Fast cars. There’s a thrill to them, an excitement that doesn’t compare to anything else. And if you’re getting paid to drive fast, then you’re living the dream.
That’s life for Formula 1 Champion Lewis Hamilton. Here’s the thing: he doesn’t just get paid to drive fast. He drives fast and he wins. The British racing driver now has five World Championship titles, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
In case you run into him the next time you watch Formula 1, well, you’re going to need something to talk about. Don’t worry, we’ve got your talking points right here. (Might help when you ask for an autograph!)
1. Hamilton set firsts and broke records in the last season.
Last season, Hamilton set not just one, but two new standards in the world of Formula 1. With a total of 408, he officially scored the most points in a season by any driver, beating Sebastian Vettel’s 387 points in 2013. Hamilton also became the first driver ever to have his total number of career points exceed 3000.
2. In every season he has joined so far, he has won at least one race.
Hamilton is the only driver in the world to have a streak of this kind! Sure, he started his career with a top-level team and car, but it’s something else to come out with a win in every single season he’s participated in since 2001.
3. He started racing at age eight.
For plenty of racing drivers, the love for the sport starts with Karting. Hamilton is no different: he started driving at age eight.
By age 10, he had already won the British Karting Championship, the STP Karting Championship, and the Mercedes Champions of the Future Series. That last one was where his future sponsor, McLaren Mercedes, first noticed him.
4. He was the youngest driver to be on the radar of a Formula 1 team.
Dude, can you imagine being a professional race car driver at age 13?
After catching the attention of McLaren Mercedes at the Mercedes Champions of the Future Series, Hamilton was signed on for the ‘Mercedes Drivers Development Support Programme’ in 1998 at the age of 13. That made him the youngest driver to have ever been contacted by a professional driving team.
5. He is the highest paid British sportsman.
Okay, how about making more money than a professional fighter? As of 2018, Hamilton signed a £120 million three-year contract with Mercedes, just beating UFC’s Conor McGregor for the highest-paid British sportsman today.
Hamilton’s deal comes out to £40 million a year, or £770,000 a week.
6. He wears a cross to all his races.
“Anything can happen any day, but I feel God has his hand over me,” Hamilton said in an interview with The Guardian.
Raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, Hamilton has always been open about his devotion and faith. He’s said in several interviews that he believes his faith is an important part of his racing and career, especially given the high risk of the sport.
7. He isn’t just a race car driver.
In and out of the car, this man is an athlete.
In school, he was in the same football team as Ashley Young, the striker for Aston Villa. He was also on the school team for cricket, basketball, javelin and discus.
8. His greatest fear is sharks.
Hey, he’s human too!
Sure, he loves sports and other extreme activities, but Hamilton has admitted to the Mirror UK that sharks are where he draws the line. During his 2018 winter break in Melbourne, he couldn’t go surfing in an area because it wasn’t netted off to sharks.
Formula 1 will soon be streaming live on FOX+!