F1 Birthdays: 7/1/2011

Did you know that of the 5 world champions who’ll be racing around the tracks in 2011, three of them have their birthday in January? It surely can’t be a coincidence that five F1 drivers from 2010 plus Sergio Perez and Narain Karthikeyan have their birthdays in January, and this includes both of McLaren’s drivers; January has more birthdays than any other month except August for drivers (7 each including test drivers). The younger McLaren driver – Lewis Hamilton – has his today. He’s 26, and has already had an impressive career.
Lewis first competed in Formula Renault 2000, for Manor Motorsport (who became Virgin when they joined F1 this year). He came third in the formula in 2002, and then moved on to Formula Renault 2.0, which he won. He moved on to formula 3, coming fifth in 2004, then first in the Euroseries in 2005 with a new team. In 2006, he won his only year of GP2, then started with McLaren in F1, for whom he’d been test driving.
He began his incredible F1 career in 2007, completely destroying the most consecutive podiums from debut race record set back in 1964 by Peter Arundell. That had been two podiums in the first two races. But Lewis got nine, and his first win came in his sixth race, in Canada, after a string of second places. Not bad! He then won his next GP in the USA, before coming third in France and Britain. He was on target to win the championship in his debut year, but ended up coming second after the title-deciding race in Brazil when Kimi Raikkonen for Ferrari overcame the seven-point deficit on Lewis to win the championship. He became the youngest championship runner-up then, which Sebastian Vettel took off him in 2009 when he came second to Jenson Button
The next year Lewis got his championship after a change in partners – Team Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen. This made him, at the time, the youngest driver to win the world championship at 23 years and 300 days, taking it off Fernando Alonso. In 2010, it was again Sebastian Vettel – 166 days younger – who stole this award from him.
He hasn’t been without controversy in his career, but his incredible start means that he will never be underestimated. He had a good start to the 2010 season, though he’s said that 2010 was not a good year for him personally. Hopefully, this means we should see some fantastic driving from him in 2011. Happy birthday!

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