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Arise, Sir Lewis! Hamilton awarded knighthood

L

ewis Hamilton has capped a remarkable year both on and off the F1 track with a knighthood for services to motorsport.

The 35-year-old won his seventh F1 title, equalling legend Michael Schumacher’s record before bettering the German’s all-time win record.

Hamilton,  who does not resided permanently in the UK so his knighthood was included on the Diplomatic and Overseas List, continues to dominate the sport and used his profile in the continual fight against racism.

The Stevenage-born Hamilton initially moved to Switzerland in 2007 and then on to Monaco, both considered tax havens, though he has defended the amount of tax he pays in the UK.

In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2017, he said: “What people don’t realise is that I pay tax here, but I don’t earn all my money here.

“I race in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and I pay tax in several different places, and I pay a lot here as well.

“I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed. I am part of a much bigger picture.”

Hamilton built his reputation as a prodigious junior karter, and made his F1 debut in 2007 with McLaren.

His maiden title was won with that team too in 2008 but Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull then took centre stage, before a move to Mercedes for the 2013 season changed everything.

Lewis Hamilton, Jimmy Greaves and Sheila Hancock honoured in the Queen’s Honours List

He won the world championship in 2014 and 2015, lost out to Nico Rosberg in 2016 but has dominated ever since, with 2020 his fourth title in a row.

The magnificent seven was completed in Turkey in November, and he won 11 races in the 2020 season in all.

He surpassed Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins with his triumph in Portugal in October.

Lewis Hamilton: A career in numbers

Hamilton has used his winning platform to show his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, with protests spreading around the world following the death of black man George Floyd in police custody in the United States in May.

Sitting in as guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Boxing Day, Hamilton told Professor David Olusoga: “I had this extra drive in me this year to get to the end of those races.

“It was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past, to get to the end of those races first so that I could utilise that platform (for Black Lives Matter) and shine the light as bright as possible.”

Asked by Olusoga if he had been concerned about the response to his stance, Hamilton replied: “There is no way that I could stay silent. And once I said that to myself, I didn’t hold any fear.”

A contract for next year is still to be signed, but 2021 could be the year Hamilton overtakes Schumacher to be the most decorated driver in the history of the sport.

Additional reporting by Press Association.


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