" campaign. The attacks originated because of Hamilton's rivalry with his previous teammate, Fernando Alonso.
"In 2008 we cannot have these kind of people in our world. It's not only formula one, not only sport, it's normal life as well." - Fernando Alonso
At the start of the 2008 season, Hamilton signed a five year multi-million pound contract with McLaren. His teammate for the season would be Heikki Kovalainen after leaving Renault at the end of the 2007 season.
Hamilton was off to a great start of the season after gaining the pole position and winning the Australian Grand Prix. He regained the lead of the World Championship standings after winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
He later gained the most meaningful win of his career in the British Grand Prix under poor weather conditions.
"It is by far the best victory I've ever had. The conditions were bad and as I was driving I thought, 'If I win this, it will be the best race I've ever done'. On my last lap, I could see the crowd starting to rise to their feet, and I was just praying, praying, praying I could get the car round. I want to dedicate this to my family because we all know I've had some troubles of late, so this is for them." - Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix. He would later loose this victory after the FIA penalized him for cutting a chicane to avoid hitting Räikkönen. He was handed a 25 second penalty and dropped down to third position.
Hamilton won the World Championship in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton required a 5th place finish in the race to win the Championship. It looked as though he was not going to complete his goal, as he was in 7th position on the final lap, but he managed to make a double pass on the final corner and become the youngest World Champion. He grabbed the Championship only one point above Felipe Massa.
It seemed like Hamilton would have a poor start to the 2009 season when he started from 18th position on the grid because the team decided to change gearboxes during the qualification session. He had better luck in the race, finishing 3rd after Jarno Trulli received a penalty for passing Hamilton while the safety car was on the track. During the stewards' hearing for Trulli's penalty, Hamilton and McLaren told the FIA that they did not allow Trulli to pass, but a later investigation proved the opposite. Hamilton was then disqualified from the 2009 Australian Grand Prix and lost his 3rd position.
According to Hamilton, this was the "hardest week of his life" and he had considered leaving Formula One. To prevent Hamilton from leaving the sport, McLaren's sporting director, Dave Ryan was forced to take full blame for the incident.
The rest of the season was poor, as McLaren attempted to catch up to the rest of the teams' technologically. Hamilton would then suffer his first mechanical retirement in his Formula One career during the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He managed to finish 5th in the World Championship, a weaker finish than his previous seasons.
The 2010 season was followed by frequent visits to the stewards for warnings. He first visited the stewards after the Malaysian Grand Prix, after weaving down a straight to prevent Vitaly Petrov from using the slipstream to gain time on Hamilton. He again visited the stewards in China after he was involved in a pit accident with Sebastian Vettel, but he managed to keep his 2nd place finish.
Hamilton was reprimanded and his team fined during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix when he was forced to stop his car on the track because of a lack of fuel. He went on to win the race and earn McLaren their third 1-2 finish of the season.
Drama sparked in the European Grand Prix between his ex-teammate, Fernando Alonso. Alonso accused Hamilton of not following the safety car to gain time. This lead to a drive-through penalty for Hamilton after a lengthy investigation. Ferrari as still angry because they claimed that the penalty did not alter the race results. The pair later made up:
"We are in touch – he has my number and I have his number. I just messaged him to see how he was doing and he said everything's cool. He knows how the racing world works, and this is a tough year." - Lewis Hamilton
During a press conference, Hamilton received some negative attention after calling Red Bull "just a drinks company":
"I am 100 per cent certain that neither McLaren nor Ferrari will ever let that happen. They have not been there as long as our teams. Our teams have got status they would like to keep.
For many, many years it has been McLaren and Ferrari at the front and now we have got a new team that has come and knocked us off the top. But I am really certain that either team will do absolutely everything in their power to make sure they can remain at the top.
Red Bull are not a manufacturer, they are a drinks company. It's a drinks company versus McLaren/Ferrari history. I don't know what their plan is. Our team is building to become a bigger manufacturer, like Ferrari, and I can only see our team being there for a ridiculous amount of time. It is a pure-bred racing team." - Lewis Hamilton
He was punished by the stewards multiple times during the season. He felt that he was being attacked by the FIA:
"It's an absolute frickin' joke. I've been to see the stewards five times out of six this season." - Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton was involved in the dramatic Monaco Grand Prix. He bumped Felipe Massa in the hotel hairpin and received a 20 second penalty, but was later crashed by Jaime Alguersuari. His car would have been damaged out of the race, but a red flag for another accident allowed the team to repair the damaged rear wing.
Tempers flared after his teammate, Jenson Button bumped him into the pit wall while defending his position. The pair later made up.
There would be more drama after Hamilton wrecked Felipe Massa in the Singapore Grand Prix. Massa stated that Hamilton was "incapable of using his brain". Hamilton later told Massa to leave him alone. He tangled again with Massa in the Japanese Grand Prix that year where he told the press that Massa needed to "grow up" and insulted the Brazilian's career. This feud continued for the duration of the season, until the final race of the season in Brazil where the pair hugged during the post-race conference.
"I was pleased that Lewis came around to see me. It was a very nice gesture on his part." - Felipe Massa
Hamilton continued his McLaren career alongside Jenson Button. The 2012 season was off to a great start, after Hamilton qualified for pole position for the first race of the season in Australia. However, he was unable to win the race and finished the race in 3rd position. The same thing happened in the following race at Malaysia, gaining pole and 3rd place finish.
Hamilton finished 3rd once again in the next race at China, making this his third consecutive third place finish. This streak came to an end in the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, when Hamilton finished in 8th position after suffering from many poor pitstops. There was controversy after Hamilton was forced off of the track while attempting to overtake Nico Rosberg. No penalty was given to either driver and Rosberg won the Grand Prix.
Hamilton had qualified in pole position for the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, but was forced to stop track-side because of low fuel. After this incident had occurred during the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix qualifying, the FIA had introduced a new rule banned this. Hamilton was then excluded from the qualifying results and forced to start for P24 on the grid. Despite this set back, he still managed to finish inside the points positions.
After the drama in Monaco this previous season, it was important for Hamilton to had a clean and high finishing race. He succeeded in doing so, finishing the event in 5th position.
His first victory of the season came in the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix, after he took the lead from Fernando Alonso with only 6 laps remaining. He snatched he second win of the season in the Hungarian Grand Prix, with pole position and the win.
In the following race at Belgium, Hamilton and three others were involved in an accident in the first corner. After an investigation, it was determined that Romain Grosjean was the cause of the accident and was handed a one race suspension.
Following this unfortunate accident, Hamilton was gifted with his third win of the season in the following race in Italy. He was set to win another race in Singapore, but suffered a mechanical failure midway through the race.
In late September, it was announced that the 2012 season would be Hamilton's final season with McLaren, as the five year contract signed in 2008 would expire at the end of the season. Mclaren would not be renewing the contract. Shortly after this announcement, Hamilton signed a three-year contract with Mercedes, starting for the 2013 season. He would be replacing the legendary Michael Schumacher who was retiring once again from the sport.
Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix and gained a pole position for the final race of the season in Brazil. He was involved in an accident during the closing laps for the race and was forced to retire, putting him into 4th position for the drivers' championship.
The season began average for Hamilton, managing to earn and fifth position and two third positions in the first three races of the season. On the third race of the season, in China Hamilton earned his first pole position with team Mercedes.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, teams Red Bull and Ferrari filed a complaint with the FIA. They claimed that Mercedes had participated in an illegal tyre test. The FIA didn't penalize the drivers or team, but did warn the team about breaking the regulations.
Hamilton finished the season in 4th position in the Drivers' Championship, finishing two positions above his teammate who finished 6th. The combined effort of Hamilton and Rosberg placed Mercedes in 2nd position for the Constructors' Championship, this being the teams highest finish since their return to the sport.
With the return of the V6 Turbocharged engines, all of the teams taking part in the 2014 season were required to redesign their cars. During pre-season testing, Mercedes had the best cars and were able to put in the most miles.
For the 2014 season, drivers were also required to select a permanent number for their car. Hamilton chose number 44 because it was his number when he races karts.
For the first race of the season, Hamilton snatched the pole position and was predicted to win the race since he had the most competitive car. However, things when poorly when Hamilton lost the lead to his teammate, Nico Rosberg right off of the grid. Hamilton suffered from some engine issues and was forced to retire to the pits on lap 2, leaving his teammate to win the race.
Things improved in the next four races, winning all four of them and putting him in the lead of the World Championship.
In the final qualifying session in Monaco, his teammate Nico Rosberg spun off the track, which brought out yellow flags and stopped Hamilton from getting pole position. There was controversy over this, as many felt Rosberg spun off the track to prevent Hamilton from getting pole position.
Formula One Statistical Overview
F1 Career Record
|2006||Team McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||Test Driver|
|2007||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||109||2nd||Report|
|2008||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||98||1st||Report|
|2009||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||49||5th||Report|
|2010||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||240||4th||Report|
|2011||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||227||5th||Report|
|2012||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||190||4th||Report|
|2013||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||189||4th||Report|
|2014||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||384||1st||Report|
|2015||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||Yet to start|
Correct as of the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
|Front Row Starts||59|
|Distance Raced||40008 km (24860 mi)|
|Distance Led||8619 km (5356 mi)|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
- ↑ Race stopped after 31/56 Laps. Half points awarded
|Formula One World Drivers' Champion|
|Youngest Formula One World Champion|
24 years, 58 days
23 years, 300 days
23 years, 134 days
|V T E||Lewis Hamilton|
| Seasons |
2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017
| Season Reports |
2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017
| Teams |
McLaren (2007–2012) • Mercedes (2013–present)
| Teammates |
Fernando Alonso (2007) • Heikki Kovalainen (2008–2009) • Jenson Button (2010–2012) • Nico Rosberg (2013–2016) • Valtteri Bottas (2017-present)
| Rivalries |
Fernando Alonso • Felipe Massa • Nico Rosberg
| Other pages |
Statistics • Teammate comparison • Category
|V T E||Mercedes Grand Prix|
44. Lewis Hamilton · 77. Valtteri Bottas
Juan Manuel Fangio (1954, 1955) · Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) · Nico Rosberg (2016)
Michael Schumacher · Juan Manuel Fangio · Nico Rosberg · Hans Herrmann · Karl Kling · Stirling Moss · André Simon · Piero Taruffi · Hermann Lang
Nick Fry · Bob Bell · Aldo Costa · Toto Wolff
Norbert Haug · Alfred Neubauer · Max Sailer · Rudolf Uhlenhaut · Paddy Lowe
W196 · W01 · W02 · W03 · W04 · W05 · W06 · W07 · W08 · W09