Lewis Hamilton: A Closer Look at the Making of an F1 Legend

lewis_hamiltonWho comes to mind when you think about basketball? It is most likely Michael Jordan. What about Formula One?  If you are an older fan you might say, Michael Schumacher, Senna or Prost. However, today you have to consider Lewis if you were to write a history of F1. There is no denying the impact the Briton has had on changing the sport altogether.

In fact, there is little to hate about this racing idol; he is a go-getter, tough-as-nails driver, and a party animal.  After a race in Russia, you will find him at a fashion show in Paris or in some kind of traffic mishap in Florida.   His presence is felt in every race and if you are an avid F1 fan, why not take a closer look at this racing revelation?

Background

Hamilton’s journey started way back in the Caribbean Island of Grenada. Yes, you are shaking your head because you didn’t have an idea that his parental grandfather immigrated to England from here and worked in London’s Underground Transport system. Hamilton was born in Stevenage England on January 7th 1985.

The Racing Story

His racing instincts were realised early. Indeed, he approached Ron Dennis, the McLaren don, when he was only 10 years and told him he would one day like to race for him. It might have seemed over-ambitious then but three years later, he was signed up for the Young Driver Support Programme by Mercedes and McLaren.

At the age of 6 years, Hamilton got a go-kart as a Christmas gift from his dad and the rest, as they say, is history. By the age of 8, he was already karting at the Rye House Kart Circuit and winning races. With Super Series and a British Championship title, it was just a matter of time before F1 big shots started noticing him.

More incredible feats were to come with Formula A and Formula Super A titles, and later in Formula Renault and British Formula 3 Championship. By 2004 the only thing that prevented teams such as McLaren from signing the Briton then was funding. Indeed, McLaren wanted to sign the young driver but BMW, their engine partners, were not willing to fund his career.

Formula One Comes Calling

2007 saw the entry of Lewis Hamilton into Formula One at McLaren. The F1 world was given a glimpse of future victory when he came 3rd in the inaugural Australian GP setting a record.  He came 2nd in the next four races and won in Canada and U.S GP. In 2008, the young driver pushed Alonso, his teammate, and won the title.

With McLaren struggling for form, the restless Hamilton moved to Mercedes in 2013 to partner with former karting teammate Nico Rosberg. The year 2014 provided the most competitive racing feats since the days of Schumacher and Alonso. The race went down to the wire when Hamilton won in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and took the title.

2015 was another great year for the British driver with his impressive driving outshining Rosberg. With three titles, Hamilton now joins the book of records as the British driver with the most F1 wins equalling Sir Jackie Stewart. Can’t wait to see what other records the amazing driver will break.

4 Reasons Formula One Drivers Take Go Kart Racing Seriously 

kartingIf you are a motoring buff, it is highly likely that you have dreamt of sitting behind a Formula One wheel. However, any good F1 driver will tell you it is not that easy. If you check the history of the current F1 drivers on the grid, it has marks of raw battling except for a few who have the funds to buy their seats. If you are an aspiring F1 driver, it is time to start preparing and it all starts with Go Kart racing for many good reasons.

You just have to look at the roster of drivers in the grid today to appreciate the reason kart racing is not just a pastime. From Lewis Hamilton to Fernando Alonso, all the champions have fought their way up the ladder through the grueling Go kart racing. Here are some reasons you need to start taking your go kart sessions more seriously:

1.       Rich Heritage

Since Art Ingels conceptualized the art of kart racing over half a century ago, the sport has consistently produced future Formula One and World Rallying Champions. Since 1956, the sport has spread across the globe with most countries holding their own national championship titles. Most racing legends from Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Jan Magnussen, Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen among others started out in Go Kart racing. If you want to earn that coveted F1 seat, it is time to start taking your racing seriously.

2.       Regulated Sporting

The beauty of Go Karting is the fact that just like Formula One, it is a highly regulated sport. This not only makes it globally acceptable but also improves the safety of racers. The Commission Internationale De Darting (CIK-FIA)   modulates the sport and ensures all championships are held under its stringent regulations.

Other recognized racing championships include International Kart Federation (IFK) in the U.S, National Schools Karting Association (NatSKA), Australian Karting Association (AKA) and Association of British Kart Clubs (ABkC). The CIK-FIA organizes the world championships through top-level classes including KF1, KF2, KF3, KZ1, KZ2 and Super Kart. The Association of British Kart Clubs ABkC manages the popular Super One series including the MSA, Rotax series and TKM, all in different age categories.

3.       Race Craft

One of the greatest lessons you will learn in Go Kart racing is how to control a racing car and of course data analytics. You need to manage your car perfectly when negotiating corners and if you have a dependable manager, this is where your path to F1 starts. You need to learn everything there is to learn about gear control, safety precautions, overtaking maneuvers and so much more.  While karting might just be a pastime for you today, you never know where the path might lead in future. The secret is to learn as much as you can.

4.       Race Options

Whichever skill you want to hone, there is always a race to suit you. Whether you want to work on your speed or endurance, you will get a perfect race to hone your skills. There are sprint races, endurance and speedway races and you just have to pick a good circuit to improve your skills.

Isn’t it time to start taking your Go Kart racing more seriously? You just have to look at the amazing driving by Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton in F1 to appreciate what kart racing can do for you.

Go Kart Racing: The Theatre of Future Formula One Champions

Go Kart racing might be a pastime activity for most folks but for any aspiring Formula One driver, this is where skills are honed.  It is an exciting sport for a weekend but for F1 champions this is a serious theatre where driving expertise is sharpened over the years. If you are an avid kart racer, you need to start taking the action more seriously because you might just land yourself a coveted seat in the top F1 teams.

To appreciate why Go karting is so highly appreciated within the F1 paddock, take a look at some of the famous drivers who made it from this level:

Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna 1981

1.       Ayrton Senna

The Brazilian is still considered one of the greatest racers to ever get behind the wheel of an F1 car, and for many good reasons. Senna was a remarkable driver and throughout his F1 career, he still expressed his admiration of kart racing. In fact, he still participated in the sport despite his high standing within the F1 family. At the age of 13, Senna was already racing and he contested the Karting World Championship from 1978 to 1982, finishing runners up in two years.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER AND RUBENS BARRICELLO AT THE "KART-EXPLOSION" RACE IN COLOGNE AT THE K.LN ARENA2.       Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher is still considered one of the most successful F1 drivers in the modern era with 7 world championship tiles under his belt. The mercurial German started his remarkable racing journey in Go Kart racing with his first kart built by his father at the age of four years and his thirst for racing saw him take a driving license at the age of 12. He won the German Junior Kart Championship in 1982 and other numerous German and European kart championships in his early racing years.

alonso3.       Fernando Alonso

He is the most experienced F1 driver in the 2016 grid and the Spaniard has said he still has many years left to race. He is a 2-time F1 champion and his journey to stardom started way back with karting at the age of 3 years. He won four karting Spanish championships back to back with the support of his father between 1993 and 1996. He also won the Inter-A title in 1997 and 1998 and also performed well in the European Kart championship before moving to the bigger stage.

4.       Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton is one of the greatest drivers in the Formula One grid but his prowess in kart racing is also legendary. His story is one of determination and raw power which saw him beat all odds starting with karting at the age of 8 years. He is a legend at the Rye House Kart Circuit where he started racing and has won numerous British Companionships together with Super One series. His karting success saw him join the elite British Racing Drivers’ Club as a rising star in 2000. He raced against Schumacher in 2001 and earned the praise of the high-performing F1 driver.

Nico_Rosberg_and_Lewis_Hamilton5.       Nico Rosberg

The current Mercedes driver rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Hamilton started way back when the two were kart racing. He started Go Kart racing at the age of 6 years and was later to team up with Hamilton in 2000.

Of course there are more kart champions who have gone ahead to dazzle in Formula One, including Sebastian Vettel, the late Jules Bianchi, Mark Webber, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat, all who started kart racing below the age of 10 years.