The reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has always held the limelight since his arrival in the Formula One scene back in 2007 after signing with McLaren.
Over the course of 10 years in top-flight racing, the Brit has been able to establish himself among the elites, and after winning four championships till date, can indeed be considered on the same pedestal of the greats of the sport.
It is inevitable that Hamilton, with his talent and skills, has gained followers across the globe, but one fan’s story will leave us all astonished.
Richard Hopkins, who placed bets on the British driver becoming a future F1 world champion in 1998, nearly 10 years before he even stepped foot into the McLaren garage, managed to win £165,000.
Hamilton’s excellence on the track was spotted by Hopkins way back when the world champion was just 13 and raced go-karts against Hopkins’ son, Evan.
In 1998, he placed a £200 bet with the odds of 200/1 on Hamilton winning his first Formula One race by age 23.
Hamilton achieved the feat in 2007, aged 22, when he secured the win at the Canadian GP.
The result won Hopkins £40,000.
Around the same time, he further bet £100 at odds of 500/1 that the British star would become world champion by 25.
In 2008, as Hamilton won the Brazilian GP overtaking German driver Timo Glock, Hopkins pocketed a further £50,000.
Such was Hopkins’ confident on his son’s rival’s abilities, he took a third bet out in 1998, predicting the Mercedes ace would achieve both.
His £50 bet at odds of 1,500/1 won him a further £75,000.
With a total of £165,000 as winnings, Hopkins surely won’t have any complains as he detected Hamilton’s brilliance even before the world of Formula One became aware of it.
At the time of Hamilton securing his first world title in 2008, £125,000 that was paid by Ladbrokes claimed the motorsport payout was the bookmaker’s largest ever.
Hopkins, on the entire episode, said: “I was trying not to watch, and I was practically hiding behind the sofa. To be honest, I thought he had blown it.
“I've known Lewis from his early days, and it was easy to see he had an obvious driving ability, coupled with a fantastic attitude to racing. I just had a hunch he would go on to bigger and better things.
“It was a long shot, but it paid off.”
Wonder if Mr. Hopkins would be willing to test his assessments once again, if Hamilton can win back-to-back titles this term after the heroics of last season.
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