Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton, MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG team. He is the 2008, 2014 and 2015 Formula One World Champion and is amongst the most successful F1 drivers of all time.
In December 1995, at the age of ten, he approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at the Autosport Awards ceremony and told him, “I want to race for you one day … I want to race for McLaren.” Less than three years later McLaren and Mercedes-Benz signed him to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he drove for McLaren in 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis. Hamilton’s contract for the McLaren driver development program made him the youngest ever driver to secure a contract which later resulted in a Formula One drive.
Coming from a mixed background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is often labelled “the first black driver in Formula One”, although Willy T. Ribbs tested a Formula One car in 1986. He is also the first driver of black African heritage to win a major race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in any discipline.
In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records while finishing second in the 2007 Formula One Championship, just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen. He won the World Championship the following season in dramatic fashion, becoming the then-youngest Formula One world champion in history before Sebastian Vettel broke the record two years later. Following his second world title in 2014, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In 2015, he became the first British driver in history to win consecutive F1 titles, and the second Brit to win three titles after Jackie Stewart. He is the only driver on the current grid to have won at least one race in each season he has competed to date, with McLaren from 2007 until 2012, and with Mercedes since 2013. He has more race victories than any other British driver in the history of Formula One and is currently third on the all-time wins list, with 43 wins.