Britain's Lewis Hamilton may not have been a title contender in F1 2009, but when McLaren-Mercedes gave him a competitive car he was right back at the front.

Hamilton's season started disastrously though, and following the fall-out from 'Lie-gate' in Australia - which led to him being disqualified - he had to make a grovelling apology.

He stuck at it however, and did his best with the MP4-24, until things finally seemed to come together in the second half of the year.

Indeed from the Nurburgring, the Englishman was back on it and he capitalised to win in Hungary and in Singapore. He would probably have won in Abu Dhabi too, but for an unfortunate technical problem.

In the end Hamilton ended the year fifth in the drivers' championship, with 49 points on the board and despite a tough start to the season, he did enough to be voted fourth in your poll for the top driver of the 2009 season.

He will now be joined at McLaren by Jenson Button in 2010 and the internal battle there promises to be an interesting one - although many already expect that Hamilton will get the better of the 2009 F1 World Champion.

Statistics in 2009:

Championship finish: 5th

Starts: 17

Victories: 2

Pole positions: 4

Fastest laps: 0

Podiums: 5 (including wins)

Points: 49

Points finishes: 8

Top ten grid positions: 9

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