Formula 1 history had an important entry when Lewis Hamilton started his racing career with McLaren. Between 2007 and 2012, he served as the face of the team, serving as one of the two drivers, having displayed not only his incredible abilities but also his personal growth and successes during this time. But did you know that Hamilton’s connection with the team goes back to his karting days?
When Hamilton was just thirteen years old, McLaren’s then-boss, Ron Dennis, welcomed him into the junior driver support program, which indicated that the team had already developed some faith in his potential. At the age of 22, the Stevenage-born driver debuted in Formula 1 in 2007.
OTD: 24th Nov 2006, McLaren made an announcement on the signing of Lewis Hamilton joining F1 and driving for the team from 2007. It’s been nothing but success for Lewis and I wish him even more 😌😌😌❤️❤️❤️@LewisHamilton @MercedesAMGF1 @McLarenF1 pic.twitter.com/Ln3qnMwBVd
— Daisy Sirma44🇰🇪 (@DaisySirma) November 23, 2022
From clinching his debut Grand Prix in Canada to clinching his first yet controversial championship win with McLaren in 2008, he cemented his reputation as a formidable driver and an icon of British racing.
Figures behind Hamilton’s earnings from McLaren
In recent times, Lewis Hamilton was one of the most highly-paid Formula 1 drivers until reigning champion Max Verstappen stole that title. Regardless, the 38-year-old driver had a humble start at McLaren when it came to pay. Back in the day, sometime in 2007, rookie Hamilton received around $300,000 but with bonuses that pumped up his salary to up to $1 million.
During Lewis Hamilton’s stint at McLaren (2007-2012), Mclaren achieved 30 poles in total, 26 of which came from Lewis. It’s worth mentioning that his teammates were: Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Heikki Kovaleinen. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/GzLdcwqWsI
— TheF1Goat (@f1_goat) September 28, 2020
The British sensation rose to fame quite quickly and so did his pay. In about a year, he was being paid a staggering $10 million as per reports. This shift was a direct result of his sheer effort towards his performance.
But why did Lewis Hamilton break ties with McLaren?
After winning the Drivers’ Championship with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton left the team in 2012. Following a slump in his career in the early 2010s, Hamilton made this decision to resurrect his career. Even with an early success, following his first championship win, the McLaren garage encountered challenges. During this time, his McLaren was plagued by technical issues, which frequently compromised his performance when it counted most.
Rumour has it that legendary Niki Lauda was instrumental in convincing Hamilton to go to Mercedes. Other theories claim that it might be linked to his desire for less commercial work and his desire to “grow up.” However, the British driver too had revealed his motive behind the move.
Niki Lauda convinced Micheal Schumacher to join Ferrari when they were 3rd in constructors.
M.Schumacher became a 7x WDC .
Niki Lauda convinced Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren and join Mercedes when they were 5th in constructors.
Lewis Hamilton became a 7x WDC. pic.twitter.com/s0CC76fi7O
— MenaGrandPrixEN (@MenaGrandPrixEn) May 20, 2023
According to Lewis Hamilton, “The team weren’t competing at the front at the time. My goal was to come and work with them and help them to eventually win a world championship. And then we won the championship the next year.”
Regarding his transfer to Mercedes, Hamilton clarified that he had been signed in to strengthen the team from the midfield and drive them to further championship wins. Mercedes clinched the constructors’ championship for the first time in 2014, which launched an incredible winning streak.