Lewis Hamilton - British, 26, Motorsport (5)
Finishing second in his rookie season in 2007 and winning the world championship at the age of 23 the following year, Lewis Hamilton announced his arrival in Formula One in some style.
A disappointing season in 2010 saw Hamilton, driving alongside countryman Jenson Button in an all-British McLaren team, finish fourth in the title race. The stage however, looks set for an exciting and lengthy tussle with Sebastian Vettel for Formula One dominance over the coming years, which can only add to both drivers’ marketability.
Known for his aggressive style, Hamilton has won few friends on the track, but sponsors have flocked to back the first black driver in Formula One history. In addition to his role as poster boy for the companies that sponsor his team – including Vodafone, Santander, Tag Heuer and Hugo Boss – alucrative personal contract with Reebok has started to grab attention. Not that Hamilton needs help to grab attention – his relationship with former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger is enough to keep him in the celebrity section as well as the sports pages.
With a multi-year McLaren contract worth a reported US$100 million and a place alongside the likes of David Beckham and Andy Murray at Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment management agency, Hamilton is set for a long future as a Formula One star – and who would doubt the predictions that he has the potential to become the first British sportsman to earn over US$1 billion in his career?