At the age of 10, Lewis Hamilton approached Ron Dennis at an awards ceremony and he said, "I want to race for you someday."
Three years later, a young Hamilton signed onto the young driver support program, and his career is launched.
Lewis progressed quickly through British Formula Renault, finishing the four seasons he was in that class third, first, fifth, and then first again. He then moved onto GP2 for one season, finishing as champion above now-fellow F1 drivers Nelson Piquet and Timo Glock.
A career that was fast-tracked you might say—Lewis was given his big break at the age of 22. He was given car No. 2 and was teammate to Fernando Alonso, the World Champion at the time.
So what now for the youngsters’ career? (I say that like I am 10 or 15 years his senior, when I am infact just three years older.)
In a recent interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport (www.auto-motor-und-sport.de), Hamilton was quoted as saying, “Mein Plan ist es, meine ganze Karriere für McLaren zu fahren. Ich habe einen tollen Vertrag, und wenn es darüber hinaus eine weitere Zusammenarbeit gibt, wäre ich glücklich.”
What do you mean you don’t speak German?
Okay, okay, for the un-educated among us, let me translate...
“My plan is it to go my entire career for McLaren. I have a crazy contract, and if there is in addition a further collaboration, I would be happy. The consistency here is unique. The team takes all the pressure off the driver’s shoulders. For me, it is like a large family. I have known Ron for 13 years.“
Hamilton is contracted to McLaren until 2012, but he said he would feel "lucky" to sign another contract that would tie him to the team until he hangs up his gloves and overalls (www.gridcrasher.com)
So the boy is not only good and a great future prospect, but he is loyal—I get the feeling Dennis not only has a great future No. 1 driver who he can heavily invest in, but he has the boy at probably a snippet of the price.
Just think, if he had not picked up Hamilton at such a young age and he was collected by another team, then Dennis would probably get into a bidding war with a big gun to secure his services, and where would that leave McLaren?
PS - Pictures are up on my website now from last weeks Silverstone Testing session, give them the once over, they are in my portfolio under the F1 section. Please leave comments in my guestbook or alternatively leave my comments on this article. (www.benauty.co.uk)