Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has been included in the final ten for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
The second year in succession Hamilton has been up for the accolade, which celebrates great sporting achievement over the past twelve months, the 23-year-old finished runner-up to boxer Joe Calzaghe in 2007 following his breakthrough maiden season with McLaren.
However, with the Formula 1 title now under his belt, Hamilton is well placed to go one better this year, even if he faces remarkably stiff competition following one of the most successful years in British sport.
Hamilton's triumph comes in an Olympic year that saw Great Britain enjoy their most successful games, a feat typified by the fact he is one of only three non-Olympians to make the list.
He will go head-to-head with last year's winner Calzaghe, US Open tennis runner-up Andy Murray, Women's 400m athletics winner Christine Ohuruogu, multiple sailing champion Ben Ainslie, double gold medal swimmer Rebecca Adlington and four members of the Britain's dominant Olympic cycling team, Nicole Cooke, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Rebecca Romero.
Despite the quality of the shortlist, Hamilton has already emerged as an early frontrunner in the betting odds, with Adlington and Hoy providing his closest competition. Jackie Stewart, however, is already tipping him to take home the trophy.
“It has been a great year for Lewis Hamilton and a great year for British motorsport,” he wrote on the BBC website campaigning for votes. “McLaren came within a small margin of winning the constructors' world championship but Lewis won the drivers' championship.
“To some extent he's been lucky. Very seldom has there been a new driver in Formula One who has had perhaps the best racing car on the grid.
“The late Ayrton Senna began in a Toleman, while Spaniard Fernando Alonso started out for Minardi. Lewis walked straight into McLaren, a big-time team, big-time life, big-time sponsors, but you know what? He delivered big time. Yes, he is fortunate, but you still have to produce. Lewis did that.
“What he has as a champion is natural talent, that's a blessing. He has then manipulated it, massaged it, developed it and exercised it to become the very best. For me, Lewis Hamilton is BBC Sports Personality of the Year.”
Before the award ceremony, to be held at Liverpool's Echo Arena on December 14th, Hamilton will have already taken on this year's triple Olympic gold medal winning Hoy in head-to-head at Wembley for the Race of Champions event. He will be demonstrating the potential of the MP4-23 and challenging Hoy to a match race around the specially-designed Wembley track.