It is not an understatement to say that auto racing is big business. While in the U.S., IndyCar and NASCAR are the most popular options, there is another that is the biggest in the world — Formula 1 (F1). You’re forgiven if you think that IndyCar is the same as F1 since the cars used in both circuits are very similar. In particular, there’s one F1 driver who’s taken the world by storm, Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton currently drives for Mercedes and has won an impressive seven World Drivers’ Championship titles, and also currently holds the records for several other prestigious positions. While Lewis Hamilton may not be a household name for the average American if they don’t follow F1, he’s quickly built up a reputation and fan base — and is also credited for making the F1 sport as a whole more accessible and appealing to a larger audience. But exactly how much is Lewis Hamilton worth?
Lewis Hamilton’s Early Life
Lewis Hamilton was born in 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. His father is of Grenadian descent while his mother is white British from Birmingham. Although his parents split when he was two, he spent time throughout his early years with both side of his family. Interestingly, he has a half-brother — Nicholas Hamilton — through his father who is also a professional race car driver within the British Touring Car Championship.
Lewis’ love of cars started early when his father bought him a radio-controlled car when he was five. The following year, he competed in the adult division at the British Radio Car Association and came in second, which solidified his love of car racing. While attending school, he continued to race. His father purchased a go-kart for him when he was six and this continued to foster his love for the sport.
Meanwhile, he often experienced bullying and racism because of his mixed-race ancestry. This would build the groundwork for his social and philanthropic efforts in his adult years as social activism is an activity that he’s very passionate about. As Lewis got older he also played football (soccer), with many of his peers reflecting that had he not succeeded in F1 racing, he could have easily pivoted to cricket or football instead.
Hamilton’s Racing Career Begins
Lewis Hamilton credits 1993 as the start of his racing career when he started karting and also winning several races and championships. In 1995 he became the youngest driver to win the British cadet karting championship when Hamilton was just 10 years old. This would also be the year that he introduced himself to Ron Dennis, a boss for the McLaren F1 team, telling him that one day he wanted to race for the coveted team. Dennis commented that Hamilton should call him in nine years to see what opportunities were available.
In 1998, it was Dennis calling Hamilton to offer the young racer a role in McLaren’s development program. Along with working on the program, the contract also left the door open for Hamilton to eventually begin racing F1 for the team. By this time, Hamilton had racked up a series of wins across the British Isles and continued to build momentum in the Intercontinental A, Formula A and Formula Super A.
By 2000 he was the European Champion who had earned the maximum points. The early aughts saw Hamilton racing under Manor Motorsport within the Grand Prix and GP2 circuits until 2007 when he was officially announced as the second seat driver for the McLaren team.
Graduating to Formula 1 Racing and World Records
Formally solidifying a seat on McLaren’s racing team elevated Hamilton into the F1 circuit and he subsequently enjoyed a very successful debut season. In 2007 during his first F1 season, he was the runner up for the 2007 World Drivers’ Championship and set multiple records including the most consecutive podium finishes from debut, the most points in a debut season, and the joint most wins in a debut season. Hamilton raced for the McLaren team for five years, ending his contract in 2012. In 2013, he signed with Mercedes — a team he continues to race with to this day.
Lewis Hamilton Wins And Awards
To date, Lewis Hamilton is still the first and only Black driver to race in the series. He’s racked up countless wins including consecutive ones. He’s won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship a total of seven times with consecutive wins between 2017 and 2020. He earned the DHL Fastest Lap Award five times between 2014 and 2020.
He holds five awards for the FIA Pole Trophy/Pirelli Pole Position consecutively from 2015 through 2018 and again in 2020. He has also earned the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy consecutively between 2007 and 2008, again in 2012, and consecutively again from 2014 through 2021. Additionally, he earned the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in 2009.
Lewis Hamilton Accolades
Outside of formal racing organization awards, Lewis Hamilton received the Pride of Britain Award in 2007, the Best Driver ESPY Award in 2017 and 2021 and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2014 and 2020. In 2017 Hamilton was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame. Additionally, he received the Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2008, followed by the Knight Order in 2020. And in 2008 he received an Honorary Award from Grenada.
Lewis Hamilton’s Current Net Worth
According to Insider, Lewis Hamilton is currently motorsports’ richest driver with a current net worth estimated at $285 million as of the time of publication for this article. Much of that wealth can be linked to prize money from the auto racer’s many wins. For example, he earned roughly $50 million in endorsements and prize money alone for the 2016 to 2017 racing season. Meanwhile, the following year he raked in $51 million by the end of June 2018, and a subsequent $55 in the following 12-month period.
Additionally, in 2022 Lewis Hamilton joined the ownership group for the Denver Broncos American football team. Later that year he also created a production company that is creating content for Apple TV+. He also owns several real estate properties which also underscores his net worth. Likewise, cameos in movies like “Cars 2″ and “Cars 3,” as well as his likeness and voice being used in video game series like “Gran Turismo” also aided in further diversifying his net worth.