Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton studio shot#44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes AMG Petronas

Date of Birth: 07/01/1985 | Nationality: British | Twitter: @LewisHamilton

Career:

Hamilton rose through the junior formula ranks rapidly, having stormed to the Formula 3 Euroseries title in 2005 and claiming the GP2 crown as a rookie in 2006. He grabbed the attention of Formula 1 by winning both GP2 races in Britain and bolstered his reputation with a comeback drive in Turkey, widely regarded as one of the greatest drives in GP2 history.

He was promoted to McLaren as a race driver for 2007, beginning his career with nine podiums - including two victories - as he claimed a shock championship lead in his rookie season. He added two more wins but his season unravelled during the final two races as he retired in China and managed only seventh in Brazil, handing the title to Kimi Raikkonen.

For 2008, Hamilton remained with McLaren but former team-mate Fernando Alonso exited the team acrimoniously. Hamilton won the opening round in Australia and also won in Monaco but he suffered a few errors that led to questions about his focus. He rebounded in perfect fashion as he dominated in the wet at home in Britain and chalked up his fourth win of the year in Germany. However, a series of six win-less races followed as he became enveloped in controversy, most notably in Belgium when he was stripped of victory for cutting a corner and gaining an advantage. He battled for the crown with Felipe Massa and emerged as the victor in dramatic fashion as he took the fifth place required on the final corner of the final lap of the season in Brazil.

But he was unable to retain his title as McLaren delivered a poor car in 2009, prohibiting Hamilton from stepping on the podium until the tenth round of the year in Hungary, which he won. He added another victory in Singapore but ended the season in fifth place in the championship.

Hamilton was joined by Jenson Button for the 2010 season and he mounted a title challenge, which was undone by two errors in Italy and Singapore. He nonetheless won three times and entered the final round in Abu Dhabi with a slim hope of a second crown.

His fortune took a downturn in 2011 as while he still won three races in fine fashion, he was undone by a series of mistakes and outspoken comments as he was overshadowed by team-mate Button. Frequent collisions with Felipe Massa and visits to the stewards room also hurt his reputation. He returned to the Hamilton of old in 2012 as he claimed four wins but was ultimately restricted by reliability issues with his MP4-27 and a litany of team errors.

For 2013, he changed teams for the first time in his career as he jumped ship from McLaren to Mercedes. Hamilton was ultimately forced to watch Sebastian Vettel claim another championship but he nonetheless impressed by claiming five pole positions and a win in Hungary as he adapted to new surroundings.