Lewis Hamilton is the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. A record breaker. Blisteringly quick. Adapts to any situation thrown at him.
While he flaunts a lavish lifestyle away from racing, he always delivers when it matters. Testament to that is his five world championship titles.
With his first title win at McLaren in 2008, he has since matured and won a further four world championships – the last four have been in the last five years, proving him to be utterly dominant.
With a staggering 84 pole positions to his name, Hamilton is the driver who has the most starts to a grand prix from first place. Another stat: he has won 30 percent of those races he has started.
Fellow world champions have too described him as among the greatest, including former team-mate of Hamilton’s – Fernando Alonso. The pair may have not always seen eye to eye, but the respect is clear. He labelled Hamilton as impeccable.
He has been a hero in wet conditions – the master. It is virtually impossible to forget his performance at the 2008 British Grand Prix. He lapped everyone but his fellow podium finishers in the rain to finish first in front of his home crowd. This was nothing short of sublime.
In the new era of the sport, he has pushed his car further than anyone else. He has been unbelievably quick, shocking even his team principal at Mercedes. The German team have delivered a tight package, but it has not always been the best car on the grid at street tracks.
At Singapore last year, he dominated at a circuit where Red Bull should have been the strongest contenders with their downforce package. But, no, it was Hamilton who rose to the challenge and took pole position by a clear margin of 0.3 seconds. He went on to stand on the top step of the podium.
With five titles, Hamilton levels Juan Manuel Fangio and sits two championship wins behind Michael Schumacher. The next question: what makes him greater than the German? Really, it is simple. The new F1 cars are harder to drive and Hamilton has remained in command. With all of the new technology and rule changes he has seen in the past decade, to still come out on top is something to marvel.
Yet, the greatest driver label extends further than just his driving ability. It is his performance away from the track that has to be explored too. He spends vast amounts of time signing autographs for fans, engaging with them on social media, and running competitions. If you follow Lewis on Instagram, you will get a true insight into his crazy life.
Of course, his personality has been like marmite – people either love him or loathe him. One thing is for certain, however – you cannot deny his sheer amount of talent. That is why he is the best thing that has ever happened to the sport, as well as being the greatest driver ever to participate. He brings in millions of fans, causes the British public to tune into race weekends, and promotes F1 in only a way that Liberty Media could have dreamt about.
He has matured into a man – a gentleman who loves what he does, not the boy we first saw some 12 years ago. He has stayed humble to his roots and background, despite the levels of stardom and public scrutiny he now faces.
The most prolific thing, perhaps, is that at only 34-years-old, Hamilton could have another half a decade of competing at his best level. There will, undoubtedly, be much more to come.
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