Intermittent rainfall meant all drivers stopped multiple times between wet and dry tyres and, with three laps remaining and Massa leading the race, Hamilton was running in fifth and needed only to maintain position to secure the title.
[63], For the 2010 season Hamilton drove alongside Jenson Button, who joined McLaren after Heikki Kovalainen's departure to Lotus Racing. However, on the final lap he and Vettel made up an 18-second gap to overtake Timo Glock, who was struggling on dry tyres, on the last corner to re-take fifth place and deny race-winner Massa the title by one point. [258] In Japan, Hamilton took his first Suzuka pole[259] and took his eighth win of the season, while title-rival Vettel retired after four laps, extending his championship lead to 59 points. [45] With just two races to go, Hamilton led the World Championship by five points from Massa.

[98] Massa accused Hamilton of being "incapable of using his brain," during a post race interview and grabbed Hamilton's shoulder before sarcastically retorting "Good job, bum"; Hamilton told the Brazilian to leave him alone.

Upon receiving the gift, Hamilton paid tribute to the Brazilian three-time World Champion, saying "He inspired me to be where I am today so to receive this is the greatest honour". Hamilton was back to his winning ways at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he claimed his 156th podium, breaking the all time record and at the Belgian Grand Prix, both times winning comfortably and leading every lap in those two races. [205] The next four rounds saw Hamilton take four consecutive wins for the third time in his career as he reclaimed the lead in the Drivers' standings. [296][297] Hamilton took full advantage of another error from title-rival Vettel, who spun on the first lap as Hamilton passed him around the outside, to take victory at Monza in front of the Tifosi after passing pole-sitter Räikkönen with eight laps to go. He won from pole in a Mercedes 1–2 finish in the next three races in the United States,[217] Mexico[218] and Brazil[219] meaning he entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix needing to win with Rosberg finishing fourth or lower to win the title. This one still feels just as special if not more special [...]. Lewis Hamilton started his professional Formula One career in 2007, driving for McLaren.He won his first title in 2008 with the team to become the then-youngest champion in the history of the sport. He finished second behind Rosberg, despite having zero water pressure for the last sixteen laps. [268] Mercedes capped off the season with their fourth 1–2 as Bottas won the race from pole with Hamilton unable to pass despite several attempts in the closing laps. [196] In the second race of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton again qualified on pole.

[112] Hamilton took his third consecutive third-place finish in China, with Nico Rosberg and Button ahead. Ultimately neither team was penalised; McLaren appealed. [92][93] In Germany, Hamilton took his second victory of the season,[94] before a chaotic race in Hungary in which Hamilton had five pitstops and a drive-through penalty after which he finished fourth. [174] Mercedes later apologised for the mistake. [12] He was unable to complete qualifying so started in tenth position. In windy conditions, Hamilton claimed pole position and his 117th front row start, setting a new record for all-time front row starts, surpassing Michael Schumacher. [248], A hat-trick of victories after the summer break saw Hamilton regain the lead of the championship. [8], Hamilton finished third at Magny-Cours behind Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa, to extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 14 points. In the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton led the race, but retired on lap 20 due to a rear brake problem, his first technical-related retirement in Formula One. His 2nd place finish meant he equaled Michael Schumacher's record of 155 podium finishes.[322]. Hamilton chose the number 44, which he used during his karting days. Hamilton engaged in a close duel with Rosberg throughout the race. [81], At the start of the 2011 season, Hamilton dismissed Red Bull Racing as "just a drinks company". [213] Rosberg reclaimed the championship lead in Singapore, qualifying on pole while Hamilton was forced to settle for third after struggling with mechanical issues and driving errors. [117], Hamilton achieved his first victory of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix, his third win in Montreal, after overtaking Alonso in the closing stages. [292] In the race, Hamilton took one of the best wins of his career as he worked his way through the midfield and handled changing weather conditions, compounded by another mistake from Vettel who crashed into the barriers from the lead of his home race. In the next few corners, Rosberg's car entered an incorrect engine mode due to an error the German had made on the formation lap, meaning he was slower than Hamilton coming out of Turn 3, and Hamilton went to overtake for the lead. [233] At the next race in Sochi, Hamilton struggled for pace and finished fourth, while teammate Bottas took his first Grand Prix win. [140], New driver number regulations for the 2014 season allowed drivers to pick a unique car number to use for their entire career. [95] He finished fourth at Monza after a race long battle with Michael Schumacher,[96][97] In the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Massa which left Hamilton needing a new front wing and serving a drive through penalty. [120] Hamilton, along with championship leader Fernando Alonso, retired from the Belgian Grand Prix after being involved in a multiple car accident on the first corner of the race for which Romain Grosjean was deemed responsible and was given a one-race ban. [162], Before the start of the season, Hamilton announced he would not be exercising his option of switching his car number to 1 for the 2015 season, as was his prerogative as reigning World Champion, and would instead continue to race with his career number 44. [7] A week later Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix, becoming the first Briton since John Watson in 1983 to win a Formula One race in the US. [91] Hamilton finished fourth in Valencia and Silverstone. [27], A month after Alonso's departure, it was confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen would drive the second car for McLaren in 2008 alongside Hamilton,[28] who signed a new five-year multimillion-pound contract to stay with the team until 2012.
Hamilton's streak of wins ended at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, due to the Mercedes W11 struggling with tyre wear caused by high temperatures. [242] However, with Hamilton being forced to pit for a loose headrest a couple of laps earlier, Vettel emerged in front and held off Hamilton to move 14 points clear in the standings. In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton partnered defending double World Champion Fernando Alonso who had joined McLaren after leaving Renault. [303][304], Hamilton took a controversial victory in Russia where, after falling behind Vettel in the pit stops before passing him on track, Mercedes ordered teammate Bottas to gift Hamilton the lead of the race to further extend his championship lead over Vettel. [44] In Fuji, Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty for forcing other cars off the track when he made an error on the first lap. [148] Mercedes continued to dominate in Spain where Hamilton once again set pole position and went on to win the race, his fourth successive win. Just before the second safety car period was ending, Vettel rear-ended Hamilton, accusing his title rival of brake testing him, though FIA telemetry data showed that Hamilton had not.

[42] The Italian Grand Prix saw Hamilton finish seventh, and Hamilton's lead in the championship was reduced to one point. Hamilton won from pole in Belgium[249][250] and a week later in Italy he surpassed Michael Schumacher for the all-time most pole positions[251] and went on to win the race. When asked to why he had been targeted by the stewards so much, Hamilton replied in jest, "Maybe it's because I'm black, that's what Ali G says".

[197] In China, Hamilton did not set a time in qualifying and started at the back of the grid. Despite the spin, Hamilton recovered to finish in second place while Vettel stormed to victory.

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