We’re talking about Lewis Hamilton, the current King of the Formula 1 drivers. He’s been sitting at his throne for the past 4 consecutive years and it would’ve been 7 years. However, Nico Rosberg broke Hamilton’s streak by winning the title in 2016, which was a great effort from the German.
Back to Hamilton, the Briton has a record-equalling 7 Formula 1 Drivers’ World Titles to his name. Michael Schumacher initially set that record when he won his 7th World Title in 2004. In 2020, Hamilton equalled that record, and in 2021, he’s looking to break that record by winning his 8th Title. So it’s finally time to fully learn all about Lewis Hamilton!
Lewis Hamilton’s Full Name
Hamilton’s full name is Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE HonFREng! That’s a long name, full of evidence of a lot of achievement. We’re going to break down this name for you.
After winning his first World Title in 2008, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Hamilton an MBE. That is stands for Member of the Order Of The British Empire. The MBE comes after the original name of the awarded person. Hamilton also received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is the HonFREng. Obviously, that also came after his original name.
However, here comes the biggest award of all. After equaling Schumacher’s record, Hamilton was Knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen Knighted Lewis Hamilton on the 30th of December 2020. He was part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. Lewis Hamilton became one of 4 Formula 1 drivers to have this honour. Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart are the other 3 drivers to receive Knighthood. What separates Hamilton from the aforementioned drivers is that these drivers received Knighthoods after their careers. Hamilton, however, has received Knighthood in the middle of his career. So at the peak of his career, Lewis Hamilton became Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Now that you have a vague idea about the magnitude of Hamilton’s achievements and success, let’s get into his origins and a little bit about his journey to Formula 1.
Lewis Hamilton – The Champion’s Origins
Hamilton was born and raised in a small town called Stevenage, located in Hertfordshire, England. Born on the 7th of January 1985, Hamilton was 5 years old when his father bought him his first radio-controlled car. Hamilton finished 2nd in the British Radio Car Association Championship. Then his father bought him a go-kart for Christmas when he was 6 years old. At his racing club, Hamilton faced racial abuse, since he was the only black member of the club. At such a young age, people bullied Hamilton because of his skin colour. This shows why Hamilton has taken such a strong stand against racism.
Hamilton is mixed-race since his mother is Caucasian and his father is of Grenadian descent. However, his own skin colour is more like his father’s, and that’s why he was wrongfully abused because of that. One of the wisest things that Hamilton has said came from him when he was only 12 years old. In an interview with BBC in 1997, Hamilton said: “If anybody had said anything to me I would just ignore them and get them back on the track.”. That pure racer’s mentality and that confidence are extremely vital. After all, they got Hamilton his seat in Formula 1.
Hamilton’s father Anthony promised Lewis to support him. He promised to support his career in racing as long as he worked hard in school. Lewis often mentions that without his father he would never have been close to racing in Formula 1. Anthony Hamilton worked up to 4 jobs at the same time to support Lewis’s career, And up until 2010, he was Lewis’s manager as well.
So in 1993, at the age of 8, Hamilton started his professional Karting career. He was incredibly talented and was soon winning races and cadet class championships. This means he was winning local championships that involved driving cadet karts, which are karts that are small so that children can drive them. In 1995, at the age of 10, Hamilton became the youngest driver to win the British Cadet Karting Championship.
This was a turning point for Lewis because this is when he met Ron Dennis. Ron Dennis was the owner, CEO, chairman and founder of McLaren Group. He met Lewis Hamilton when Hamilton was around 9 or 10 years old when Hamilton won the aforementioned championship.
Hamilton asked for Ron Dennis’s autograph and said: “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars”. And Dennis wrote in Hamilton’s autograph book: “Phone me in nine years, we’ll sort something out then.”. Now, this is where Lewis proves he’s special.
By the age of 13, he won the Super One series and British Karting Championship twice. He was showing signs of becoming incredibly successful when he got a phone call. It was from Ron Dennis, and he offered Hamilton a seat in the McLaren driver development programme. 6 years before earlier than expected, Hamilton became a part of the McLaren family.
Hamilton’s Run-up To Formula 1 With McLaren
Hamilton continued in karting until 2001, and he became the European Karting Champion in 2000. In the winter of 2001, Hamilton moved onto Formula Renault, which is a feeder series like Formula 3 or Formula 2. Hamilton did fairly good in 2002 and went onto win the Formula Renault UK Championship in 2003. After that, Hamilton moved onto Formula 3 championships, firstly in the British F3 Championship, but mainly in the Formula 3 Euro Series.
Hamilton finished 5th in his first year in the F3 Euro Series. He almost secured a seat in Formula 1 with Williams, but BMW refused to fund Lewis Hamilton went on to dominate the 2005 season of F3 Euro, winning 15 of the 20 races. Hamilton actually left McLaren for a brief while before the 2005 season. His father believed that Hamilton was ready for GP2. Formula 2, which was then named GP2, was the feeder series directly under Formula 1.
And Anthony Hamilton felt Lewis was ready for GP2. Martin Whitmarsh, who was at the time, the executive of McLaren, thought that Hamilton wasn’t ready for GP2. So after a fight with Anthony Hamilton, Whitmarsh tore up Lewis’s contract. 6 weeks, later Lewis called Whitmarsh and re-signed with the team, and agreed to stay in F3 for another year.
GP2 was a MASSIVE success for Lewis Hamilton. He REALLY proved his worth, making fantastic overtakes, winning multiple races against the odds. and fighting off Nelson Piqut Jr. for the championship win. Nobody could believe that a rookie like Lewis Hamilton could win the GP2 title so quickly. But what came next was even crazier. In 2007, at the age of just 22, Lewis Hamilton became a Formula 1 driver, racing for McLaren. He was offered a seat at a team capable of winning him the championship, that to in his first year of Formula 1.
Hamilton’s Formula 1 Career
2007 – Lewis Hamilton And His Stellar Debut Season
I would be fairly surprised if anyone says that an F1 driver has had a better debut season than Lewis Hamilton. The Brit scored his first F1 podium in his very first race in F1. That showed that Hamilton was worthy of success and that he was in for a career full of victory and triumph. With Hamilton’s first podium coming so incredibly soon, his first race victory didn’t look so far off. And it wasn’t. Round #6 of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship saw F1 coming to Canada for the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix. The drivers and teams were back in Montreal, for what would’ve been a race that would never be forgotten by many. The rapid rookie was setting the pace after absolutely dominating qualifying to get pole position.
The race rolled around, and it was a Super Sunday for Lewis Hamilton. The main threat for the race win was Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard qualified in 2nd, and when the 5 red lights went out, he was looking to challenge Hamilton into Turn 1. Alonso wanted the race win to keep his championship lead. So decided to make a courageous dive around the outside into Turn 1 on the first lap. Alonso was alongside Hamilton, but then, things went wrong for the 2-time world champion. He suffered a small lockup and he outbroke himself too much. He ran wide, went onto the grass, and rejoined the track a couple of positions behind Hamilton.
Alonso’s race got worse, and Nick Heidfeld and Alexander Wurz took the final two podium spots. This was due to Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella leaving the pitlane when the red light was still on. From then on, it was a breeze to victory was Lewis Hamilton. Despite all the chaos that ensued in this incredibly memorable Canadian GP, the two drivers behind Hamilton were far from challenging him, and Hamilton took his maiden victory in Formula 1. It was an unbelievable feat, which the Brit dedicated to his father. Hamilton was now a Grand Prix winner.
Next was the US GP. Another fantastic race, where Hamilton fended off his teammate and held everything together. From pole position once again, Hamilton became the first British driver to win the United States Grand Prix for 24 years. And what place is better to take your 2nd consecutive race win than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 3rd race win of Lewis Hamilton’s career came in 2007 AS WELL! This time it was at Hungary in the 11th round of the 2007 world championship. This was a quite a dark race weekend for Lewis Hamilton, but it was mainly dark for McLaren.
McLaren had a huge issue between the drivers in qualifying. In qualifying, Hamilton was asked to let Alonso go ahead on the track so that Alonso could put in a good qualifying time. Hamilton disobeyed those orders and slowed Alonso down. Alonso was furious and got back at Hamilton by holding him up in the pitlane. Hamilton wouldn’t be able to set another lap time, which would harm his qualifying position. The race stewards knew this was on purpose and gave Alonso a 5-place grid penalty for the race. The stewards told McLaren that they would not score any Constructor’s Championship points in the race. McLaren wouldn’t receive with a winning constructor’s trophy on the podium if one of their drivers won the race either.
The team and Alonso gave different explanations for the issue, which gave the stewards more reason to be stricter. Hamilton won the Hungarian GP, which was to be the first of 8 victories he would take there so far. Win #4 was a really applaudable one. It was a very wet and very tough race in Japan. The conditions were far from ideal, and it was very hard for the drivers. Nevertheless, after taking pole position in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton took the fastest lap and then won the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix. It would be his last win of 2007, and Hamilton’s season was unimaginably successful. However, he lost the World Championship by 1 single point. But that wasn’t a problem, because there was plenty more success to come.
2008 – The First Of Many Championship-Winning Seasons For Lewis Hamilton
2008 was an even better season for Lewis Hamilton. Despite his results being fairly inconsistent, none of the other drivers could do any better. Compared to this season, where Hamilton wins pretty much every race, 2008 wasn’t such a good season. But for that time, the Brit was setting a great example. He was consistently finishing on the podium, and if he didn’t score a podium, he would either win the race or finish in the points-paying positions. Out of the 18 rounds in 2008, only 4 of them saw Hamilton either retire or finish outside the points. What a great season for Lewis Hamilton.
He kicked off his 2nd year of Formula 1 with a spectacular victory at the season opener in Australia. It was his 5th win in Formula 1, and he achieved it at the first race of 2008. The next win was a little far away, at Round 6 of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship. It was a wet race ONCE AGAIN. Hamilton made a mistake on Lap 6. He hit the barrier coming out of Tabac corner, which caused a puncture and forced Hamilton to pit. Soon the track dried, and the whole field had to pit for dry tires. Except for Hamilton. He had already pitted, and this launched him up into first place.
He retained the lead of the Grand Prix and came across the line to win the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix. 2 point-less races later came to the British Grand Prix. For the 2nd time in his career, Hamilton arrived at his home race. And what a home race it was. ANOTHER wet race challenged Hamilton, and this time, he was starting in 4th. When the lights went out he immediately had a fabulous getaway, and he made his way up to 2nd before the first corner. He tried to go down the inside and overtake his teammate for the lead, but the home hero had to wait for Lap 5 to come around so that he could make a move down the inside at Stowe to take the lead of his home race. It was a fantastic drive that earned Hamilton his first of 7 home wins so far.
The last 2 wins of 2008 came to Hamilton in Germany and China. Both of them saw Hamilton grabbing pole position. China was a very easy win for Hamilton, as he retained his lead for the entirety of the race. But Germany was a completely different story. Despite having pole position and the lead, a Safety Car came out at the wrong time for Hamilton. He had already made his first of two pit stops. The whole field except for Hamilton pitted for fuel in this period. So when the SC came in and racing resumed, Hamilton had to pit again to complete his strategy. He came out in P5, and after making some really brave overtakes, he retook the lead and won the 2008 German GP. These fantastic results brought Lewis Hamilton a World Championship so early on in his career. It. Was. Amazing.
2009 – A Disappointing Season
2009 was quite a disappointing year for the defending World Champion and for McLaren. This year saw many major aerodynamic regulation changes to the bodywork and the shape of the F1 cars. The front wing was lower and wider, while the rear wing was slightly narrower and noticeably higher. The 2008 F1 cars were full of small pieces of bodywork all over the car. These additional components were removed for 2009. The slick tires made a return to F1. The slick tires are tires that are completely smooth on the surface, and the rubber can make complete contact with the asphalt at all times. These aero regulations changes and tire changes were made to allow closer racing and more side-by-side action, which had become increasingly rare in F1.
Another new feature in F1 was KERS. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System is pretty much the same thing as what 2020 F1 cars have. Right now there is ERS, but at that time, there was KERS. KERS took the heat given off by the brakes when the brakes were used and stored it electrically. This energy was deployed by the drivers, and it acted as a bit of a boost from the engine. McLaren was one of the 4 teams to use KERS in 2009. I am talking about these regulation changes because McLaren didn’t cope with them well. Their car was around 1.5 seconds behind the race leaders, which showed their dismal pace. On top of that, there was an issue during the opening race of the year. The famous SC incident between Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton.
I could write an entire post about this, but long story short, there was a Safety Car, and Trulli overtook Hamilton. After the stewards’ hearing, the stewards gave Trulli a 25-second time penalty, which dropped him down to 12th. But then, the stewards found out that Hamilton lied to the stewards, and the Brit was disqualified from the race. Hamilton was event thinking about quitting F1. Those were such dark days.
8 races after Australia the drivers and teams came to the Hungarian Grand Prix. This proved to be a true stronghold for Hamilton, as he won there for the 2nd time in 3 years. Despite starting 4th on the grid, McLaren’s smart decision to equip KERS into their cars meant that Hamilton got a massive boost off the start. However, Raikkonen had KERS in his Ferrari too, so he pulled into the middle of Hamilton and Webber.
Hamilton used the advantage of the inside line into Turn 1 to slither down the inside and up to 2nd place already. But a bad exit saw Webber do a switchback and take 2nd place back from Hamilton. A few laps later, Hamilton used KERS down the main straight. Then, he broke early and switchbacked to take 2nd place down the straight coming into Turn 2. A faulty pitstop phase from Renault saw Fernando Alonso drop down the order. Then Hamilton FINALLY won a race in 2009, after an exceptionally tough season. The last win of 2009 for Lewis Hamilton was at the Singapore Grand Prix. A red flag at the end of qualifying saw no drivers setting final lap times. This event combined with blistering pace from Hamilton put the Brit on pole for only the 3rd time in 2009.
During the race, it was an even more commanding victory. Sebastian Vettel was really pressurizing the Brit during the second stint. He was within 1 second of Hamilton, but since he didn’t have KERS on his car, and DRS wasn’t invented, it wasn’t that easy to overtake Hamilton. Vettel then received a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane, which shattered any chances of the German winning the race. In the and Lewis Hamilton came across the line to win the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix. At the end of the season, Hamilton finished in 5th in the standings after podium finishes in the last few races before the new decade.
2010 – McLaren Are Back
After a fairly tough 2009 season, there was light at the end of the tunnel 2010 was a much better year for McLaren. Mercedes bought Brawn GP at the end of 2009 and made a return to F1 for the first time since 1955. The reigning World Champion couldn’t come to terms with them for a contract, so McLaren signed Jenson Button until 2012. The last 2 World Champions were both racing for McLaren. What a driver lineup. The last time F1 had a double-world champion lineup was when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were racing for McLaren in 1989.
There was a lot of cost-cutting for 2010 due to the financial crisis of 2008. This meant there were also some regulation changes. The points system is the same as the current points system, rather than the system used in 2009. The cars were changed a lot, with larger fuel tanks making the cars longer. There was no refuelling allowed anymore, hence the larger fuel tanks. The front tires were narrower to balance the grip between the front end and the rear end. After all the changes and chaos that happened coming into 2010, McLaren still came back stronger than last year.
Winter testing saw Lewis Hamilton and his teammate topping the timing sheets multiple times. The first round of the championship was at Bahrain, and Alonso won, with Button in 7th and Hamilton in 3rd. Hamilton achieved 3 wins in 2010. While that doesn’t sound like much, the drivers that finished ahead of Hamilton in the championship only got 4 or 5 wins each, which shows the competitiveness that 2010 saw. Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were all in an incredibly close race for the 2010 drivers’ championship. The first win of 2010 will come earlier than it did in 2009. It was Round 7 of the 2010 World Championship, the Turkish Grand Prix.
Things actually weren’t looking good for Hamilton. He started the race in 2nd, and wasn’t able to challenge Webber for the lead. The first round of pitstop made things even worse for Hamilton. A bad pitstop from McLaren meant that he dropped to 3rd, and Vettel could challenge his teammate for the win. That’s when Hamilton’s luck changed. The two Red Bulls had a famous collision, which is one of the many iconic moments that have happened at Turkey. Read more about them here! Back to Hamilton, this collision allowed him and his teammate to take first and second place. Despite both the McLarens being instructed to save fuel after that, Button didn’t follow the orders and was flying every lap. After a major attack from Button, Hamilton held on and won the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.
Straight after that race was the Canadian Grand Prix. Qualifying wasn’t a good session for Hamilton and McLaren. The Brit qualified on pole, which was a great result, but there were other issues for them. McLaren didn’t fill enough fuel in Hamilton’s car for Qualifying. The FIA requires a fuel sample from the car. On the cool down lap after Hamilton completed his timed lap, McLaren realized that they wouldn’t be able to give the FIA a fuel sample. So when he was going down the back straight, Hamilton switched off his car and got out and pushed the car to keep it rolling. Very soon, the course car picked Hamilton up, and the Marshals pushed the car. Hamilton was reprimanded after the session, and McLaren were fined $10,000 for not completing the cool down lap in the given time.
Nevertheless, the race was better. Hamilton took a dominant win, with a good strategy and rapid pace combined handing him a fantastic victory. He was at the top of the standings, and so were McLaren. It was a 1-2 for the team. Alonso took 3rd, and rounded up the podium. This was the first time since the 1991 US GP that 3 former drivers’ champions were on the podium.
The last win of 2010 for Lewis Hamilton was at Belgium. Hamilton started in 2nd behind Mark Webber. Webber went into anti-stall of the line, and dropped down to 6th by Turn 1. This race was full of chaos, with unpredictable weather catching many drivers out. Hamilton mainly won the race because he kept his cool, and stayed out of major trouble, unlike his rivals. He had the championship lead over Webber by 1 point, but at the end of the year it was only 4th, since Hamilton didn’t do as well in the last races of 2010.
2011 – Vettel’s Mad Dominance Leaves No Room For Hamilton
2011 was an EXTREMELY dominant year for Sebastian Vettel. Out of the 19 rounds, he won 11 of them. He finished 2nd in 4 races, 3rd in 1 race, and 4th in 1 race. His only retirement was the Abu Dhabi GP. The German embarrassed the rest of the grid. He had 392 points at the end of 2011. The man in 2nd was Jenson Button, with a distant 270 points. Only 4 other drivers won a race in 2011, and they were the rest of the Top 5 drivers. Button got 3 wins, Webber in 3rd got 1, Alonso in 4th got 1, and Hamilton got 3. Hamilton got more wins than Webber and Alonso, but he was behind them in the standings because he was consistently off of the podium. He wasn’t bringing good points.
Lewis Hamilton won in China, Germany, and Abu Dhabi. In China, Sebastian Vettel had a bad start, and Hamilton took the lead. However, the Brit was on an aggressive 3-stop strategy. To make the strategy work, the driver needed to consistently be faster than his rivals. And that’s what happened. Hamilton used his faster tires to fly through the laps. His strategy required bold overtakes that Hamilton successfully completed, to win the Chinese Grand Prix multiple times, which had never been done before. At Germany, Hamilton qualified in 2nd at the Nürburgring. At the start, Webber choked AGAIN and slipped down the order due to too low revs. Hamilton took the lead, but Webber did an undercut on him in the pitstops.
Hamilton was running in 2nd when the 2nd round of pitstops came. Due to the mechanical grip of the McLaren, and Hamilton’s fabulous driving, the Brit took his 2nd win of 2011. The 2nd-last round of 2011 was the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hamilton was absolutely dominating qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit. However, at the end of Q3, Vettel just pipped Hamilton to pole. But come race day, Vettel’s luck would change. He would suffer a puncture coming into Turn 2 on Lap 1 that nobody could explain, and that handed Hamilton the lead, which he kept until the chequered flag. This gave him 5th in the driver’s standings, and McLaren 2nd in the constructors.
2012 – More Wins, More Woes
The fiercer competition saw Lewis Hamilton closer in the title race for 2012. The Brit secured 4 well-earned wins this year, but as mentioned in the subheading, more wins came with more woes. Hamilton faced a combination of bad luck, bad pitstops, other drivers’ mistakes, and reliability issues from his car. All of this meant that Hamilton only finished in 4th in the drivers’ championship, despite winning a large amount of races. He achieved 4 wins, 3 podiums, and faced 1 finish outside the points, and 5 retirements in 2012. The first win of the year came at none other than the maiden destination itself. Canada. The first win of a mixed year so far for Hamilton was at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.
He was on a 2-stop strategy, and so were his rivals. However, Alonso and Vettel, who were the main challengers for the win, switched to a 1-stop strategy. That meant that at the last stint, Hamilton had a lot of work to do, and he had to close that gap to the leaders. Vettel made a late pitstop, since the 1-stop wasn’t working. The German fell to 5th. Alonso tires were as good as nothing, and Hamilton overtook the Spaniard to win the Canadian GP for the 3rd time in his career. After a run of mediocre results came the Hungarian Grand Prix. McLaren pounced back onto their competitors with a stellar performance in qualifying to take pole position. The race saw Hamilton dominating the race. His competitors just couldn’t catch him.
After Romain Grosjean caused an incredibly dangerous and costly crash at the Belgian Grand Prix, F1 was back at the Temple of Speed. Monza. The 2012 Italian Grand Prix was another display of unparalleled performance from Lewis Hamilton. He stormed to pole position and embarrassed Ferrari in front of their home fans by winning the Italian GP. Sergio Perez was on a 1-stop strategy, meaning Hamilton had to push in the final laps of the race to retain his lead. Apart from that, nobody could challenge him. There was won more win to come in 2012. The penultimate race of 2012 was the United States Grand Prix. The Circuit of the Americas made its F1 debut this year, and what a debut it was.
Many drivers struggled to race on the new surface of the track. There just wasn’t enough grip. The start was a disaster for drivers that were starting on the dirty side of the track, since it wasn’t on the racing line, and there was virtually no grip. Hamilton started in 2nd, which was on the dirty side of the track. Webber passed the Brit for 2nd place, and Hamilton was demoted to 3rd. Hamilton drove a fantastic race, passing Webber for 2nd, and then hunting down Vettel for the win. Vettel was hindered by traffic, which is something to be noted. Anyways, Hamilton won the US Grand Prix, but it wasn’t enough to give him the championship. There were just too many races where Hamilton either didn’t score any points, or scored little points.
2013 – Maiden Season With Mercedes
To date, Lewis Hamilton hasn’t completed a single race in F1 without a Mercedes engine in the back of his car. Mercedes supplied McLaren with F1 engines from 1995 – 2014, meaning Hamilton’s car always had a Mercedes engine. At the end of 2012, Hamilton moved to the Mercedes works team, a move that surprised the entirety of the F1 world. Hamilton was moving from a top-tier team to a midfield team. We now know that this was arguably the best decision Hamilton made in his career. But at that time, it was extremely surprising.
But Hamilton proved all the doubters wrong with a fabulous season. In terms of wins, it was his worst season of his career. He only won 1 race of 2013, and that was the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungary has proved to be a stronghold for the 2008 World Champion. He grabbed pole position for only the 3rd time in 2013. It was a dominant victory for Lewis Hamilton. He kept his cool and navigated the tough Hungaroring beautifully. Despite all of the chaos going on behind him, Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the 4th time in his career. it was his first of many race wins with Mercedes, and Hamilton became the first Brit to win in a Merc since Stirling Moss.
Lewis Hamilton still managed to finish 4th in the driver’s championship, since he was consistently bringing home good results. His teammate Nico Rosberg was 6th in the standings, which meant that Mercedes finished 2nd in the constructors’ championship what an achievement. But they had no idea what was to come in the next 7 years.
2014 – Hamilton and Mercedes In a League Of Their Own
2014 saw a major regulation change in Formula 1. These changed were both aerodynamic changes and engine changes. There was a new engine formula, with the return of turbocharged engines after an absence for 26 years. The FIA changed the 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6-litre turbo V6 engines. These new engines sounded quite different from the previous ones due to the multiple energy recovery systems put in place. The turbocharged engine made its return in the form of the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit, replacing the naturally aspirated units. Teams did not agree to the original four-cylinder idea, so a compromise was reached, and the teams had to take on a V6 turbocharged engine.
Energy recovery systems were changed, and there were new hybrid units. As mentioned earlier, energy recovery systems allow power to be harvested from the brakes and the exhaust gases, in the form of the Motor Generator Unit–Kinetic, which was the new name for KERS, and the Motor Generator Unit–Heat. The two systems were combined to make the Energy Recovery System, or ERS, and can produce an extra 160 hp per lap.
In terms of the aerodynamic regulation changes, the first major change was the front wing. The nose of the car had to be a maximum of 185 mm above the ground. This change was made to improve driver safety. There were many more changes to the aero of the car, but I won’t go into those details. The most major change was the front wing because according to many, the new front wings looked atrocious. And I must say, I agree. The image below shows how insanely weird the noses of the 2014 F1 cars looked. While these were very major changes, let’s move to the main focus of this post. Lewis Hamilton and incredibly successful career.
The start of the season was far from ideal for Hamilton. At the start of the race, a cylinder in his engine misfired, and on Lap 2 the Brit was out of the opening race of 2014. Mercedes had an overall great race, with Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg taking the win. However, Lewis Hamilton would get his revenge with an astonishing 4 race wins in a row! His teammate didn’t make it easy for him at all, but the Brit still held on. His streak was only broken at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix. He started in 2nd on the grid, which already explains a lot since overtaking at Monaco is virtually impossible. Still, Hamilton pushed and pushed and kept Rosberg honest, until dirt came into Hamilton’s left eye. This issue, combined with the difficulties of Monaco and the notorious dirty air, denied Hamilton of his 5th consecutive win.
After a retirement at Canada from overheating brakes, and slow pitstops denying a win in Austria was the British GP. Lewis Hamilton was back to his home country once again, and boy did he give the fans a shows. From a disappointing P6 on the grid, Hamilton showed his talent out on track, and made a good strategy work through some incredibly fast driving and through fantastic overtakes. What a victory. After finishing 3rd in Germany and Hungary, and retiring in Belgium, Hamilton was on a streak again. He won 5 races in a row, starting from the Italian GP, until he finished 2nd in Brazil. But a final win in 2014 came at the final race in Abu Dhabi, and Hamilton was a 2-time world champion. Mercedes won the constructors’ title, and 2014 was a remarkable year to kick off the new era of F1.
2015 – 10 Wins Make A Dominant Season
As you can see from the image above, the 2015 F1 cars were no longer a sight for sore eyes. The nose regulations were changed, and the cars looked much better. It was a brand new year, and Lewis Hamilton looked incredibly strong, right off the start. He won in Australia, and after a 2nd place finish in Malaysia, the reigning world champ took 2 wins in a row at China and Bahrain. 2015 wasn’t full of crazy streaks like 2014. There was a lot more competition, with Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel getting into the mix as well. Hamilton finished in 2nd in Spain behind his teammate Nico Rosberg. He finished 3rd in Monaco, behind Vettel, who was in 2nd behind Rosberg, who took his 2nd win in a row.
Hamilton was back on the top step of the podium as he won AGAIN in Canada. This was the 4th time in his career that Hamilton won here. I’m sure that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a very special track for the Brit. After a 2nd-place finish in Austria, there was another very special victory. For the 3rd time in his career, and for the 2nd year in a row, Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix, right in front of the fans that adored him the most. He finished 6th in the next race, in Hungary, and had 2 wins in a row and Belgium and Italy. At the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton suffered the one and only retirement of 2015 for him. It was due to an engine failure, and since Rosberg finished in 4th, it wasn’t a strong race for Mercedes.
Hamilton won the next three races in the row. This absolute dominance meant that at the US Grand Prix, 3 rounds before the season finale, Hamilton won the 2015 Drivers’ World Championship. He won the US Grand Prix as well, and the Brit was a 3-time World Champion. The next 3 races saw Hamilton finish in 2nd in all of them since he was already unbeatable. This year was also a crucial one in terms of race wins. Hamilton overtook Vettel by 1 win at the end of 2015, and he already started chasing after Schumacher’s record.
2016 – “Right now I’m losing the world championship so I’m really not bothered if I’m going to win or lose this race.”
In 2016, things got really hairy between the 2 Mercedes teammates. It was their 4th and final year together as teammates, although they didn’t know that when the season began. Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg was looking far stronger than the reigning champion. The German won the first 4 races in a row, while Hamilton could only manage podiums, that too in 3 of the 4 races. Next up was the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
Anyone could describe it as one of the darkest days in the history of the Mercedes team. It was on Lap 1. The 2 Mercedes were battling already, and coming out of Turn 3, Hamilton got a better run on Rosberg. Rosberg covered off the inside, but Hamilton still went for the inside line. However, he had no space, and he went on the grass. He lost control and was spinning when he hit his teammate. Hamilton hit the side of Rosberg’s car, which meant the German lost control. Both the Mercs went off at the entry of Turn 4 and got stuck in the gravel runoff. Hamilton then took 2 wins in a row, and after finishing in 5th at the European GP, the Brit bagged 4 wins in a row.
But then, things weren’t as good. He only got podiums in the next 3 races, while his teammate won them all. It was another retirement for Hamilton in 2016 as he faced engine issues in Malaysia. This posed to be a problem, because a retirement at that stage of the year could hurt Hamilton’s championship fight. After another 3rd place finish, Hamilton put up a fantastic fight for the championship. He won all of the last 4 races of the year, but the last race of 2016 hurt Hamilton the most. Because Nico Rosberg finished right behind Hamilton in 2nd, and the man who was retiring after that race became a World Champion, just like his father Keke. It was a painful day for Lewis Hamilton, and he expressed that in his radio message, and through his slow driving.
2017 – The Fight With Ferrari
The 2017 Formula 1 World Championship saw the first championship battle that wasn’t just between the Mercs for the first time since 2013. There were 5 different race winners in 2017, and the battle was incredibly fierce. Hamilton had less competition since Rosberg retired. Valterri Bottas replaced him at Mercedes, and although he was very quick, he couldn’t challenge the Brit for the title. But luckily, someone else could. Sebastian Vettel. The 4-time World Champion was struggling in this turbo-hybrid era, and he finally found his feet. His Prancing Horse was faster than before, and Vettel and Hamilton kept exchanging wins.
Hamilton took his 4th win of the season at his home race in Britain, and Bottas had 2 wins by now, Vettel had 3, and Ricciardo had one from his fantastic race win at Azerbaijan. After Vettel won in Hungary, Hamilton won 3 races in a row, and then finished in 2nd in Malaysia. He won 2 races in a row after that, and after finishing 9th in Mexico, the Brit was a 4-time World Champion. WOW. Vettel only won 5 races in 2017, while Hamilton won 9. The Brit took the title by 46 points, and Vettel wanted revenge in 2018.
2018 – Two 4-Time World Champions Battling For Title #5
2018 was an incredibly exciting year for Formula. There were brand new aerodynamic and safety regulations, the main one being the halo. The halo was there to protect the driver from any debris, dust, or other things that would otherwise harm the driver. But aside from that, the title race was going to be even more exciting. For the first time in F1 history, there were two 4-time World Champions racing at the same time. Who would win Title #5? Will Vettel finally dethrone Lewis Hamilton? There was only one way to find out, and what a season it proved to be.
Vettel started off strong with 2 wins in a row, while Daniel Ricciardo took a sensational victory in China. But Hamilton came back with 2 wins in a row, but then Ricciardo won in Monaco. Hamilton and Vettel kept exchanging wins, and the drivers won each other’s home GPs as well. At the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, Vettel took one last win of 2018. Then Hamilton just flew off, winning 4 races in a row after that, and then he took another 2 wins in the final 2 races of the season. Hamilton won the 2018 World Championship by a landslide, with 11 wins added to the grand total, which was already 73 by now. Vettel only had 47 wins, and Schumacher’s record was only 18 wins away from Hamilton. Next up was 2019, the final year of the decade, but not the final year of Mercedes’ dominance.
2019 – All The Challengers Cast Aside
2019 was the most dominant year Lewis Hamilton has ever had (except for 2020). Valterri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton’s teammate, was the only man who was even close to challenging Hamilton. Ferrari had a woeful season, and Red Bull was STILL rebuilding themselves. The first round was extremely exciting. Bottas won the Grand Prix, which sent a lot of buzz around the paddock. Will Bottas finally bring King Lewis off of his throne? For the first 5 races, it looked like the answer was yes. After Bottas won in Austria, Hamilton got 2 wins, with Bottas following closely behind in 2nd place at both of them. He won again in Azerbaijan, which put him a point ahead of Hamilton in the standings. This was due to the extra point he got for fastest lap in Australia. But after that, Bottas’s championship spiralled out of his control.
Hamilton got 4 wins in a row after that, while Bottas only managed 3 podiums and 1 4th-place finish. From then on, it was Hamilton and Verstappen exchanging wins, while the Ferraris snuck 3 wins in after the summer break. But Hamilton was consistently on the podium, and Verstappen was too far behind, so he could only manage 3rd in the championship. Lewis Hamilton celebrated becoming a 6-time World Champion at the Abu Dhabi GP in real style, with pole position, the fastest lap, and the race win. On top of that, he led every lap of the race, which gave him his 6th F1 Grand Slam. He hasn’t achieved any more of them this year. Hamilton achieved an astonishing 11 wins in 2019, although there could’ve been more. Nevertheless, Hamilton was already right up there, ready to become the GOAT.
2020 – A Season Hamilton Will Never Forget
The 2020 season was BY FAR Hamilton’s most dominant season in Formula 1. Despite COVID-19 making the season a 17-race season, Hamilton won 11 of this race. His teammate Bottas won 2 races in Austria and in Russia, while Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And how can we forget when Gasly took that spectacular win at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s biggest low of the year was when he actually tested positive for COVID-19, and he missed the Sakhir Grand Prix, which Sergio Perez went on to win.
Hamilton’s season was so madly dominant in 2020, that he only didn’t get a podium in Sakhir, Italy and Austria. And that was only because of penalties and because he got COVID!
In terms of the championship, Mercedes and Hamilton won by a landslide. Hamilton won the 2020 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship by a whopping 124 points, despite the shortened season. He scored 347 points, while his teammate and runner-up Valterri Bottas scored only 223 points. Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s record for the most Championships by scoring his 7th title in 2020, as we all know. And also, Hamilton broke Schumacher’s record of most race wins in F1. Schumacher had 91, while Hamilton currently has 95. In 2021, he’ll be looking to break the barrier of 100 wins,
Lewis Hamilton has slowly become the GOAT of Formula 1. If he isn’t completely the Greatest of All Time, he’s surely going to make it this year, in 2021. So let’s stay on the lookout to see how the reigning champ does this year! To learn more about the rest of the 2021 Formula 1 Drivers, click here to visit the guide to the 2021 Formula 1 Drivers →.