BRITAIN’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN CARIBBEAN HERITAGE.
Formula 1 World Champion
Ten years ago McLaren took the plunge with unknown driver Lewis Hamilton when they announced he would drive for them alongside Fernando Alonso. The following year he took to the Formula 1 track for his debut season. He gained six pole positions, won four races and was an agonising one point away from winning the world title. Despite the loss, everyone could see a legend had been born and a year later he became world champion aged just 23. He was the youngest and first black driver to win the title. Last year he became one of the few drivers in F1 history to win three world championships. It meant he drew level with his idol Ayrton Senna. The scary factor for his rivals is that Lewis is getting faster with each successive season. There is every chance he will go on to surpass the record world seven titles won by Michael Schumacher. Not bad for a boy from Stevenage whose father had to work four jobs to earn enough money to keep his son in go-karting. Lewis was a precocious talent who signed to the McLaren Young Drivers’ Development programme when he was 12. He went on to win pretty much every race he entered including the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championships. He stayed with McLaren until 2013 when he switched to Mercedes. The move put him in a more competitive car and 12 months later he won his second world title. His 2015 victory broke all sorts of records; he is the most successful English driver of all time; the first British driver to retain the world title; the most successful British driver of all time in terms of actual F1 victories and he sits third in the all-time winners’ list. He was awarded an MBE in 2009.