At 35, Lewis Hamilton is a 7-time Formula One world champion and winner of 94 races which is an all-time record. He also holds the record for most pole positions in qualifying standing at 98. He is statistically the most successful F1 driver of all time. Now, he will be conferred another honour - Knighthood. He will be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and will be the fourth F1 racer and third F1 world champion on which this is honour will be conferred upon. With his 36th birthday coming up, he will still be youngest F1 driver to be bestowed with a knighthood.
Even at 36, based on the 2021 drivers line up the brilliant Briton isn't even close to being the elder citizen of the grid with Kimi Raikkonen having already scaled across his 40s and Fernando Alonso making a return to F1 at the age of 39. Michael Schumacher, whose records Hamilton has eclipsed in 2020, was easily the oldest driver on the grid when retired for the second time in 2012. Ironically, Hamilton, replaced the great man, to go on a streak of 6 world titles with the Mercedes team.
After Hamilton won his first world crown in his second season at the McLaren Mercedes team in 2008, the queen had conferred upon him the honour of being a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to motor racing.
Hamilton beings the third world champion after the Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart to be knighted alongside Stirling Moss who often is considered to be the greatest F1 driver to not have won a world title. Hamilton is however different as he will become the first active driver upon whom the honour is bestowed upon. Before World War II, Henry Segrave and Malcolm Campbell were both knighted in 1929 and 1931 respectively.
Hamilton is only the fourth-youngest sportsman to receive the honour at the age of 35, beaten by only by former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray who received the honour at the age of 29, cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy who received it at the age of 32 and sailor Ellen MacArthur who was 28 when she was made a dame in 2005.
"Lewis is a true giant of our sport and his influence is huge both in and out of a car," said Stefano Domenicali, who will become the F1 CEO in January.
"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," he added.
Hamilton's boss at Mercedes, Toto Wolff was full of praise as well.
"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," said the Austrian who recently re-signed to be with the team as its CEO and principal for another 3 years and increased his stake to 33 per cent in the company.
"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 calibre of Sir Lewis Hamilton," he concluded.
Hamilton is yet to renew his contract at Mercedes for the 2021 season but it is widely believed that the contract will be renewed. Hamilton has also won the BBC Sports Personality of the year award and shared the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the year with footballer Lionel Messi of Argentina and Barcelona.