How Lewis Hamilton has ascended to overtake all of Formula One racing

Lewis Hamilton’s tenure as “the fastest man in the world” ends in mid-December, at which point he’ll be poised to renew his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel in the season finale. Hamilton did bring a…

How Lewis Hamilton has ascended to overtake all of Formula One racing

Lewis Hamilton’s tenure as “the fastest man in the world” ends in mid-December, at which point he’ll be poised to renew his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel in the season finale. Hamilton did bring a ton of wins and F1 pole positions to the 2016 Mercedes F1 team, making him the first driver since Damon Hill in 1991 to win consecutive drivers’ titles. This year, the British driver and his F1 teammate Valtteri Bottas, won seven races between them, while a third Mercedes car finished ahead of Vettel in four races, meaning that Mercedes will lead the championship come Dec. 17.

While Lewis’ performance may continue to be eye-catching, it’s his role off the track that may have the greatest impact. When Lewis, born in London and raised in Stevenage, England, made his debut in the IndyCar Series in 2006, he did so with no sponsorship, no team and just two wins in his first 20 races.

That made him only the fourth person to race in the IndyCar Series with no sponsor — with the other three being Michael Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Alexander Rossi. Incredibly, as Hamilton’s position proved, he could reach parity with his peers, rallying to win the 2006 Verizon IndyCar Series championship despite his lack of financial support.

By 2012, however, as Lewis’ F1 wins grew more impressive, so did his financial resources and promotional prowess. The driver, the team and the series all joined forces for the company of his sponsors, who had now joined forces in Formula One — his full-time motorsport series — with Liberty Media. Lewis’ star continued to rise, especially as he and Mercedes captured the 2017 Drivers’ Championship while setting a new F1 record for world title wins.

Now that Sebastian Vettel has won the last three F1 drivers’ titles, it’s time for his teammates to team up with Lewis to possibly re-write the record books. For supporters of the sport, a reunion between Lewis and his fellow drivers — his longtime and often-rival Lewis Hamilton, recent teammate Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel — could be one of the few unifying moments in Formula One racing this year. If the past is any indication, perhaps Hamilton’s long-awaited chance at a sixth title will come this year.

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