Formula One world champion and one of the greatest drivers in the sport’s history, Lewis Hamilton, is wrapping up what has been a very memorable year both on and off the track with a knighthood from the queen.
The 35-year-old British-Grenadian Mercedes driver made history this year when he became the most successful F1 driver of all time after clinching 95 individual race wins, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s previous record of 91. He also won his 7th world title, coming at par with the retired legendary German racer.
“Lewis is a true giant of our sport and his influence is huge both in and out of a car,” incoming CEO of Formula One Stefano Domenicali said in a statement, Sky Sports reported. “What he has achieved is phenomenal with still more to come. All of us at Formula 1 congratulate him on this well deserved recognition of his achievements and look forward to seeing more of his brilliance in 2021.”
Outside the sport, Hamilton, who is the only Black driver in the sport, has been a major supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and recently launched The Hamilton Commission to improve diversity in UK motorsport, Mirror reported.
“I think he [Hamilton] thoroughly deserves it. He is a great ambassador, a great role model and I think he’ll use that knighthood to do good things for his community,” chairman of Sporting Equals Densign White said.
“He’s always been an advocate for racial equality and diversity and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think he’s going to use that to try and improve that situation for everybody, because unless everybody wins, no one wins.”
Hamilton was added to the Diplomatic and Overseas knighthood list as he hasn’t been a permanent resident in the UK since 2007, Sky Sports reported. He is also the fourth F1 driver to be knighted.
“It’s fantastic the way he calls out to all the young kids. He’s going to ignite a whole army of Hamilton wannabe emulators and he deserves his knighthood,” former world champion Damon Hill told BBC Radio 5 Live. “He’s always has been an exceptional talent but it’s incredible what he’s achieved this year. It’s not been a good year for most of us on the planet but it’s been a pretty good year for Lewis.”