Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
British, 32, Motorsport
Formula One’s modern star aiming for greatness
Key partners: L'Oréal Men Expert, Bombardier Business Jets, Monster Energy, Bose
2016 ranking: 24
To many Formula One drivers, second place in the drivers’ championship would represent a stellar year, but to a man of Lewis Hamilton’s exacting standards it is deemed a failure.
Yet motorsport’s bona fide rock star remains a magnetic presence on the grid. His globe-trotting celebrity lifestyle in the envy of his 4.4 million Twitter and Instagram followers and his love life the source of many tabloid tales, with supermodel Winnie Harlow constantly at his side of late. Even his occasional bouts of surliness gain wider coverage than the very best work of some peers.
The diminutive Hamilton is big in character and never afraid of voicing his opinions: to many the most talented, prolific rebel in Formula One since his idol Ayrton Senna.
"The biggest star in Formula One, the driver of his generation, the Ayrton Senna of his era.” - David Coulthard, former racer and TV pundit.
The Briton’s rivalry with one-time childhood friend and Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, turned spiky in 2016 - sometimes overly so. But Rosberg’s surprise retirement after his world title win was thought to leave the way clear for Hamilton to complete a processional title win this time around.
However, a strong Ferrari and a Mercedes car that team principal Toto Wolff calls a “diva” has created a battle of champions, with the 32-year-old and a resurgent Sebastian Vettel going wheel to wheel. Hamilton says he loves the “raw” fight and fans will enjoy the sport’s defining talent facing such challenges a decade into a landmark career. GD