Officially a ‘Knight Bachelor,’ The 36-year-old had previously been honoured with an MBE (Member of the British Empire) back in 2008. The push for a full knighthood, which has been coming from some sectors for the past decade, was finally made official in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
Over the course of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship season, Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins (95 wins as of the end of the 2020 season) and equalled the German’s seven Drivers’ World Championships. Hamilton also holds the record for overall pole positions and podium finishes in F1, as well as points finishes and performances at certain circuits.
While the knighthood was primarily for Hamilton’s sporting achievements, the citation also noted his charitable and philanthropic work, both in the UK and overseas.
‘Sir’ Lewis is only the only the fourth F1 driver to be so honoured, following Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss. Significantly, Hamilton is the only member of that elite company to be knighted while still an active driver.
Patrick Head and Frank Williams have also received knighthoods for their services to F1.
While Hamilton’s knighthood has received both praise and criticism, there’s been no statement from the man himself, either officially or via his social media channels, in response to the honour.