Racing to the Top - By: Roger Munns
Lewis Hamilton is a 22-year-old Formula One Grand Prix rookie who has taken the racing circuit by storm this year, finishing on the podium in third place in his first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia, and then second in the Malaysian Grand Prix just two weeks later. He may seem to be an overnight sensation, but he's worked his way into the Formula One racing world since he was a mere youngster.
In an almost unbelievable stroke of luck, young eleven-year-old Lewis participated in, and won, the McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future series in 1996 and met Ron Dennis, owner and director of the McLaren Formula One racing team. The introduction proved fortuitous for the youngster, who told Dennis that his goal was to race the Formula One circuit. A mere two years later, McLaren signed Lewis Hamilton to his 'McLaren Driver Development Support' program. The document served to make Lewis, at thirteen years old, the youngest driver in the world to have held an F1 racing contract.
As Lewis became more experienced and participated in pre-Formula One races, he distinguished himself with his dedication and gusto. The boy with the impish grin is still grinning as he poses for publicity shots at various pre-Formula One racing venues in which he has raced, including 2005's F3 Euro series, which he finished with 15 victories and 13 pole positions.
Lewis spent years racing go-karts and participating in Junior Formula One racing events, including the 2001 British F1 Renault winter series and the 2002 Formula Renault UK, as well as races in Macau and Korea's Grand Prix races. In 2005, Autosport magazine ranked Lewis 24th among their top 50 drivers.
As he has worked his way up the ranks, Lewis fast earned a reputation as an extremely gifted driver with the flair for daring racing manoeuvres that reminds many of the 'old timers', who maintained top speeds and risky moves as they raced various courses around the world. His star seems to be rising as fast and surely as one of the the first black Formula One racecar drivers in the world.
In 2007, Lewis was signed on as a full time Formula One driver for McLaren's Formula One racing team, a dream come true for the vibrant, personable racer. He made his Formula One racing debut recently at the Australian Grand Prix this part March, coming in third at the prestigious event in Melbourne.
The likeable rookie from Britain is certain to make a big splash in the world of F1 racing, and as eyes from around the world focus on the young protege, he seems to be keeping his head. The handsome, talented driver's name is becoming the keyword in racing circles around the globe as people watch, naturally, to see if his star will continue to rise or fall.
Chances are the world will see Lewis racing at upcoming events which take him to Bahrain, Spain and then the famous Monaco Grand Prix, where racing fans from around the world will most certainly be treated to a spectacular race as they watch Lewis' speed and daring as he takes the curves of one of the most famous racing events in the modern world.
His good looks and winning smile has made him popular with the ladies, and fan sites are popping up all over the Internet lauding his praises. His mixed black, white, Caribbean and British ancestry give Lewis unique features that set him apart from his peers, but it's his infectious smile and need for speed which has set him apart from others since his childhood. His swift rise to fame may equal that of golfer protege Tiger Woods during his first years in the golf world. So far, the speed with which Lewis has risen in the ranks of F1 racing hasn't seemed to affect his focus as he pursues his lifelong passion to race.
Upcoming venues, especially at Monaco, will test the young racer's mettle against more experienced drivers from around the world, but it appears that young Lewis is willing to watch, listen and learn from veterans in F1 racing, a fact that also serves to endear him to a growing fan base.
Keeping an eye on this rising star in the world of F1 racing won't be difficult at all. The world will watch with bated breath as Lewis competes in upcoming F1 racing venues, and his fans will certainly be ready to cheer him on as he attempts to make his mark in the gritty, gruelling world of Formula One racing.
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