Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE HonFREng (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. A six-time Formula One World Champion, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport, and considered by some to be the greatest of all time. He won his first World Drivers' Championship with McLaren in 2008, before moving to Mercedes in 2013, with whom he has won a further five titles. One of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, Hamilton's six World Championship titles is the second-most of all time, as is his tally of 84 race victories and 151 podium finishes. He currently holds the records for the all-time most career points (3443), the all-time most pole positions (88), the most grand slams in a season (3) and the most points in a season (413).
Born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Hamilton enjoyed a successful ascent up the racing ladder and was signed to the McLaren young driver programme in 1998. This later resulted in a Formula One drive with McLaren in 2007, making Hamilton the first and only black driver to race in the sport. That season, Hamilton set numerous records as he finished runner-up to Kimi Räikkönen by one point. The following season, he won his maiden title in dramatic fashion—making a crucial overtake on the last corner of the last lap in the last race of the season—to become the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history. After four more years with McLaren without finishing higher than fourth in the drivers' standings, Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013, reuniting with his childhood karting teammate, Nico Rosberg.
Changes to regulations for 2014 mandating the use of turbo-hybrid engines contributed to the start of a highly successful period for Hamilton, during which he has won five further World Championship titles. Hamilton won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 during an intense and sometimes volatile rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg, to match his hero Ayrton Senna's three World Championships. Following Rosberg's retirement, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton's closest rival in two intense championship battles, and Hamilton twice overturned mid-season points deficits to claim consecutive titles for the second time in his career in 2017 and 2018. A third World Drivers' Championship followed in 2019 to complete a hat-trick of consecutive titles, bringing his tally to six overall, second only to seven-time World Drivers' Champion Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton has been credited with furthering Formula One's global following by appealing to a broader audience outside the sport, in part due to his high-profile lifestyle and other ventures, including his environmental activism and exploits in music and fashion. Hamilton has been targeted by racist abuse throughout his career, and has been outspoken in his criticism of racial politics in Formula One as well as calling for greater diversity in the sport. His treatment by British newspapers has also been criticised for carrying racial bias, and some have pointed to Hamilton's race and physical appearance as reasons behind his perceived unpopularity among a portion of motorsport fans