It is quite incredible to think that I first seriously started enjoying Formula 1 in 2007 and so with a certain Briton there is one thing we share. Our 100 race record.. except for the fact he's raced in them and I've watched them but still... same difference. So on my journey and adventure through Formula One I want to share with you my top ten moments of Lewis Hamilton's career that I've thoroughly enjoyed watching.
10. Silverstone 2009
I hear you scream WHY?! I was there, not only did he make a dream of mine come true (a personalised signed photograph) but because of his gesture to the fans. Despite a warning of a severe punishment Hamilton went ahead and 'doughnutted' for the fans at the end of the race as a thank you for the continuation of their support in a difficult year. The gesture demonstrated his appreciation for the fans but also that he understands that the fans are a part of the team; an essential I believe for the success of a driver in the marketing industry.
9. Malaysia 2010
Any great F1 driver must have the ability to fight and battle for position and the Malaysian GP proved to be the race that Hamilton would clearly demonstrate his never give up attitude as he took his victims one by one after starting 20th on the grid he finally finished 6th an incredible achievement and testament to his mental strength.
8. Monaco 2008
Every driver has somebody in Motorsport who they have looked up to and respected and for Lewis Hamilton that somebody was Ayrton Senna making his 2008 Monaco win that little bit more special. Monaco held a special place in Ayrton's heart and this is the same with Hamilton who see's Monaco as his second home grand prix after recently moving to Monaco. The glitz, glamour and magic of Monaco is perfectly suited to Hamilton's nature and with the right car underneath him in '08 it seemed like the perfect time to win at the location that meant so much to him.
7. USA 2007
Lewis's win in the USA was the home of his first back to back win in his F1 career and what a race. After defending against his win-hungry team mate Fernando Alonso the Brit managed to bring it home for the win making it McLaren's first 1-2 at the circuit and their first USA race win since 2003 with Mika Hakkinen.
6. Hungary 2009
2009 was a season for McLaren to forget and after a difficult start to the season it was a great moment for all F1 fans alike to see the team and Lewis return to form at the Hungaroring at the 11th race of the season. McLaren is a highly respected team in the paddock and for many it was worrying to see a team that had just won the WDC in 2008 to be struggling as much as they were so their return to form showed that any struggles can be overcome if the structure and finance is there to support the development.
5. Anything you can do I can do better
2007 saw one of the tightest inter team battles between Hamilton and Alonso as the Spaniard was surprised at the pace and ability of his rookie team mate. But what was it about the relationship that I enjoyed? Their determination to beat each other was sometimes a detriment but McLaren worked with Mercedes to create an incredibly fitting yet hilarious commercial using the rivalry as the theme. It was from then that I really began noticing marketing in F1 which has led me to aspire to one day work in F1 marketing, social media and communications.
4. Australia 2007
Hamilton's F1 debut, my F1 re-introduction and this is where it all began. He is now into his 6th F1 season and it all began with his first podium in his first F1 race after an incredible first corner overtake. From that moment he showed his ability and his potential to those out there who doubted McLaren for giving a F1 rookie his debut and he has gone on to change F1 as we know it ever since.
3. Canada 2007 and 2012
A special moment for many British fans. 2007 saw Hamilton's eagerly anticipated first win and a huge moment of relief for the Brit's who had been waiting since Jenson Button's win Hungary in 2006 for a British win and the prospects of a British Champion. 2012 was special for another reason. It marked Hamilton's come back to form. After a difficult 2011 shrouded in controversy Hamilton said himself he needed a consistent 2012 which he had had and Canada was his reward. An incredible win and proof that Hamilton is back and with more determination and desire to win than ever.
2. Silverstone 2008
Winning your home grand prix is an opportunity that all F1 drivers want to experience, a moment in time in which they can say thank you to their supporters in front of a largely dominant home crowd. In the wet and the grey of the British summer Hamilton showed his worth and why he is known for his ability to drive the wheels off his car in the wet.
1. Brazil 2008
What else could it really be? To win the WDC title by one point on a last lap, last corner overtake is a remarkable feat and is a testament to Hamilton's 'never give up' attitude. Hamilton's passion, determination, skill and aspiration accumulated into one defining moment; that same moment that won him his dream, to be the best in the world. With his family there to celebrate with him, his exuberant team in their rocket red shirts and happiness flowing as fast as the champagne it was a moment that Lewis will surely never forget and neither will I.
Hamilton's 100 races in Formula One certainly have been a rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows with many thinking that he had lost his 'mojo' in 2011 but in 2012 so far he has proved he is back with a bang and I wouldn't hold my breath in saying that it won't be long before he is champion again in Formula One... whether that is with McLaren or not time will tell as Lewis is due to announce his contractual agreements before the end of the 2012 season.
I would like to leave on this note... Lewis Hamilton is more than just a racing driver, he is a media personality in the UK and on a global scale but there comes a point when he is analysed too deeply in the media for his off track behaviour. At the end of the day he is a young man who is in an incredible position who uses his position to give back to those who are not as fortunate as him but he should also be allowed to have a good time and enjoy life.
Lewis is an inspiration to many in the UK and across the world, myself included and as he celebrates his 100th Grand Prix this weekend why not celebrate with him and relive some of his best moments in the sport and how he has developed and shaped the world of Motorsport on a national and global scale. He is after all a World Champion.