Date of birth: 07/01/1985
First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2007
2012 points: 190
2012 best finish: 1st (x4)
2012 position: 4th
Like him or loathe him – and there are plenty in both camps – Hamilton is pure Formula 1 box office. From his very first season on the track, when he came within a whisker of usurping team-mate and increasingly bitter rival Fernando Alonso in the 2007 world championship, there has always been something of the high drama about the young man from Stevenage.
Almost pathologically single-minded, Hamilton was a breath of fresh air to the sport in his debut season five years ago. His daring and rapacious self-confidence made him, as he still is today, one of the most thrilling drivers to watch in the entire paddock.
As it happened, Hamilton needed two seasons to fully realise his potential and become a world champion. While he’d missed out by just a solitary point the first time round, a year later in 2008 he squeaked home by the same margin thanks to a breathtaking move past Timo Glock on the last lap in the last race of the season. The man has an eye for theatre alright.
The dramatics have, however, caused almost as many problems as they’ve provided successes. His well-documented aggro with Fernando Alonso, the tempestuous relationship with McLaren and a reputation for unnecessary risk-taking fill in the gaps of a volatile career thus far.
2013, then, represents something of a fresh start. Having left what felt like his spiritual home in McLaren behind him, he arrives at Mercedes with the sort of challenge only Hamilton could surmount.
He’s talking about a year of quiet consolidation, in other words no dramas. If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
2013 predictions: “‘At the moment, in terms of pure performance we don’t have the speed to compete for the title. I feel there is more in the car and if we set it up we can be quicker. Whether that means we can close the gap and get ahead of the others, who knows.”
Did you know?
Lewis went to the same school as Manchester United and England footballer Ashley Young but, rather mysteriously, both of them refuse to talk about each other in interviews.