News Americas, LONDON, England, Thurs. Dec. 31, 2020: Call him Sir Lewis. Caribbean roots Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has received a knighthood from the Queen in her 2021 New Year Honors list, which was officially announced on Wednesday evening. Hamilton has been awarded at the end of a year that saw him match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 World Championship titles and surpass the German’s race wins tally.
Hamilton, 35, is the third F1 World Champion to receive a knighthood, following Jack Brabham (in 1978) and Jackie Stewart (2001), while the honor also went to Stirling Moss (2000). However, Hamilton is the first to gain this status while still an active driver.
This year he pursued a campaign to increase diversity in the sport and frequently spoken out against racism in society and supported the BLM movement, although the honor is for his services to motorsports. It comes exactly 12 years after Hamilton, following his first World Championship title.
Earlier this month Hamilton received recognition from the British public when he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a second time, having previously won the prestigious award in 2014.
He also won the 2020 Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year prize, sharing it with footballer Lionel Messi. Hamilton was listed in the 2020 issue of Time as one of the 100 most influential people globally. He has been credited with furthering Formula One’s global following by appealing to a broader audience outside the sport, in part due to his high-profile lifestyle, environmental and social activism and his exploits in music and fashion. Hamilton has become a prominent advocate in support of activism to combat racism and push for increased diversity in motorsport.
New F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who officially starts work in January, has paid tribute to Hamilton.
“Lewis is a true giant of our sport and his influence is huge both in and out of a car,” said Domenicali. “What he has achieved is phenomenal with still more to come.
“All of us at F1 congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition of his achievements and look forward to seeing more of his brilliance in 2021.”
Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 team principal Toto Wolff commented: “Lewis is one of the very greatest racing drivers of all time and the most successful British sportsperson of his era. Around the world, he has long been recognised for his sporting achievement; this year, he combined his excellence on the track with a powerful voice to fight discrimination. In every sense, he led the way in 2020.
“The news that he is to receive a knighthood shows that he is now receiving the recognition he has earned during a career of unparalleled success in motorsport. The UK can be very proud to have a champion and ambassador of the caliber of Sir Lewis Hamilton.”
Hamilton’s father Anthony Hamilton was born in Grand Coy, Grenada, and bought his son a radio-controlled car in 1991. This provided the future F1 driver with his first experience of racing competition.