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Lewis Hamilton

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Biography

Lewis Hamilton continued his progress in the Intercontinental A (1999), Formula A (2000) and Formula Super A (2001) ranks, and became European Champion in 2000 with maximum points. In Formula A and Formula Super A, racing for TeamMBM.com, his team mate was Nico Rosberg, who would later drive for the Williams team in Formula One. Following his karting successes, the British Racing Drivers' Club made him a ‘Rising Star’ Member in 2000.

Hamilton began his car racing career in the 2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series, finishing fifth overall. This led to a full 2002 Formula Renault UK campaign with Manor Motorsport. Hamilton finished third overall with three wins and three pole positions. He remained with Manor for another year and won the championship with ten wins and 419 points to the two wins and 377 points of this nearest rival, Alex Lloyd. Having clinched the championship, Hamilton missed the last two races of the season to make his debut in the season finale of the British Formula Three Championship. Here he was less successful: in the first race he was forced out with a puncture, and in the second he crashed out and was taken to hospital after a collision with his team-mate Tor Graves. He did show his speed at both the Macau and Korean Grands Prix. In the latter he qualified on pole position in his first visit to the Korean track and in only his fourth race outing in a F3 car.

By finishing third at Magny-Cours behind Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa, Hamilton extended his lead in the Driver's Championship to 14 points. This was the first time in his F1 career that he finished a race in a lower position than he started, and the first time he had been passed on the racetrack in Formula One. At Silverstone, Hamilton's home Grand Prix, he started from pole and led for the first 16 laps of the race, thanks to Raikkonnen. He was unable to maintain this pace for the full race, finishing 40 seconds behind Räikkönen and Alonso but still leading the championship.

During qualifying for the European Grand Prix, Hamilton crashed at the Schumacher chicane after a problem with the wheel nut air gun used on his car. He was taken to the circuit's medical centre on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and drip, but was conscious throughout. His Q3 time was surpassed by all other competitors, and thus he qualified in tenth position. After a final medical check on Sunday morning, Hamilton was cleared to race. During a heavy rainstorm which caused the race to be red-flagged, Hamilton slid off into a gravel trap. However as he kept his engine running he was lifted back on to the circuit and able rejoin the race after the restart. His 9th place finish in this race was both his first non-podium and non-points finish, enabling title contenders Alonso and Massa to reduce Hamilton's lead in the Drivers' Championship. After Alonso was relegated five places for obstructing Hamilton in qualifying, Hamilton was able to extend his championship lead by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. Kimi Räikkönen stayed within five seconds of him for the entire race (excluding pit stop periods). However, the team was docked all of their constructor's points due to the incident in qualifying.



 


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