Lewis Hamilton is one of the most successful drivers in the history of Formula 1, and the most successful driver to have come from the United Kingdom. Ever since his first race back in Australia, 2007, his star shone brightly and it has only gotten brighter over the last few years since he joined the Mercedes F1 team.
It’s remarkable to think that Hamilton has been in the sport for over ten years now, and is already gearing up for his thirteenth season in the sport, as he looks to become a six-time Formula 1 World Champion.
What does that mean for the stats and facts? Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. Hamilton has racked up an impressive list of stats along the way, some of which are probably even unknown to fans.
It isn’t just the hard stats either, but also the facts and perhaps the little quirks about the man that many people may neglect and forget. Even the most hardcore of fans may sometimes forget the odd little fact or two.
We're going to look at 20 facts about Lewis Hamilton that even some hardcore fans may not know, either because they're obscure or they simply slipped through their minds at some point. With so many facts, one or two are likely to escape our attention at some point.
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20 He Co-Starred In A Major Pop Song
This is something that die-hard F1 fans might snub their noses at, as well as being something casual fans may not know at all. In fact, it isn’t even official if he did this or not. Christina Aguilera’s song from 2018, Pipe, featured a mystery singer in the form of XDNA and his voice could be heard at points throughout the song. To the surprise of many, it seemed to be the voice of Lewis Hamilton, and there were no certain denials to put this rumour to bed. The majority, therefore, concluded it was Hamilton. As of 2019 though, there's still no official word on whether it was Hamilton or not.
19 He's Been With McLaren Since The Beginning
Hamilton started his career at McLaren, but not just in Formula 1. He was long the protégé of Ron Dennis, who was McLaren boss for much of the time that Hamilton was there, and he brought Hamilton into the McLaren and Mercedes fold (Mercedes was McLaren’s engine partner) from a young age. His first tests with the F1 team were in 2006, driving the car that Kimi Raikkonen, Juan-Pablo Montoya and Pedro De La Rosa raced before making the step up to F1 in 2007. This also came off the back of a successful campaign in GP2 in 2006 that saw him claim that year's title.
18 He Has Two Dogs
This is perhaps something that an average F1 fan probably won’t care much for but it's a fact that's easy to overlook and forget. Hamilton has long made his love known for animals and all things to do with nature, so much so he's brought two dogs into his own family. He has two Bulldogs named Roscoe and Coco who have attended races with him throughout the year. Roscoe even sat in his F1 car on one occasion. While some may criticize Hamilton for bringing them to races, there’s no rule against it and he isn’t the only human in the world to have a pet. He can do what he wants.
17 He's Polarizing
Despite the success and fame he's achieved, and the fact he's clearly one of the fastest drivers the sport has seen, opinions of him are certainly polarizing. It’s never truly clear why this is. He gets massive support at Silverstone—his home race—yet many in the UK seem not to warm up to him.
One reason for this is probably due to the fact he lives a more celebrity lifestyle, jetting around the world, meeting other celebrities and so on, unlike the majority of F1 drivers. Hamilton never lets others opinions get to him though, and it certainly hasn’t slowed him down on the track.
16 He's Driven For Only Two F1 Teams
It isn’t often that a Formula 1 driver doesn’t drive for a significant number of teams. You often see drivers swap back and forth among the grid. Look at Nico Hulkenburg. He started off at Williams, took a year out before racing with Force India, went to Sauber after one year there, then went back to Force India and is now at Renault. Hamilton, however, hasn’t been like that. He raced with McLaren from 2007-2012 and has been with Mercedes ever since the 2013 season and will probably end his career there. Even Sebastian Vettel, synonymous with Red Bull and now Ferrari, has driven for more teams, with BMW Sauber for one race in 2007, and Toro Rosso in late 2007 and all of 2008.
15 Only Lost Out On One Title In The Turbo-Hybrid Era
Hamilton’s motivation for moving to Mercedes in 2013 was having one eye on the big rule changes for 2014. Formula 1 moved away from V8 engines in 2013 to V6 turbo-hybrids from 2014 on. For the first few years, Hamilton was locked in an intense battle for the title with teammate Nico Rosberg, with Mercedes a cut above the rest of the field, bar a few wins for Red Bull and Ferrari. Hamilton has so far lost just one title in this F1 era, 2016. That was characterised by poor starts costing him positions, and a big engine failure in Malaysia while leading. Many point to his title loss as a failure. On the other hand, had he just got one of his starts better and won that race, he’d've won that year's title. So it was more down to him losing that year than people like to think.
14 All-Time Pole Position Holder In F1
You probably should know this record but it's easy to forget that this is a record Hamilton holds because for years, Michael Schumacher held the pole position record at 68. Ayrton Senna has been next up at 65. 2017 saw Hamilton take that record for himself with 69, at a soaking wet qualifying session in Monza that really showed his class. He currently holds 83 pole positions, and with his stay in F1 guaranteed until at least the end of 2020, it isn’t impossible he could set 100 + pole positions. With Ferrari and Red Bull now right on Mercedes case though, it could be much harder for Hamilton now.
13 He Doesn’t Like The Number One
Formula 1’s rules used to dictate that the winner of the previous year's title would run the number one the following year, indicating that that driver had won that title and was the reigning champion. Now, Formula 1 drivers can pick a permanent race number for themselves, and if a driver is a reigning champion they can still use that number and keep the number one side-lined—which is what Hamilton has done, and kept running his 44. He has a strong connection to that number as it's what he used in karting, and doesn’t have any attachment to number one. For marketing and recognition, we all know him as 44 now—no longer what the FIA assigned him, which used to be done also based on a teams standings from the previous year. So the numbers could change each year.
12 Was Best Friends With Nico Rosberg
Hamilton’s rivalry with Rosberg has been well documented, and the pair engaged in fierce title fights from 2014 up to 2016, plus a few much less intense scraps in 2013 when Hamilton joined Mercedes. The pair, however, used to be best friends back in the karting and junior racing days. Back then, both just wanted to rise through the ranks and there wasn’t a Formula 1 title at stake like there was in their years as Mercedes teammates. It probably isn’t a surprise that the two grew apart as the rivalry got more intense and quite bitter at times, as you surely can never be friends when locking horns like they did.
11 He Never Doubted His Mercedes Move
Hamilton may be working wonders in that Mercedes right now, but many doubted his move from McLaren in 2012, with good reason. Back then, the McLaren was the fastest car. Mercedes, meanwhile, had won just one race that year, and the car had slipped into F1’s midfield and was clearly chewing its tires up quicker than others. Hamilton knew, however, he was making the move to help cement a legacy from 2014 onwards and has always claimed he never doubted the move and knew it would turn out good. Some are not so convinced, but if Hamilton was, it really did come good in a big way.
10 He's Had Major incidents With Felipe Massa
2011 was perhaps one of Hamilton’s weaker seasons, despite the fact that he won three races and each of those were well fought and impressive wins. He also took the only non-Red Bull pole position of that year, but things were not so rosy behind the scenes. Red Bull was clearly a cut above the rest that year, so it was hard for Hamilton to mount a title challenge. On top of that, he had several on-track incidents with Felipe Massa, namely in India, Japan, and Singapore, to name a few. The pair have always had a good relationship but that year really pushed things to the limit between the two.
9 Gravel In China Is Not His Best Friend
Hamilton has an impressive record in China, with five wins and five pole positions at the Shanghai circuit. He's clearly gelled well with the track. The gravel at the pit lane entry though was not his best friend, as it's where the title slipped away from him in 2007. In a wet-dry race, McLaren left Hamilton out on older intermediate/wet tires and needed to pit him. It was crucial, as Hamilton could have wrapped the title up at this race. As he came into the pits though, he skidded into the gravel at the pit entry and got stuck, ending his hopes of winning the title that day. He lost the title to Kimi Raikkonen, who won that race and the next one, by one point.
8 Was Outqualified By Only One Teammate
Hamilton’s qualifying record has been immensely impressive, but there has been just one teammate to outqualify him over a season: Nico Rosberg. When the two became teammates in 2014, many expected Hamilton to be the better one to qualify, but perhaps Rosberg pushed him to the limits in the race. Well, as it turned out, Rosberg proved to be a very handy qualifier. In that year's 20 races, he took pole position 11 times, and even though he lost that year's title, he impressed many by beating the man regarded as the current fastest in F1. It's a small wonder Hamilton readdressed the balance in 2015.
7 Lives A Jet-Setting Life
Hamilton leads a jet-setting life, quite literally. He has his own private jet that he uses to get around the world and go from race to race. I mean, why wouldn’t you? He loves to travel, visit places and enjoy himself and do things he could never imagine doing as a kid. It is this that has led to some people, perhaps rather unfairly, criticize him and say it "makes him lose his focus" when clearly it isn’t, considering he's now a five-time world champion of the sport. If you want to go out and enjoy yourself, then you go out and enjoy yourself.
6 Once Crashed a Supercar In Monaco
This happened back in 2015, not long after he had claimed the second of his world titles with Mercedes and his third overall. He claimed that title early in the USA with three races of the year still to go and went to party in Monaco. The actual details are a little sketchy, but he apparently crashed his rather expensive—and what was possibly a Pagani—supercar in Monaco. It was nothing serious, as it was just a small graze and probably more down to Hamilton being rather tired, but its still something a lot of people forget about.
5 He Put A Nagging Record To Bed In 2018
There's a record Hamilton himself has had since he’s won world titles a bit earlier in the season with races still to run. In 2015 and 2017, he won the title early, with three races left in 2015 and two in 2017. Hamilton won none of those races, nor did he claim pole in them. 2015 Saw Rosberg claim pole and win those races, with Valtteri Bottas claiming pole in the 2017 races, and winning one with Vettel winning the other. 2018 saw him put this "never won a race after winning the title early" record to bed in 2018, with pole position in the last two races and winning them both too.
4 Won A Huge Number Of Races At Silverstone
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix in 2008, but after that, he never looked close to winning the race again. Poor cars meant he wouldn’t win it again until 2014, despite taking pole the year before. Since then though, he's been nearly unstoppable, with wins in 2015 and 2016 to add to 2014 and 2008, putting joint most wins at the track in F1 with Jim Clark and Alain Prost who also have five wins at the circuit. It’s an impressive record, and there is every chance he could claim the most wins ever at the circuit before he retires from F1.
3 Originally Hated The Halo
This is perhaps a surprise to some as Hamilton has always been quiet, but largely advocated for safety. After seeing and trying the Halo safety device back in 2015, however, Hamilton was not a big fan, especially with how the device looked. A presentation was given to all the drivers prior to its introduction in 2018 though, and that changed Hamilton’s mindset, along with a few other drivers. Most can agree it's not an aesthetically pleasing device, but surely it never was going to be? At the end of the day, it’s a lifesaver and needed on cars. Hamilton was swayed, and he and others are rather grateful for its introduction.
2 Was Bullied In School
Maybe this isn’t a huge surprise in some ways, since a lot of us were bullied at school. Hamilton was no exception. He's spoken before of how he was bullied as a kid at school, most recently in the "a letter to my younger self" that F1 did with Hamilton and other drivers, which I urge you to go and watch. It certainly helped to make the five-time world champion the man he is today, and to not let others' criticism of himself get to him, and to just be the man that he is. A lot of inspiration can be taken from how Hamilton has proved the bullies wrong.
1 He's Won In Every Year Of F1 He's Entered
Lewis Hamilton is high up on the all-time winners list; he's second on the list with 73. That’s not the only impressive record the Briton holds though when it comes to winning. He's the only driver in F1 history who's won a race in every single season he's competed in. His first came in his rookie year back in 2007, in that year's Canadian Grand Prix, which he dominated. Aptly enough, his last win, Abu Dhabi 2018, was also dominant. He will win more races, yes, and it will be interesting to see if he can surpass Michael Schumacher’s 91 wins record.
Sources: Sky Sports, Wikipedia, Autoweek, Race Fans, Planet F1, Daily Mail, GP Fans