After a podium on debut at the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton went on a stunning run of securing podiums in every race until round 10 at the Nurburgring - a race famous for the deluge that caused chaos at turn one.
The British driver secured the first victory of his career with a mature drive in Canada, overcoming four safety car periods on the way to the finish. Wins followed in the USA, Hungarian and Japanese Grands Prix, setting him up to be favourite for the championship.
But an error when entering the pits in China and a temporary mechanical issue in Brazil meant he would end the season just one point away from champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton was not deterred. The following season saw a continuation of the form that had carried him so well through his rookie year, with six victories leading him to his first world championship.
The highlights of the season were his first Monaco Grand Prix victory and his wet-weather masterclass at his home race at Silverstone, where he finished over one minute ahead of his nearest finisher.
But the championship came down to the wire when he overtook an ailing Timo Glock in difficult conditions at the final corner of the season in Interlagos, stealing the title from race-winner Felipe Massa.
The tussle between McLaren and Ferrari meant both teams were underprepared for a new set of regulations in 2009. Despite the deficiencies of the MP4-24, Hamilton was able to start an end-of-season mini-resurgence to score two victories and three additional podiums en route to fifth in the standings, seven places ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.
In 2010 McLaren was back up to speed and embroiled in a title battle with Red Bull and Ferrari. Hamilton only secured victories in Turkey, Canada but consistency kept him in the championship hunt, eventually ending the season fourth just 16 points behind champion Sebastian Vettel.
2011 was perhaps the most difficult of Hamilton's career with incident and controversy seemingly adjoined to his season. Multiple run-ins with Massa derailed his hopes for a championship and although three wins did follow, Jenson Button finished well ahead as the top McLaren driver.
The following season was an improvement from a controversy point of view with less incident and more podiums, although ultimately fewer points as Hamilton finished fourth in the standings with 190 points. Hamilton drew attention with a shock move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 season and secured his final win with the former at the US Grand Prix.
The Hamilton-Mercedes partnership got off to a rocky start as tyre issues plagued the Silver Arrows' campaign - Barcelona the best example of the team's issues where Hamilton plummeted in hot conditions to 12th.
But a victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix gave pointers to the future, whilst consistent points finishes ensured Hamilton finished fourth in the standings yet again.
New regulations entered the sport in 2014, with new V6 turbo-Hybrid engines providing the basis for Hamilton and Mercedes' incredible run of dominance. Despite the championship battle being a two-horse race between the Briton and team-mate Nico Rosberg, the campaign was far from pretty.
A titanic battle at the Bahrain Grand Prix provided entertainment before relationships turned sour at the Belgian Grand Prix where contact gave Hamilton a puncture, the eventual champion later retiring.
Eleven victories were enough to take his second championship title, with a further 10 race wins followed in 2015 with just one retirement and a lowest finishing position of sixth. Rosberg fought back the following season to win the title, one that hinged on Hamilton's retirement from the Malaysian Grand Prix whilst leading, despite winning another 10 grands prix.
Valtteri Bottas joined Hamilton after Rosberg's retirement, but the British driver's focus was soon turned towards the resurgent Ferraris. Vettel took victory in Melbourne to prove Mercedes was no longer the only team in the title fight. However, Hamilton asserted himself during the end of the season, eventually taking nine wins to lead the German by 46 points.
2018 was more of the same, with a scintillating run of seven wins in the last 10 races wrapping up title number five before Mercedes regained its dominant ways with 15 victories in 2019 - 11 for Hamilton.
The Covid-impacted 2020 season was controlled by Hamilton as he drew level with Michael Schumacher on seven world championships. Hamilton now has more pole positions and race wins than anyone in Formula 1 history.
Hamilton and Verstappen fought throughout the 2021 season in what would turn out to be one of the greatest battles in F1 history.
The Dutchman would deny Hamilton his record-breaking eighth championship in a controversial finale in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton's most visible relationship so far was his on-off romance with singer Nicole Scherzinger between 2007 and 2015.
Lewis Hamilton's Cars
Despite having a vast car collection including a bespoke Pagani Zonda, a Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and two Shelby Cobras, his own concerns over the state of the environment around the world and aiming to align with his aim to reduce his own personal carbon footprint led Hamilton to reveal in 2020 that he currently drives a battery-electric Mercedes-Benz EQC, whilst requesting transportation from airports in all-electric vehicles where possible.
Hamilton has aided the development of the Mercedes-Benz Project One hypercar and has entered a team - X44 - into the Extreme E off-road series, which aims to take rally-style racing to environmentally impacted locations around the world to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.
Lewis Hamilton Parents & Family
Hamilton's relationship with his Dad Anthony has repaired itself in recent years after a fallout at the beginning of the previous decade.
Hamilton Sr worked multiple jobs to help Hamilton Jr set-off on his Karting career, before eventually managing his son during the infancy of his Formula 1 career.
However, this relationship broke down in 2010, with neither party on good terms with each other when the management concluded. An Instagram post by Hamilton in 2020 seemed to show the fissures has been somewhat repaired with a picture of the two on holiday alone, whilst Anthony has been more prominent in the paddock in recent times supporting his son.
Hamilton's parents split when he was young and he lived with his biological mum Carmen Larbalestier until he was 12 years old. He said at the start of the 2022 season he was about to change his name to include Larbalestier.
Carmen had two further children, daughters Nicola and Samantha Lockhart, who are half-sisters to Lewis.
Lewis has a half-brother Nicolas through Anthony's marriage to Linda Hamilton (stepmum to Lewis), who has forged his own career in motor racing despite suffering from cerebral palsy.
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