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Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Sports Personality 10: Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Liverpool Echo Arena Date: Sunday, 14 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.


Lewis Hamilton will looking to add the Sports Personality title after becoming the youngest Formula One champion.

The 23-year-old clinched the 2008 F1 drivers' title on the final lap of the season finale in Brazil.

It came a year after missing out on the crown - Hamilton also finished runner-up at the BBC event.

The McLaren driver recorded five wins during the season, which included a great drive in the wet at Silverstone and Monaco.

Sir Jackie Stewart
By Sir Jackie Stewart
Three-time Formula One champion

Sir Jackie Stewart is a legend of Formula One having won three World championships during an eight-year career.

Here, the 69-year-old gives his verdict on Lewis Hamilton's astonishing success this season and why he believes his fellow Briton deserves the BBC Sports Personality of the Year title.

It has been a great year for Lewis Hamilton and a great year for British motorsport. McLaren came within a small margin of winning the constructors' world championship but Lewis won the drivers' championship.

I knew from an early age that he had it in him. I first met Lewis at the Royal Automobile Club. He was a wee boy who was karting at the time.

His father, Anthony, was anxious to meet people who were there, who might in some way be of influence and help his son's future. Lewis had set his sights on success from an early age.

606: DEBATE

To some extent he's been lucky. Very seldom has there been a new driver in Formula One who has had perhaps the best racing car on the grid.

The late Ayrton Senna began in a Toleman, while Spaniard Fernando Alonso started out for Minardi. Lewis walked straight into McLaren, a big-time team, big-time life, big-time sponsors, but you know what? He delivered big time.

Yes, he is fortunate, but you still have to produce. Lewis did that.

He's shown tremendous ability and great skills inside the cockpit and has a good temperament outside it, with his services to the media and handling of all the commercial relationships. He's a good communicator and I think that's why he's appealed to general public.

I like Lewis very much - he's a nice boy and has a lovely family. He's very close to his brother, his mother and stepmother, while his father looks after most of his business interests.

It's a close-knit family and they're the best anchor he has got. Every now and again he will need a reality check and there's nobody better than his own family to keep his feet on ground. You see, Formula One provides an intoxicating life. He's flown straight into that and will have to deal with it. I think he's done a pretty good job so far and I reckon he will continue to do so.

Will Lewis go on to claim more championships? Well, he's won the world championship, but he'll also lose the world championship. All teams in F1 are looking to give their driver the best advantage, the best car. Every now and again, the man at the top will fall behind.

Lewis will suffer that disappointment and someone else will come along and have the season of their life in a good car. Lewis will have to step up to it when that happens, but something tells me he will deal with all the challenges that come his way.

What he has as a champion is natural talent, that's a blessing. He has then manipulated it, massaged it, developed it and exercised it to become the very best.

For me, Lewis Hamilton is BBC Sports Personality of the Year.


Sir Jackie Stewart was talking to BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury

Stories from Hamilton's year:



SPORTS PERSONALITY:
Sun 14 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
Sports Personality 10: Rebecca Adlington
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Ben Ainslie
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Joe Calzaghe
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Nicole Cooke
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Lewis Hamilton
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Chris Hoy
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Andy Murray
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Christine Ohuruogu
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Rebecca Romero
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Sports Personality 10: Bradley Wiggins
01 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality


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