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Knighthood recognition for Lewis Hamilton: Hill

The grand prix racer and the only Black driver in F1, sealed a record-equalling seventh world title with his victory in Turkey this month
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
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Agencies   |   London   |   Published 24.11.20, 12:58 AM

Lewis Hamilton has been breaking down barriers since he arrived in Formula One and deserves a knighthood for his achievements on and off the track, former world champion Damon Hill has said.

 Hamilton, the most successful grand prix racer of all time and the only Black driver in F1, sealed a record-equalling seventh world title with his victory in Turkey this month, fuelling expectations of a knighthood.


The 35-year-old Briton, who comes from an under-privileged, multi-racial background, has used his platform to campaign for racial equality, diversity and sustainability.

 “Lewis has always been breaking down barriers, the moment he arrived in F1 or even in karting he was breaking barriers and challenging the status quo,” the Guardian quoted Hill as saying.

 “The knighthood will be seen as recognition of not just his driving but also as a Black driver that has bust another door open for anyone who is not white.

 “He has destroyed the preconception that it can’t be done, that there is an area where you cannot achieve something because of the colour of your skin. He has totally destroyed that notion.”

 Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart are the other Formula One racers to have been knighted. Hamilton was awarded an MBE in 2008.

 “It is a very rare thing in our sport to get a knighthood,” said Hill, who won the world championship in 1996. “It is then also a recognition of his stance on equality, anti-racism and environmental issues.

 “He is outspoken, he is playing his part and using his fame for positive purposes. He is a fantastic ambassador and having a knighthood will only increase his opportunities to do that work.”

Hamilton was awarded an MBE after he took his first title in 2008 for McLaren. He has been almost unbeatable in recent years, winning six titles with Mercedes since joined in 2013.

Hill believed the scale of his success was also being acknowledged. “If you have to win more than anybody else in our sport to get a knighthood then that is a measure of how much that achievement has been recognised as exceptional,” he said.

It is believed Hamilton’s tax status may have been a hindrance to him not being knighted sooner. The British driver lives in Monaco but does pay tax in a number of countries where F1 takes him including the UK, where he has a home and where his contributions put him among the top 5,000 taxpayers.

The government has come under pressure to acknowledge his achievements. The all-party parliamentary group for F1 wrote to Boris Johnson after Hamilton took his seventh title, calling for him to be honoured. The chair of Motorsport UK, David Richards, also wrote to the Prime Minister putting the case for Hamilton’s inclusion in the honours list                                               

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