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Lewis Hamilton: F1’s Billion Dollar Man

The seven-time Formula 1 champion’s 2021 season ended in controversy — and a second-place finish. But nothing can keep Lewis Hamilton from 1-of-1 status as an international brand.

When we think of individually dominant athletes, we turn to names like Serena, LeBron, Messi, and Brady — generational athletes whose “prime years” seem to last forever, remaining close to and even exceeding their peaks well into their 30s.

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has found himself on a similar run long after winning his first world title in 2008.

Hamilton has been involved with racing since he was eight years old. From being signed to the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programs at 13 to now being quite arguably the greatest driver of all time at age 37, Hamilton has maintained a level of accomplishment and international renown few athletes of any sport ever reach.

Even if he woke up tomorrow morning and decided to hang ’em up on the spot.

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Lewis Hamilton’s Earnings & Endorsements

  • 2021 F1 earnings: $70 million
  • 2021 total earnings: $82 million
  • Forbes ranking: No. 8 highest-paid athlete for 2021
  • Estimated net worth: $300 million
  • Key endorsements: Mercedes-Benz, Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Puma, Bose, L’Oréal, Sony

Career Accomplishments

  • No. 1 in career Formula 1 wins (103)
  • Tied for No. 1 for most F1 World Championships (7)
  • No. 1 in career F1 Drivers’ Championship points (4165.5)
  • No. 1 in career F1 poles (103)
  • No. 1 in career F1 podiums (182)
  • No. 2 in career F1 fastest laps (58)
  • First Black driver to win the F1 World Drivers’ Award (2008)
  • Five-time DHL Fastest Lap Award winner
  • Five-time Pirelli Pole Position Award winner
  • Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (2020)

Hamilton’s Reach & Impact

  • Involved in charities and activism including Mission 44, UNICEF, Save the Children, LGBT+ and women’s rights, and Black Lives Matter
  • Instagram followers: 26.7 million
  • Twitter followers: 6.9 million
  • YouTube subscribers: 100,000

In 2021, Hamilton finished second in the F1 standings thanks to a controversial finish that saw Max Verstappen pass him in the final lap of December’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But it is a testament to just how great the “Billion Dollar Man” has been that he still managed to secure five poles and was in contention for a record-setting eighth world championship right up until the death.

Hamilton’s 2021 also includes important issues away from the track. Hamilton has been a huge supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, even winning the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix while wearing a Progress Pride helmet. He is also an advocate for Black Lives Matter and women’s rights, particularly in countries that don’t legally permit women to drive.

Even as former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher — brother to Michael, with whom Hamilton is tied atop the all-time F1 championships list — calls his activism “dangerous,” Hamilton feels obligated to be a driver for social change. He recognizes that his brand and profile are global and ever-growing, and that there’s always a new way to do his part to amplify the increasing demand for better change.

In July of 2021, Hamilton and Mercedes-Benz announced a two-year extension, keeping the face of the brand with the Silver Arrows — with whom he’s won six of his seven titles — through the end of 2023. The Brit will be 39 years old at the end of the deal, but it appears neither he nor Mercedes believes he’s anywhere close to done plying his trade at the pinnacle of auto racing.

“It is hard to believe it’s been nearly nine years working with this incredible team and I’m excited we’re going to continue our partnership for two more years,” Hamilton said when the deal was struck. “We’ve accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track. I’m incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport. They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment.”

“His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed, and race craft, he is at the peak of his powers” added Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. “I have always said that as long as Lewis still possesses the fire for racing, he can continue as long as he wants.”

And what a fire it is.

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