Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill have been there, seen it, done it, won it - so we asked them for verdicts on their likely successor, Lewis Hamilton, the next Briton poised on the brink of fan-crazed F1 superstardom
It's not easy to become a man of the people. Many willingly put themselves forward, only to be dismissed by a fickle public. Often, it's the reluctant or the ordinary who find themselves raised onto a pedestal. Some blossom in their new position, others shrink and wilt, overcome by the attention.
Success elevates you to a level of recognition that few people can understand, but becoming a genuine sporting icon requires something more: innate ability, unique personality and a certain blend of good fortune that elevates you above and beyond the rest.