Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Name: Lewis Hamilton
Date of Birth: 7th January 1985
Place of Birth: Stevenage, England
F1 Debut: Australia 2007
For F1 fans, Lewis Hamilton pretty much came out of nowhere, but for McLaren, they had been nurturing him for the drive since Hamilton was only 8 years old. At that young age, Hamilton approached McLaren boss Ron Dennis and said he wanted to drive for them. Dennis told him to keep driving, win some races, and then they would talk. Hamilton did just that, and Dennis kept his side of the bargain as well, sponsoring the driver through the ranks of karting, Formula Renault, and Formula 3.
When Lewis moved to GP2, people began to sit up and take notice. Having won the championship of every series he entered, Lewis wasnít about to let that record slide. He won five times, but most importantly, he had spectacular race drives from the back of the grid, jumping at every opportunity to overtake and basically showing no fear.
When McLaren announced their signing of Alonso, and that Raikkonen was moving on to Ferrari, the spare seat at McLaren looked perfect for Hamilton. It would be good experience for the rookie driver to be partnered with a double world champion, who better to help improve your craft? A lot of fans and speculators said that Hamilton needed a test driver position first, for a year or two, rather than being thrust into the race seat with no F1 experience. Dennis waved a hand dismissively at these critics, because he knew the talent Hamilton had. After his debut race in Australia, the rest of the world knew that talent, as well.
Clearly an immensely talented driver, Hamilton finished on the podium for the first nine races of his F1 career, winning three of those. The issues between him and Alonso have made plenty of headlines but Hamilton is the one who will remain best friends with Ron Dennis and completely ensconced in the McLaren fold.
The British public and media have taken Hamilton to his heart. Sports stars rise to fame very quickly in the newspapers, but itís unusual for the sportsman to have continued success. Hamilton is quick to shy away from the overpowering media presence in his life, but it is what the public want to see. Britain is very proud and will support Hamilton to the very end of his career. However, that will be a long time from now, heís only just started, and what a start it was!