Lewis started go-kart racing in 1993 aged eight years in while studying at the John Henry Newman School. By the age of ten he had won his first British Karting Championship and had already met Ron Dennis, his future boss, and cheekily informed him his was going to drive one of his F1 cars. Between 1998 and 2000, with the backing of Dennis, Hamilton won both European and World Karting titles. In 2000, aged 15, Hamilton was crowned Karting World Number One –he remains the youngest ever to this day.

He attended sixth-form at Cambridge Arts and Sciences before racing in the British Formula Renault Winter Series in 2001 where he finished fifth overall, despite crashing in his third race.  Michael Schumacher said of him, "he's a quality driver, very strong and only 16. If he keeps this up I'm sure he will reach F1. It's something special to see a kid of his age out on the circuit. He's clearly got the right racing mentality."
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