Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Young Lewis hunch scoops 125,000

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is Formula One's first British champion since Damon Hill

A Formula One fan who placed a bet a decade ago on Lewis Hamilton becoming a world championship racing driver has pocketed 125,000 in winnings.

The punter, from Peterborough, who declined to be named, placed a bet with Ladbrokes on him winning the world crown by the age of 25.

The man, whose son used to race go-karts against Hamilton, said: "I've known Lewis from his early days.

"He had an obvious driving ability with a fantastic attitude to racing."

'Irresistible offer'

The punter had a hunch the aspiring go-kart driver from Stevenage in Hertfordshire would go on to bigger and better things.

"When Ladbrokes came back with an irresistible offer it was too good to pass up," he said.

"I told Lewis's father Anthony and he was shocked and chuffed that he was not the only one to have confidence in Lewis."

Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said: "We had been sweating on this bet for a while.

"It's the largest single payout we've ever made on a motor sport wager and is just reward for this customer who put his faith in Hamilton so long ago.

"It's probably not the last time the new F1 king will put the skids under the bookies."

Lewis Hamilton said he is already targeting his next Formula One world title but hopes to achieve it "in more style" after a nail-biting finish in Brazil.

He overtook Timo Glock on the last bend of the final lap to claim the fifth place he needed to deny Felipe Massa the glory by a single point.

Glock insists he did not hand Hamilton the title - he was struggling on dry tyres and says he tried his best, and drove his own race.

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