Previous F1 Teams:
- 2007 - 2009 McLaren
Lewis's climb to Formula 1 was fairy-tale like. From a modest family in England, with a white mother and a black father, Lewis began racing go-karts at age 8. He won the McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series and at age 10 he met Ron Dennis, the owner and director of the McLaren Formula 1 team and told him he wanted to race in F1. At 13 years old McLaren signed Lewis up with the McLaren young driver program and the team supported his career through karting and car racing, taking him on as a full-time F1 driver starting with the 2007 season.
His Career Thus Far:
Lewis's pre-F1 career was one of the most convincing of the recent crop of young drivers. He won several karting series, including the European Formula A championship in 2000. After a year of learning in Formula Renault, he won the 2003 British Formula Renault championship with 10 victories and 11 pole positions. After a year of learning in the F3 Euroseries, he won that series in 2005 with 15 victories and 13 pole positions. In 2006 he did not even need a year of learning to win the title in his rookie year in the GP2 series, an F1 support race series.
Hamilton: The F1 Rookie Phenomenon:
Lewis did not disappoint in his first year in F1 either. In fact, he finished third in his first race and then proceeded to smash the 40-year-old rookie record of two consecutive podiums at the start of a season. Lewis scored nine podiums in his first nine races and he won two of those races. In total, he won four races in 2007 and he finished the championship in second place, one point behind Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari. Lewis's first year was the best by any rookie in the sport, and it was not until errors in his last two races that cost him the title that he finally looked human after all.
During his GP2 season, F1 people first saw the best of Lewis's driving style as he proved to be not only lightning fast, but also a gutsy driver of the old fashioned style. His passing move driving around the outside of two other drivers during the second race at Silverstone in England was a breathtaking maneuver that no one who saw will forget. He started eighth and won the race. This style was to continue in his first F1 season.
Lewis is a personable, level-headed driver who has shown in apprenticeship years that he can stand up to the toughest situations both on track and off without losing his head. Yet before he joined F1 in 2007 as teammate to the double world champion, Fernando Alonso, specialists were divided as to whether his character would stand up to the job of racing with the greatest young driver in F1. In the end, the drivers finished level on points.
In his first year in the sport, Lewis proved that had the necessary strength of character up to a point. After squandering a 17-point lead in the series two races before the end, he still had to prove he could go all the way in F1. But in 2008, he proved that by becoming the youngest ever world champion and winning that title in the last race of the season.