Tag: Autosport Awards

Autosport Award winners announced

The winners of the Autosport Awards have been announced at the annual gala dinner at the Grosvenor Hotel. Sebastian Vettel, Niki Lauda and Dan Cammish were amongst the winners.

The awards, which have been handed out by Autosport magazine since 1982, were once again hosted by Steve Rider. As well as awarding prizes to drivers, cars and other key personnel in the world of motorsport, the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner was also announced.

On the night John Watson presented three time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda, who now acts as non-executive chairman at Mercedes, with the Gregor Grant Award for Lifetime Achievement. Dario Franchitti awarded John Surtees, the only World Champion on two and four wheels, with the same award. Formula One driver Paul di Resta presented the Nissan GT Academy with an award for pioneering and innovation, while Emerson Fittipaldi gave McLaren the John Bolster Award to celebrate their 50 years as a team.

Readers of Autosport were also able to vote for some awards and the winners were as follows:

Racing Car of the Year

  • Audi R18 e-tron quattro
  • Audi RS5 DTM
  • Dallara GP3/13
  • Lotus E21
  • Mercedes F1 W04
  • Red Bull RB9 – WINNER!

International Rally Driver of the Year

  • Jan Kopecky
  • Robert Kubica
  • Sebastian Loeb
  • Thierry Neuville
  • Sebastian Ogier – WINNER!
  • Stephane Peterhansel

Rally Car of the Year

  • Citroen DS3 RX
  • Ford Fiesta WRC
  • Mini Dakar
  • Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak – WINNER!
  • Skoda Fabia S2000
  • VW Polo WRC

British Competition Driver of the Year

  • Sam Bird
  • Jenson Button
  • Paul di Resta
  • Lewis Hamilton – WINNER!
  • Allan McNish
  • Justin Wilson

National Driver of the Year

  • Jonny Adam
  • Andrew Jordan – WINNER!
  • Jordan King
  • Jason Plato
  • Gordon Shedden
  • Nick Tandy

British Club Driver of the Year

  • Dan Cammish – WINNER!
  • Josh Files
  • Jake Hughes
  • Tom Ingram
  • Michael Meadows
  • Chris Middlehurst

Rookie of the Year

  • Jules Bianchi – WINNER!
  • Valtteri Bottas
  • Max Chilton
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Sam Tordoff
  • Stoffel Vandoorne

International Racing Driver of the Year

  • Fernando Alonso
  • Scott Dixon
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kimi Raikkonen
  • Sebastian Vettel – WINNER!

Jack Aitken, Jake Hughes, Chris Middlehurst, Seb Morris, Matt Parry and Charlie Robertson were the six finalists up for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award. Past winners have included David Coultard (who won the first award), Dario Franchitti, Jenson Button, Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey. The prize is £100,000, a test in a McLaren F1 car and full membership of the BRDC. On the night Matt Parry was announced as the winner.


McLaren ’50 in 50′: Lewis Hamilton

We’ve all heard the story about a young boy who confidently approached McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis at the 1995 Autosport Awards, telling him that he would one day drive for McLaren. That young boy was Lewis Hamilton, of course. Just three years later Hamilton was signed up by McLaren as part of their Young Driver Programme and so began a 14 year partnership.

Hamilton, like many others, started racing in karts. Aged ten he won the British Karting Championship and STP Karting Championship. In 1996 he won the Champions of the Future series and also became Sky TV Kartmasters Champion and Five Nations Champion. He continued to impress, winning most things he entered. It was in karting that he encountered current team-mate Nico Rosberg for the first time, as they partnered each other back then as well. In 1998, after he was signed up by McLaren, he won both the European and World Karting championships.

He moved to single seaters in 2001, first racing the British Formula Renault Winter Series, before progressing to a full Formula Renault UK season in 2002 driving for Manor Motorsport. He won three races and finished on the podium seven times and by the end of the year he was third in the championship. The following year he won it with ten wins and 13 podiums. Formula 3 beckoned after that and he went on to win the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2005. Hamilton joined GP2 for 2006 with ART Grand Prix. Hamilton fought hard through the year, including an impressive fight back in Turkey when he spun and dropped to the back of the field, and beat Timo Glock to the championship. On November 24 2006 it was announced that Hamilton would be joining Fernando Alonso at McLaren in Formula One.

Hamilton’s debut season in Formula One is certainly one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Qualifying fourth for the first race of the year, Hamilton wasted no time in passing his team-mate. Alonso got back past him but a third place was an impressive debut for the Brit. Four second places in a row followed and at the sixth race of the season Hamilton took his maiden Formula One win. He backed up the Canadian Grand Prix victory with another win a week later at Indianapolis. Two further third places on the trot, in France and his home race at Silverstone, meant that Hamilton had nine podiums from nine starts – highly impressive for a debut. A wet European Grand Prix was his first finish outside the points (and off the podium), but he soon got back to familiar ground with a win in Hungary and points in Turkey. Second place in Italy, fourth in Belgium, and a first in Japan added to Hamilton’s points tally and secured his position at the front of the championship. The Chinese Grand Prix was a turning point when he stayed out on his tyres just too long, and retired when his car got beached in the gravel on the entrance to the pits. He ended the year tied on points with Alonso and missing out on the championship by just a solitary point.

After Alonso’s departure, Hamilton was joined by Heikki Kovalainen for two seasons. Hamilton fought with Felipe Massa for the title in 2008 and an overtake on Glock, with whom he had been battling for the GP2 championship, at the last corner on the last lap was enough to secure it by one point. Five wins and five further podiums was enough for Hamilton to become McLaren’s next world champion. In 2009 McLaren struggled with the car at the start of the year, but in the second half they came to the fore and Hamilton picked up two race wins and three further podiums. He finished ‘best of the rest’ behind the Brawn GP and Red Bull drivers. In 2010 and 2011 he won three races and in 2012 he won four. His final race win for McLaren came at the inaugural Austin Grand Prix. He was leading the Brazilian Grand Prix until an accident with Nico Hulkenberg forced him to retire.

Hamilton announced his contract with Mercedes towards the end of September, bringing an end to his time with McLaren. He likened the move to leaving home for the first time, and seeing what else is out there. He left McLaren with 21 victories, 28 further podiums and a 74% finishing in the points record. He holds the record for most consecutive podiums from debut and most wins in a rookie season. From the moment he approached Ron Dennis and said that one day he wanted to drive for his team, Hamilton has displayed his ambition and dedication. During his six seasons with McLaren he enjoyed considerable success, and one world championship, who knows what the future will hold!

In terms of his time as a McLaren driver he was the seventh driver to win a world championship for them. He was the seventeeth driver to win a race for them and he lies third in their all time winners list, behind only Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.