Organisers of the prestigious Laureus awards have tipped Lewis Hamilton to win the ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ title.
“McLaren-Mercedes’ decision to give the Briton a formula one drive in 2007 alongside world champion Fernando Alonso has made the 21-year-old a strong contender for nomination,” an official report read.
Hamilton will also become the first black driver to compete in grand prix racing next year, after winning the GP2 championship at his first attempt in 2006.
Laureus organisers said Ghana’s World Cup football team is also a favourite to win the prize.
Nominees will be announced in January and the winners at a ceremony in May.
F1’s world champion of 1964, John Surtees, thinks 21-year-old Hamilton could shine even brighter than countryman Jenson Button in 2007.
“He will not be overawed by his sudden appearance as an F1 driver or the earning capacity it presents, unlike Jenson,” the 72-year-old told the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman.
“In my opinion, Lewis’ career will develop quicker than Jenson’s has.”