Lewis Hamilton: The Story So Far

Published on 1 October 2023 at 13:00

Hamilton has had one of the most decorated careers out of any driver in Formula 1 history. The 38-year-old has won seven world championships, had 103 race wins and 104 pole positions. The statistics say that he is the greatest driver of all time. Lets go through his remarkable Formula 1 journey.


Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (Image Credit: Mark Peterson ATPImages/Getty Images)


Starting Formula 1 with McLaren


Hamilton had always been part of the McLaren Driver Academy from a young age. After impressing during the 2006 Formula 2 Championship, he would get the call up to driver for McLaren in the 2007 season alongside two-time and reigning world champion Fernando Alonso.


During his opening nine races, Hamilton would achieve podium finishes in every single round, achieving his first Formula 1 win at the Canadian Grand Prix along with another win at the United States Grand Prix the following round.


The rookie would also achieve race victories in Hungary and Japan. However, his title dream shattered with a 'rookie error', veering off into the gravel whilst going into the pitlane at the penultimate round in Shanghai.


That mistake would cost Hamilton the world championship on his debut season, that would be won by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. However, he still finished second in the championship on 99 points, equalling his teammate Alonso's point in his rookie season.


Later on, McLaren would be ended up disqualified from the 2007 season, being stripped of all of their points and being fined $100 million for the Ferrari industrial espionage scandal.


Winning his first world championship


McLaren came back with vengeance, as Hamilton would start the season off strongly with a win at the opening round in Melbourne. The Briton would go on to win his first world championship in only his second season in Formula 1.


The McLaren driver would go on to win five races that year and have a fearsome battle with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, which would have some controversial stages.


Massa was leading the race a the Singapore Grand Prix. However, an error at the pitstop lead to the Brazilian sliding out of the points due to the fuel pump still being stuck to the car. 


During the final round of the championship at Interlagos, Massa would go on to comfortably win his home race, hoping that Hamilton could finish sixth or below. However, a slow-moving Timo Glock at the last sector on the final lap resulted in Hamilton taking fifth place and winning his first-ever world championship.


A shadow behind Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel


The start of the 2010 season would be the start of dominance for Red Bull racing. The 2009 season had a shock winner in Brawn GP, as the team managed to make a car a lot better than the rest with a double diffuser from the start of the season. That lead to Jenson Button winning the 2009 World Championship.


However, after that season, it would be Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominating. The German would win four consecutive world championships from the years 2010 until 2013. That left Hamilton with no chance in those season, especially in the 2011 and 2013 seasons, where Vettel was in a league of his own.


2010 and 2012 had Hamilton contending for the championship still in the latter rounds - with 2010 going to the last round - however, the German would still come out on top in those seasons also.


The Briton would experience multiple reliability issues with his McLaren car during those seasons, frustrating him to the point where he wanted to leave the team at the end of the season.


Hamilton would then take a risk and join Mercedes for the 2013 season, replacing retiring and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher to partner up with Nico Rosberg for the 2013 season.


This would be a risk as Mercedes were a midfield team, not achieving many wins. However, it was a risk that the Briton was willing to take and the rest is history with what happened.


The start of dominance at the turbo hybrid era


Whilst having a quiet 2013 season, 2014 would see the high risk, high reward effect as Mercedes would become a dominant force at the start of the turbo hybrid era.


Hamilton would go on to win his next six world championships with the Silver Arrows, winning the 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons. However, 2016 would be lost out to teammate Nico Rosberg in a big rivalry.


With Rosberg's title in 2016, the German decided to shock the paddock and retire from Formula 1 at such a young age, paving way for Valtteri Bottas to join the team in 2017.


Hamilton would have a tough battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and 2018. However, Mercedes were able to out-develop Ferrari in both seasons to still become victorious in the respective seasons.


Mercedes themselves would win the constructors' world championship in eight consecutive seasons from the years 2014 to 2021. 


The end of dominance controversially


The 2021 season would see a controversial battle between Lewis Hamilton, himself, and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Mercedes had already been hampered slightly with the minor floor regulation changes, favouring cars with high-rake concepts rather than ones with low-rake, which is what the Silver Arrows had,


Despite the slight hampering, Hamilton managed to win eight races during the 2021 season. However, it would not be enough for him to win his eighth world championship.


The final race in Abu Dhabi would prove controversial, as Hamilton was well on course to winning his eighth world championship during the latter stages of the race, being well clear of Verstappen in second.


However, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi would crash, causing a safety car, where Verstappen took the opportunity to pit. But the main controversy was the way the FIA handled the situation, originally not letting lapped cars overtake the safety car.


However, they changed their mind, allowing the five cars between the pair to unlap themselves. This left a lifeless Hamilton defending against Verstappen on fresh softs, which could only end in one way with Verstappen winning the championship on the last lap.


New regulation woes


The 2021 season would send the Silver Arrows into a negative spiral. 2022 saw the cars have a completely new concept with new ground-effect cars, which aimed to improve racing.


However, Mercedes did not nail the regulations like they did in 2014. Instead, it was Ferrari and Red Bull up at the sharp end of the grid, whilst the Silver Arrows were at the top of the midfield battle.


The only race win Mercedes would achieve would be in Sao Paulo, where George Russell lead Hamilton in a Mercedes 1-2. Hamilton did not win a race that season.


This season would be a similar story, as Mercedes are still way off Red Bull at the top. Hamilton has only managed to get pole position at the Hungaroring this year. The seven-time world champion is still yet to win a race in the new ground-effect cars.


Despite that, the Mercedes driver is still committed, signing a new deal with the Brackley team until the end of the 2025 season, showing his intent to try and get his eighth world championship still.


Nathan Hartley

Add comment


There are no comments yet.