The end of the 2006 formula one season signalled the end of an era. Alonso won his second consecutive world championship, Michael Schumacher retired and the world of Formula one looked as if it was about to loose more of its following and appeal.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 2007 season and a little known driver by the name of Lewis Hamilton was about to shake things up and take the world of formula one by storm. The biggest question on most peoples lip was who is he, where did he come from and how good is he? The first two questions are fairly straight forward to answer, he is demonstrating the answer to the third question as the current season progresses.
Born on the 7th January 1985 in Stevenage, Herts., Lewis Hamilton began his racing career as many other F1 greats, aged 8 racing Karts. He spent the next years of his life working his way up the Karting ranks, winning races and championships and earning attention from some big names in motor racing, most notably Team McLaren. In 1999 Lewis was signed by Mclaren to the driver development support program. Crucially this contract included the possibility of a Formula one drive in future years. By 2001 Lewis had progress through the ranks and began his car racing career in the British formula Renault winter series. The following year he joined the Manor Motorsport team in the Formula Renault championship, finishing third overall with three wins and three pole positions. He stayed with the team in 2003 winning the championship and even made his Formula three debut in the last race of the season.
Over the next few years Lewis Hamilton dominated Formula three before joining the GP series in 2006 with the ART Grand Prix team and winning the championship in his first year, a sign of things to come maybe! The 2006 GP2 season demonstrated Lewis outstanding driving ability with high speed overtaking moves, fastest laps and a professional approach.
The end of the 2006 Formula one season saw big changes to the McLaren formula one team. Columbian driver Juan Pablo Montoya quit the team for a career in NASCAR whilst team mate Kimi Raikkonen joined rival team Ferrari. Team manager Ron Dennis has already managed to sign reigning world champion Fernando Alonso for the number one place in the team and speculation was rife around who would join him. After months of rumours and guesswork McLaren finally announced in late November 2006 that Lewis Hamilton would be joining the team.
And so the 2007 season began, McLaren were content in the fact that they had the reigning world champion driving one of their cars and had a confident and able driver number two to support him. This would provide a massive and much needed boost in interest not only in the UK but around the world for Formula One. Little did anyone suspect just how things were about to turn out and how their new recruit was about to make Formula one history. A true legend in the making.