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Lewis Hamilton

The lowdown on Lewis Hamilton

Lee McKenzie's view

"Did you know I used to share a hire car with Lewis Hamilton in GP2 in 2006?!

"He has always carried huge potential on his motorsport journey which he started to realise when he came into Formula 1 in 2007.

"After winning the world title with McLaren in 2008 there was a hiatus. He became really frustrated and lost his way a bit.

"Since joining Mercedes in 2013 - which was a hugely brave call at that time - he's really found his own space, his own personality. The team let him be the person that he is.

"With Nico Rosberg basking in retirement Lewis will see this as an opportunity to be the out and out team leader at Mercedes and add to his three world champions titles.

"He gets heavily criticised from some quarters for his partying and his lifestyle but at the moment it seems to suit him, and until he is not able to win pole positions and races the criticism seems unfounded.

"Lewis is so much more than an F1 driver - he's a superstar."

Formula 1's three-time world champion will aim to make it four in 2017 after narrowly losing the title to teammate Rosberg by just five points last season.

These days the British racing star is also a global celebrity, forever partying with pop stars and jet-setting around the world.

He burst onto the scene with McLaren in 2007, causing Fernando Alonso headaches and only narrowly missing out on a famous world title in his rookie season by a point.

It was tight, but he completed the job a year later to become the then youngest ever F1 champion and he looked set for years of domination.

But while poles and wins continued to stream in, it would take six years and a move to Mercedes before he claimed his second title in 2014, beating team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Ten victories in a dominant 2015 campaign won him a third crown, drawing him level with his idol Ayrton Senna, and ensuring his legacy.