Prior to life as the dominating Mercedes team, the Brackley squad has seen many changes and success in its time in Formula One. Founded by the late Ken Tyrrell, the team began life as Tyrrell Racing, joining the grid in 1968 after a decade in lower formulae. Sir Jackie Stewart would race for the team from the beginning, until his retirement from the sport in 1973, winning two of his World Championships with the squad in 1971 and 73 – also finishing runner up in 1972. Tragically, Stewart’s protégé the talented Francois Cevert was killed in practice during the final race of the 1973 season, meaning the team lost their two biggest talents at the end of 1973. Despite not contending for championships post-Stewart, the Tyrrell team were consistently toward the front of the grid, winning races with Jody Scheckter, Patrick Depailler and Michele Alboreto in the 1970s and 80s. The final win for the team under the Tyrrell name was with Michele Alboreto in the 1983 Spanish Grand Prix, as the team’s resources and results slowly began to wane. Jean Alesi made his debut with the team in 1989, the Tyrrell squad also running well-known names as Martin Brundle, Stefan Bellof, Mika Salo and Jos Verstappen during their time in F1. With performance dropping, Ken Tyrrell opted to sell the team to British American Tobacco in 1997, the 1998 season being the last with the Tyrrell name in F1 – a quiet season with zero points on the board. 1999 began with high hopes for the new BAR team, fielding 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve alongside the promising Ricardo Zonta. Flashes of pace but poor reliability were the theme of BAR’s first season, finishing last in the Constructor’s Championship – again with no points. Performances gradually improved across the next few seasons, Villeneuve collecting two podiums in the 2001 season. 2004 was to be the high point as BAR, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato helping the team to an excellent 2nd in the Constructor’s behind Ferrari, the team collecting 11 podiums and consistently being the ‘best of the rest’. Honda – who had provided the engines for BAR since 2000, purchased the team in 2005, becoming Honda Racing for three seasons. Still with Button delivering consistent results, the team did not hit the highs of 2004 in the Constructor’s, but broke through for a drought-breaking win for the squad – Button winning the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. Honda would exit F1 at the end of the 2008 season in a sudden move – leaving Button, teammate Rubens Barrichello and the factory unsure of their future. An eleventh hour rescue from Ross Brawn saved the team, renamed Brawn GP with Mercedes engines for 2009. What to follow was one of Formula One’s biggest ‘Cinderella stories’, the team getting the technical regulation changes right and winning both Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships, Button taking his first Driver’s Championship. The team was sold to Mercedes and became the current version of the team for 2010, with Michael Schumacher coming out of retirement alongside Nico Rosberg. Mercedes’ first win in its current guise came in the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix at the hands of Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton moved across from McLaren to the Mercedes team for 2013, he and Rosberg sharing three wins on the way to second in the Constructor’s Championship. What was to follow was a dominance not seen in the history of Formula One – the change in power unit regulations, and a Lewis Hamilton at his peak meant Mercedes from 2014 through 2021 were barely challenged, winning an unprecedented eight consecutive Constructor’s titles: Hamilton taking six Driver’s titles and Rosberg the 2016 title before his retirement. Valtteri Bottas took Rosberg’s seat for 2017, collecting ten wins in his five seasons with the team. Mercedes protégé George Russell moved to the team for 2022 after three seasons learning the ropes with Williams. While 2022 was not as dominant or successful for Mercedes, the team bounced back from a tough start to finish third in the Constructor’s – Russell taking his first victory in F1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton and Russell remain the team’s two drivers for 2023 as they look to bounce back to the top of F1.
DOB: 7th January 1985
Lives in: Monaco
Current team: Mercedes
Stevenage born Lewis Hamilton’s talent was obvious from his junior years, winning kart races before his 10th birthday. At the age of 10, Hamilton famously approached then-McLaren boss Ron Dennis and proclaimed his desire to drive for McLaren in the future. 1998 saw a 13-year-old Hamilton join McLaren’s junior program – from which he never looked back. Hamilton’s first taste of championship success came in 2003, winning Formula Renault before his first taste of F1 machinery testing a McLaren in 2004. Hamilton would go onto win European Formula 3 in 2005 before moving to GP2 (now F2) in 2006. Another title followed, Hamilton winning the GP2 Championship as a rookie, ahead of drivers that would also go onto F1 in Nelson Piquet Jr and Timo Glock. Hamilton’s GP2 title success meant Hamilton was to drive for the McLaren team for 2007 alongside the man fresh off back-to-back titles with Renault – Fernando Alonso. Hamilton came out of the blocks in an incredible rookie season, reminiscent of Jacques Villeneuve in 1996. Nine podiums in his first nine races, including a first win in Canada meant Hamilton was deep in the championship battle with teammate Alonso and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. With 20pts on offer, Hamilton led Raikkonen by 17pts going into the penultimate race in China, dramatically retiring from the race in wet conditions. Hamilton had mechanical issues in Brazil finishing 7th, with Raikkonen winning both races ensuring the title went to the Ferrari driver by just one point ahead of Hamilton and Alonso who were tied on points. Another epic title showdown followed in 2008, Hamilton being on the other side of success this time, beating Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in the final race of the season in the most dramatic of circumstances. Hamilton needed to finish 5th or higher with Massa winning to take the title, Hamilton on wet tyres overtaking Toyota’s Timo Glock on the final corner of the final lap of the season for 5th to win his first World Championship and McLaren’s last Driver’s title to date. Hamilton would be a consistent race winner across 2009-12 with McLaren and was a mathematical chance at the 2010 title going into the final race of the season. Hamilton chose the questionable at the time move of switching to Mercedes for 2013 – a team with potential that had yet to be fulfilled. A single win came for Hamilton in the 2013 season prior to the power unit changes for the 2014 season. Mercedes managed to perfect the regulation changes, and along with Hamilton dominated the sport for eight seasons. Hamilton would go onto break almost every record in F1, taking the 2014,15,17,18,19 and 2020 world titles – only a narrow defeat to teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016 stopping a record seven consecutive Driver’s Championships. Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s 91 wins in the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix and hitting the 100-win mark at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. Hamilton was narrowly defeated by Max Verstappen in an epic 2021 title battle, overtaken on the final lap of the season – a sixth season where Hamilton was involved in a Driver’s title decider. 2022 was not as successful for Hamilton – the first season of his Formula One career in which he failed to win a race. Despite the 2021 title loss and lack of success in 2022, Hamilton continues with teammate George Russell for 2023. Off track, Hamilton is involved in many charitable causes and has been a vocal voice for change in Formula One.
DOB: 15th February 1998
Lives in: London, England
Current team: Mercedes
Working his way through the karting scene, George Russell took the step into single seaters in 2014, competing in the Formula 4 Championship, winning the title at his first attempt. This meant Russell would also go onto win the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award – meaning his first taste of F1 machinery driving a McLaren in a 2015 test session. After two seasons in European Formula 3, Russell moved up to the third tier and would race in GP3 (now F3) for 2017. Russell dominated his GP3 rookie season, taking four victories and winning the title by 79pts. Following his GP3 success, Russell joined the Mercedes Young Driver Academy and graduated to F2 for the 2018 season. In a strong field consisting of three other current F1 drivers (Alex Albon, Lando Norris and Nyck de Vries) – Russell would go on to win the title by a comfortable 68pts ahead of Norris, becoming one of six drivers to win the F2/GP2 Championship at their first attempt. Promoted to Williams for 2019, Russell would race alongside veteran Robert Kubica for the season. While points eluded Russell due to uncompetitive machinery – he showed he belonged at the top level, outqualifying Kubica 21-0. Remaining with Williams for 2020, Russell earned his breakthrough F1 – albeit in strange circumstances. Lewis Hamilton had recorded a positive COVID-19 test for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, Russell being Mercedes’ reserve driver would stand in for Hamilton. Russell qualified on the front row alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas and was in contention for victory, before a late puncture and subsequent pit-stop relegating Russell to 9th at the chequered flag. Where a debut points-finish would have been a cause for happiness was instead a hurt for Russell that would spur him onto greater heights in 2021. Armed with a more competitive Williams now on the fringes of the midfield, Russell scored points in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, finishing 8th, before backing this up with an incredible 2nd on the grid in Belgium the following race. The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix was run under safety car for just two laps, ensuring Russell’s breakthrough F1 podium was also achieved in strange circumstances. Russell would go onto take two more points finishes in Italy and Russia before being promoted to Mercedes for the 2022 season alongside Hamilton. Coming into a team off the back of eight consecutive Constructor’s titles alongside a 7-time World Champion may be a daunting task for many, but Russell again shone in his first season, in a team not as dominant as years previous. Out-performing Hamilton in the first half of the season, Russell would take his first win in F1 at the Brazilian Grand Prix on his way to 4th in the Driver’s Championship. Russell is signed for the long-term with Mercedes and stays alongside Hamilton for 2023.