Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton (born in Stevenage, January 7, 1985) is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the McLaren Mercedes team and the youngest ever Formula One World Champion.
Hamilton was named after the American sprinter Carl Lewis. At the age of ten, he approached McLaren team principal, Ron Dennis, at an awards ceremony and told him “I want to race for you one day”; less than three years later, he was signed by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, European Formula Three and GP2 championship, he became a McLaren F1 driver for 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis. Coming from a mixed-race background, with a black father and white mother,Hamilton is often labelled “the first black driver in Formula One”.
The guy is just fast; not just fast, but really really fast. Hamilton won the first race of the 2008 season, the Australian Grand Prix, having qualified on pole. In the second race of the season, the Malaysian Grand Prix, he finished fifth after long duels with both Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli. He had been demoted to ninth on the grid, having qualified fourth, for impeding Heidfeld’s flying lap. The third race of the year, the Bahrain Grand Prix did not start well for Hamilton as he had a crash in practice which destroyed his car. He raced with a spare chassis, and took third in qualifying. In the race, after getting off to a bad start and crashing into the back of Alonso’s Renault, he finished 13th, leading to him being overtaken in the drivers Championship by Kimi Räikkönen and Nick Heidfeld.
He got back on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, finishing third from fifth on the grid.
At 23 he is the youngest Formula One racing world champion ever, and boyfriend to Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger; he has set himself up for what may be record-breaking earnings by way of championships and endorsements, potentially to exceed $1 billion.
Not bad for someone who wasn’t even eligible for a driver’s license until a few years ago. Even the champ describes his accomplishments as a “fairy-tale story.”