Five-time Formula One World Champion
Lewis Hamilton MBE is a five-time Formula One World Champion and Britain’s most successful F1 driver in history. Currently racing for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport he is already recognised as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
The son of an English mother and a father with Grenadian heritage who separated when he was two, he shared a childhood many kids could relate to – he struggled with dyslexia and wasn’t sure where he belonged. He started racing go-karts at eight as a way to spend time with his dad and was hooked immediately, climbing the career ladder at an unprecedented rate. Lewis had found his place.
But Lewis’s roots and upbringing weren’t typical of F1. In the gilded paddocks of a sport that is usually the reserve of the rich, his father held down as many as three jobs at a time, keeping his promise to support his son’s racing career as long as he worked hard at school. As he rose through the ranks Lewis had to learn to embrace his role as an outsider, ignoring the doubters and breaking down every barrier that society or the elitist world F1 put in front of him.
Such was his self-belief that a ten year old Lewis approached McLaren F1 boss Ron Dennis and said
"Hi. I'm Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars." To which Dennis replied: "Phone me in nine years, we'll sort something out then." Just three years later Hamilton was signed to McLaren’s Young Driver Development programme.
After blowing the competition off the grid in Formula 3 Euro Series, he progressed to the GP2 Series. It was here that his ability to fearlessly rise to every challenge which made McLaren Mercedes sit up and take note, giving him his promotion to the big time: Formula 1, the pinnacle of motor racing. Lewis made his Formula 1 debut aged just 22. In 2007 he became the youngest World Championship leader during his rookie season, eventually finishing runner up by just a single point. The following 2008 season Lewis claimed the crown on the very last corner of the last race of the season, becoming the youngest and first black driver to win the World Champion the sport has ever seen.
In 2013 he moved to Mercedes AMG F1 and alongside his 1,200 teammates returned the Silver Arrows to the top of the podium with his second and third World Championships in 2014 and 2015, equalling the record set by his childhood hero, the great Ayrton Senna. Still carrying the sense that all his success and sacrifices could be snatched away from him at any moment, Lewis remained focused on winning perfection. He went on to secure two more world titles in 2017 and 2018, joining the great Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to have five or more world championship titles. The most successful British driver in the history of the sport, over the course of the 239 races he has contested Lewis has secured 80 wins, 43 fastest laps holds records for the all-time most career points (3,241), the most wins at different circuits (26), the all-time most pole positions (86).
His approach off the track is just as positive and fearless, constantly challenging himself to grow and drawing inspiration from new places. He has taken his grounding in technical excellence and data-led performance from Formula One into other passions, such co-designing a series of motorbikes with super-bike manufacturer MV Agusta and helping develop the gameplay design for Gran Turismo Sport. With engineering being such an important part of his life from a young age he is hugely inspired by tech innovation, which he explores through his partnerships with Mercedes Benz, Bose and Play Station and as Vodafone’s 5G ambassador.
He has a love for creativity and in his spare time has become a student of fashion. Using his role as a brand ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger and Police to design his own lines and has become a much sought after front row attendee at the world’s leading fashion shows. Lewis has also loved music since a young age, playing both the piano and guitar, and is an extreme sports fan, holding a sky diving license and regularly surfing during the off season break.
His willingness to embrace what makes him different has defined his values and outlook on life, and in 2016 the fearlessness, inspiration and positivity that drive saw him win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and recognized by TIME Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ list. A true digital native, Lewis is the most followed and engaged racing driver in the world. He has loyal global fanbase, #TeamLH, and his channels have over 24 million followers, including more than a million fans on Chinese microblogging platform, Sina Weibo. Lewis often shares glimpses into his home life or putting in the hours at the factory analysing the latest data, giving his fans a taste of the sacrifice and hard work that goes in to each and every success he has on the track.
Looking to the future, Lewis sees himself relentlessly chasing perfection on track, but knows at some point he will need to look beyond F1. His against-the-odds rise to the top of F1 has made Lewis fiercely committed to help youths unleash their potential, wherever it lies and no matter their background – to help them to embrace their difference.