From the moment McLaren gave its backing to an ambitious 10-year-old karter there were great expectations of Lewis Hamilton. And he delivered in style. The Formula Renault UK title, the F3 Euro Series crown and the GP2 championship presaged a move into F1 with McLaren.
Teamed up with double world champion Fernando Alonso, many critics doubted the wisdom of promoting Hamilton so quickly. But he confounded them instantly, finishing on the podium in his first grand prix.
A maiden win followed in Canada, backed up with a second win a week later in the US. Lewis was heading towards an unprecedented championship win in his first season when disaster struck in the last two races.
His failure was quickly forgotten with victory in the opening race of 2008. Four more wins and the world championship followed. The 2009 McLaren started the year off the pace, but Hamilton showed his skill and maturity in helping turn the team around and scored a brace of brilliant late-season wins.
Should Lewis Hamilton be higher or lower in F1's greatest drivers?View Results
|Born||7 Jan 1985|
|Active years||2007 - 2016|
|Champion||2008, 2014, 2015|