According to a report in the British daily paper The Times, Lewis Hamilton will be named in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honors list and receive an official knighthood, making him formally known as Sir Hamilton. The 35-year old, seven-time world champion racing car driver will be recognized for his achievements in this past year.
After his first championship win in 2008, Hamilton was appointed as a Member of the British Empire’s Most Excellent Order (MBE). When the question of knighthood was mentioned at that time, he went on record to say, “I’ve not saved any lives, I’m not an unsung hero like NHS staff or Captain Sir Tom Moore… Captain Tom waited 100 years for that great honour, and then you have these doctors and nurses, who are saving lives during this hardest time ever.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has even reportedly decided to step in and to secure Hamilton’s knighthood with certainty, according to The Daily Mail. There were some questions about Hamilton’s deservingness of the award due to the alleged non-payment of taxes. However, the prime minister did not see that as a reason to withhold the distinction, especially since Hamilton is among the top 5,000 highest taxpayers in the UK.
On Sunday, former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, who has written to PM Johnson on Hamilton’s behalf, said, “Lewis is not just a serial champion, he is actually the biggest British sporting star in the world by far. It is long overdue. The fact that his background is so humble, and the fact that he is Black just adds to his incredible achievement. He is a role model for young girls and boys whatever their backgrounds, whatever their colour, to be able to reach for the sky.”
As the only Black driver in F1 history, Hamilton has not been shy about his stance on current social justice issues, wearing t-shirts with the statements “Black Lives Matter” and “’Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor.” Also reminiscent of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, he has taken the knee ahead of every race this year.