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Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula

One for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. A five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often
considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the
history of the sport.[note 2] He won his first World Championship title with McLaren in 2008, then
moved to Mercedes where he won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 before winning back-to-back
titles again in 2017 and 2018. The most successful British driver in the history of the sport, Hamilton has
more World Championship titles (5) and more race victories (79) than any other British driver in Formula
One. He also holds records for the all-time most career points (3,215), the most wins at different circuits
(26), the all-time most pole positions (86) and the most grand slams in a season (3).[note 3]

Born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Hamilton's interest in racing started when his father
bought him a radio-controlled car when he was six. He was signed to McLaren's young driver support
programme in 1998, after he approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at an awards ceremony
three years earlier and said "one day I want to be racing your cars". After winning the British Formula
Renault, Formula 3 Euro Series, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he made
his Formula One debut twelve years after his initial encounter with Dennis, driving for McLaren in 2007.
Coming from a mixed background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is the first and only
black driver to race in Formula One.[note 4]

In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records as he finished runner-up in the 2007
season to Kimi Räikkönen by just one point, including those for the most consecutive podium finishes
from debut (9), the joint most wins in a debut season (4) and the most points in a debut season (109).
The following season, he won his first title in dramatic fashion; on the last corner of the last lap in the
last race of the season, becoming the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history. After four
more years with McLaren without finishing higher than fourth in the drivers' standings, Hamilton signed
with Mercedes in 2013, reuniting with his childhood karting teammate, Nico Rosberg. In his first season,
he finished 4th once again, the third time in five years.

Changes to regulations mandating the use of turbo-hybrid engines contributed to the start of a highly
successful era for Hamilton and Mercedes, during which he has won a further four World Championship
titles. Hamilton won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 during an intense and sometimes volatile rivalry
with teammate Nico Rosberg, to match his hero Ayrton Senna's three World Championships. Following
Rosberg's retirement, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton's closest rival as the pair engaged in
two intense championship battles, but Hamilton prevailed to claim consecutive titles for the second
time in his career in 2017 and 2018, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as drivers with
five or more World Championship titles.

Early life
Hamilton was born on 7 January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England.[2] Hamilton's mother,
Carmen (Larbalestier), is white British, while his father, Anthony Hamilton, is black British, making him
mixed-race;[6] he self-identifies as black.[7] Lewis's parents separated when he was two; as a result of
this, he lived with his mother and half-sisters[8] until he was twelve, when he started living with his
father, stepmother Linda and half-brother Nicolas, also a professional racing driver, who has cerebral
palsy.[9] Hamilton was raised a Roman Catholic.[10]

Anthony Hamilton, Lewis' father and then-manager, celebrating with his son after the 2008 Brazilian
Grand Prix.[11]

Anthony Hamilton, Lewis' father and then-manager, celebrating with his son after the 2008 Brazilian
Grand Prix.[11]

Hamilton's father bought him a radio-controlled car in 1991, which gave him his first taste of racing
competition before finishing second in the national BRCA championship the following year. He said of
the time: "I was racing these remote-controlled cars and winning club championships against
adults".[12] His father bought him a go-kart for Christmas when Hamilton was six[13] and promised to
support his racing career as long as he worked hard at school. To support his son, Anthony took
redundancy from his position as an information technology manager and became a contractor;
sometimes working up to three jobs at a time, while still attending all his son's races. Anthony later set
up his own computer company, still managing Lewis.[14] Hamilton ended his working relationship with
his father in early 2010.[15]

Lewis Hamilton was educated at The John Henry Newman School, a voluntary aided Catholic secondary
school in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.[16] In addition to racing, he played association football for his school
team with eventual England international Ashley Young.[14] Hamilton, an Arsenal fan, said that if
Formula One had not worked for him he would have been a footballer[17] or a cricketer, having played
both for his school teams. In February 2001 he began studies at Cambridge Arts and Sciences (CATS), a
private sixth-form college in Cambridge.[18] At the age of five Hamilton took up karate to defend
himself as a result of bullying at school;[19] later, he learned to ride a unicycle, as part of his karting
rivalry with future Formula One Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, who could already ride one.[20]

Early career

1993–2000: Karting

Hamilton began karting in 1993, when he was eight,[21] at the Rye House Kart Circuit[22] and quickly
began winning races and Cadet class championships. Two years later, he approached McLaren Formula
One team boss Ron Dennis for an autograph, and told him, "Hi. I'm Lewis Hamilton. I won the British
Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars." Dennis wrote in his autograph book, "Phone
me in nine years, we'll sort something out then." Hamilton drove for Martin Hines's Zip Young Guns
Karting Team.[23] By the age of 12, his driving skill was high enough that Ladbrokes took a bet, at 40/1
odds, that Hamilton would win a Formula One Grand Prix race before the age of 23; another predicted,
at 150/1 odds, that he would win the World Drivers' Championship before he was 25.[24] He progressed
through to Junior Yamaha in 1997, and in 1998, Dennis called Hamilton after he won an additional Super
One series and his second British championship.[12] Dennis delivered on his promise and signed
Hamilton to the McLaren driver development program.[6] This contract included an option of a future
Formula One seat, which would eventually make Hamilton the youngest ever driver to secure a contract
which later resulted in a Formula One drive.[21]

"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, speaking about Hamilton in 2001.[25]