In 2001, Michael Schumacher made a one-off return to karts and competed against Hamilton along with other future F1 drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Nico Rosberg. Hamilton ended the final in seventh, four places behind Schumacher. Although the two saw little of each other on the track Schumacher praised the young Briton (see quote box). Hamilton continued his progress in the Intercontinental A (1999), Formula A (2000) and Formula Super A (2001) ranks, and became European Champion in 2000 with maximum points. In Formula A and Formula Super A, racing for Team MBM.com, his team mate was Nico Rosberg who would later drive for the Williams and Mercedes teams in Formula One; they would later team up again for Mercedes in 2013. Following his karting successes the British Racing Drivers' Club made him a "Rising Star" Member in 2000.
Formula Renault and Formula Three
Formula One career
Hamilton won the first race of the 2008 season, the Australian Grand Prix, having qualified on pole position. In Malaysia, he finished fifth after he had started from ninth on the grid, serving a penalty for impeding Nick Heidfeld's qualifying lap. He was back on the podium in Spain finishing third. Hamilton finished second in Turkey, and won the Monaco Grand Prix, putting him in the lead of the championship. In Montreal Hamilton crashed into the back of Räikkönen during the race, after failing to see that the Finn was waiting at a red light at the end of the pit lane as the whole field went past under the guide of the safety car. Both cars were forced to retire and Hamilton was given a 10 position grid penalty for the next race, the French Grand Prix. Despite an error in qualifying that saw him start fourth on the grid, Hamilton went on to win the British Grand Prixin difficult, wet conditions. His performance was stated as being one of his best drives to date. Hamilton himself said in the post race press conference that it was his most difficult and most meaningful win. In the next race at Hockenheim, Hamilton won the race despite a tactical blunder by the team.On 14 December 2007, it was confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen who drove for Renault in 2007 would drive the second car for McLaren-Mercedes for the 2008 Formula One season alongside Hamilton. In January 2008, Hamilton signed a new five-year multi-million pound contract to stay with McLaren-Mercedes until the end of the 20The Italian Grand Prix saw Hamilton finish in seventh place. This result cut Hamilton's lead in the Championship to one point. Hamilton finished third at the next race in Singapore, while Massa failed to score any points, allowing Hamilton to increase his championship lead to seven points. At Fuji, Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty for forcing other cars off the track when he made an error on the first lap. Before he could serve the penalty Hamilton attempted to pass Massa who hit him after the Ferraris driver made a mistake. Massa was later given a drive-through penalty for this move. Hamilton could only finish in 12th position, however Massa finished seventh after being given an extra point after a penalty was given to Toro Rosso'sSébastien Bourdais. This meant that with just two races to go Hamilton led the World Championship by five points from Massa. At the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton won the race from Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen, taking a 7-point lead in the World Championship into the last race of the season. Speaking afterwards, Hamilton said "All weekend we have had God on our side as always, and the team did a phenomenal job in preparing the car, which has been a dream to drive."Hamilton won the Belgian Grand Prix, however he was later judged to have gained an unfair advantage by cutting a chicane when he used a tarmac run off area to avoid hitting Kimi Räikkönen. McLaren said that their telemetry showed Hamilton backed off to let Räikkönen past but Hamilton was given a 25 second penalty, thereby dropping him to third. As a result his main title rival Massa inherited the win. Hamilton's lead in the drivers' championship was cut to two points, and a subsequent appeal by McLaren to the FIA World Motor Sport Council was rejected on the grounds that the case was inadmissible.
Racial abuse At the Brazilian Grand Prix Hamilton needed to finish at least in fifth position if Massa won the race to secure the World Championship. In mixed conditions Hamilton became the youngest Formula One World Champion as he snatched the championship on the very last corner. Just before the race began a rain shower hit and Hamilton ran in fourth place before dropping down to sixth to put on dry weather tyres. Hamilton moved back to fourth place after passing Fisichella and overtaking the three stopping Vettel. Hamilton held Vettel off and after they pitted for wet weather tyres as another shower he was fifth. But with two laps to go Vettel overtook Hamilton and the Brit could not get back past, but on the final lap he and Vettel made up an eighteen second gap on Glock who had stayed out on dry tyres and Hamilton overtook him for fifth place and the championship by one point in the very last corner as Massa won the race. This meant that Hamilton had clinched the 2008 Formula One World Championship, becoming the youngest driver to win the title, as well as the first black driver. He is also the first British driver to win the World Championship since Damon Hilltriumphed in 1996.
Hamilton achieved his first victory of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix – winning the race for the third time – after overtaking Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.Hamilton remained at McLaren alongside Button for the 2012 season. Hamilton qualified in pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, but finished third after being passed by Button at the start, and by Vettel after pitting before a safety car. Hamilton again qualified on pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but in the race was passed early on by Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez, finishing third. Hamilton took his third consecutive third place finish in China, with Nico Rosberg and Button ahead. Hamilton qualified in second place in Bahrain, but during the race, a series of poor pitstops put him out of contention, and he finished eighth. Hamilton was also involved in a controversial racing incident with Rosberg, with Rosberg appearing to push Hamilton off track while he attempted to overtake. Hamilton qualified on pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, but had to stop the car on track in order for a reputable fuel sample to be given post-qualifying. The stewards decided he had breached qualifying rules introduced after a similar incident involving Hamilton at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. Race stewards excluded him from the qualifying results, and demoted him to the back of the grid; but despite this, Hamilton finished eighth, ahead of Button, who had started in tenth.
During the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton had an altered helmet design with the addition of a roulette wheel image on the top. Hamilton had said, "...I'll also be wearing a specially-painted helmet for the occasion. When you see it, you'll know why I'll be hoping for it to swing the odds in my favour."Due to the fact that Hamilton has said in the past that Ayrton Senna was his hero, it was assumed that his helmet is yellow in honour of him. In actuality, it was made yellow so that his father could tell which kart his son was driving back in his karting days. Hamilton chose the colours blue, green and red and they were originally in a ribbon design; however before entering F1, Hamilton felt that the design was "a bit old hat" so it was changed. In later years a white ring was added and the ribbons moved forward to make room for adverts and logos.