Lewis Hamilton begins his fifth season driving for the F1 McLaren team in March hoping that he can improve upon his fourth place in the world driver’s championship achieved in 2010.
Hamilton won the Driver’s Championship in 2008, in what was only his second ever season as a driver at the top level of the sport, finishing a single point clear of Felipe Massa driving for Ferrari. It was a magnificent effort made even more special due to the fact that he was only 24 years old, the youngest ever winner of the world championship! It should also be remembered that the year before was his F1 debut season where he finished in second place just a single point behind Kimi Raikonnen of Ferrari.
To date Hamilton has won 14 F1 Grand Prix’s on eleven different circuits and has had 36 podium finishes. He holds a number of records including:
- The most consecutive podium finishes – 9
- Most wins in a debut season (2007) – 4
- Most Pole positions in a debut season (2007) – 6
- Most points in a debut season – 109 (points system now changed)
In his four years on the Formula One circuit, he has finished 2nd, 1st, 5th and 4th and has only retired from seven races in 71 starts, although he was disqualified in the 2009 Australian GP.
He shares the McLaren driver’s mantle with fellow British Driver, Jenson Button, who succeeded Hamilton as world champion in 2009 whilst he was driving for Brawn. The two form a formidable team believed by many to be the strongest on the circuit and one that is expected to bring home the 2011 world championship. Hamilton in fact got the better of Button last season, finishing 26 points clear of him by the end of the season. Hamilton in fact won three races while Button only managed two and he also got the better of him by 6-5 on additional podium finishes. That said, the McLaren team are adamant that the team does not run a pecking order and each driver’s performance is based on their own individual merits, with a bit of luck thrown in for good measure!
As far as the betting is concerned, Hamilton has been made the third favourite with most bookmakers to become world champion for the second time this season. The favourite in the F1 odds is defending world champion, Sebastian Vettel of the Red Bull team who is ahead of second favourite Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
The opening race in 2011 will take place in Bahrain on March 13th, a race which Button won in 2009 and where Hamilton finished third in 2010, behind the two Ferrari’s of Alonso and Massa. Hamilton enjoys this track and he could be the man to follow, particularly if he should he get into a top two position in practice. Certainly McLaren will be a stronger team this year, they have worked hard on the speed of the car’s and should, in theory at least be more of a match for the all conquering Red Bull team of 2010 and Lewis Hamilton can be fully expected to be challenging for the Drivers Championship come the final races of the season in November.