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Why I Had to do it – Lewis Hamilton to join a select club of drivers in France

This weekend’s French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard will be a special one for Lewis Hamilton because it will be the 300th of his career. This is something that only a few Formula One drivers have achieved in the history of the sport.

A club with just five members
Hamilton will join a very select group of drivers who had a very long F1 career of around 20 seasons.

Only five drivers have managed to reach that milestone, with Kimi Raikkonen topping the list with 350 appearances and Fernando Alonso being on course to overtake him later this season.

Rubens Barrichello, who has 19 consecutive seasons in Formula One from 1993 to 2011, comes third with 322 appearances.

Michael Schumacher has 306 Grands Prix appearances to his name, a record that Hamilton will break if, he starts all the remaining races of the current campaign. Next comes Jenson Button, who has managed the same number of appearances in 17 seasons as the German.

Sixteen seasons in F1
Lewis Hamilton made his Formula 1 debut in 2007 for a McLaren-Mercedes team that had signed two-time world champion Alonso that winter.

Since then, Hamilton has won one world title with the British team, in 2008, and remained loyal to Ron Dennis until 2012.

In 2013, on the eve of the start of the hybrid era, he made the leap to Mercedes. That was undoubtedly the defining move of his career, as he would go on to win no fewer than six world titles in the seven years that followed.

His winning streak was broken last year with a controversial end to the World Championship in Abu Dhabi against Max Verstappen.

This season, Hamilton is still struggling to catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari, something that seems a long way off for the seven-time champion.

Of the current drivers, only Alonso has reached those numbers. Not even Sebastian Vettel has reached 300 races in F1 and he won’t even be able to do it this season.

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