How Lewis Hamilton went from racing a second-hand go-kart to amassing an estimated $300 million fortune

How Lewis Hamilton went from racing a second-hand go-kart to amassing an estimated 0 million fortune

Famous names in American sports are more often associated with athletes from the NBA, NFL and MLB. However, some athletes outside of these organizations have broken through the ubiquitous fandom of American basketball, football and baseball — one of them being Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton’s journey into racing began at the age of 8, when he was given a second-hand kart as a gift. According to Formula 1, the kart cost about the same as his family’s monthly income. Hamilton’s story is a testament to the power of his family’s support. He competed in local racing events, won championships, and honed his skills with their support.

His dedication to his craft led to him winning his first F1 race, the Canadian Grand Prix, at the age of 22. This victory was particularly notable as Hamilton was the first black driver in the sport.

In July 2024, the 39-year-old won his 104th race at the British Grand Prix, while already holding the honor of winning the most Grand Prix titles of any racer in Formula 1 history. With his latest victory, he became the oldest driver in the 21st century to cross the finish line first. In that regard, Hamilton was grateful for this victory, noting that it was not easy to reach this point.

“The feeling, it feels different to previous races, and especially races where you have race after race after race, or seasons where you have multiple wins,” Hamilton told ESPN. “I think with the adversity that we’ve been through as a team, and that I’ve experienced personally, those challenges, the constant challenge that we all have to get out of bed every day and do our best.”

In addition to ending a drought he had been in since 2021, this victory was also his final race before ending his partnership with Mercedes. According to Forbes , Hamilton initially signed with Mercedes in 2013 and won back-to-back championships with the team in 2014 and 2015.

That relationship with Mercedes will end at the end of 2024, as Hamilton has signed with Ferrari, where he will race in 2025. Based on data from Sports Illustrated, Hamilton’s deal with Mercedes will reportedly pay him $55 million (USD) per year, with him targeting a higher base salary than bonuses. In his new deal with Ferrari, his reported income will consist of a base salary of 40 million euros (approximately $43.3 million USD), supplemented with performance bonuses.

While racing is Hamilton’s primary source of income, he has also proven to be a shrewd investor. A previous AFROTECH report noted that the racing enthusiast joined the Walton-Penner group to become a part-owner of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

He also opened a vegan restaurant in his native London, later expanding to New York. He also co-founded Almave, the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled blue agave spirit. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Hamilton’s racing prowess, combined with his entrepreneurial ventures, has earned him an estimated $300 million net worth.