With Lewis Hamilton reportedly set to be awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, we take a look at why he deserves to be knighted Sir Lewis Hamilton.
From breaking records to striving for positive change within society to being one of Formula One’s greatest-ever drivers, Hamilton has had an extraordinary 14 seasons at the pinnacle of motorsport and on reflection, here are three reasons why he deserves a knighthood for all of his success on and off track.
If there is one thing that all Sirs of sport have in common is that they have achieved remarkable success in their individual sports, which Hamilton absolutely sums up with several records smashed across his 14 seasons in Formula One.
From becoming the UK’s greatest title winning F1 driver in 2017 with his fourth title to now claiming a record-equalling seventh crown, Hamilton has proven that he one of the UK’s greatest sporting talents of our generation in an era when it is tough for any athlete of any sport to reign with such dominance.
Hamilton though isn’t dominant in terms of just titles because he also has smashed several smaller records like pole positions and race victories, plus has recorded the most wins at British, Hungarian, USA and Chinese Grands Prix amongst various records which is really only a small sense of just how sublime Hamilton is within his sport.
On that note, it is difficult to deny him a knighthood given that there aren’t exactly any other athletes this year to justify a knighthood outside of World Superbikes’ Jonathan Rea, who has won six consecutive Superbike titles and also deserves a knighthood alongside Hamilton.
Commitment to Diversity
Outside of his sporting success, Hamilton has also played a marked role in pushing for more diversity within motorsport and utilised the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement earlier this year to further the need for increased diversity within the sport with the now traditional ‘End Racism’ message pre-race by all drivers.
One particular aspect of his drive to improve prospects for future minor-ethnic people within the sport is the Hamilton Commission which seeks to identify and fix key barriers towards recruitment and progression of minor-ethnic people within the UK Motorsport industry from driving to engineering.
Hamilton also hasn’t been afraid to use his social media accounts to speak out on injustice even if meant calling out the attitudes of his fellow drivers in their silence on non F1 related issues, at a time when sport stars are considered role models who should look to contribute towards positive change within society using their stature.
We also must not forget Mercedes’ decision to switch to a black livery this season in support of BLM and launch a ‘Diversity and Inclusion programme’ as part of their commitment to diversity, which Hamilton welcomed in his quest for F1 personnel to be “leaders” and “build a legacy that goes beyond sport…”
Those quotes highlights that Hamilton doesn’t just care about success on track but also utilising his platform as a professional athlete to raise awareness of social issues and help make a difference in improving society as a whole off the racetrack, in a manner that we haven’t really seen many minor-ethnic athletes do.
Add in his commitments to improving the environment whilst supporting various charities like UNICEF and emergency funds like the Australian Bushfires at start of 2020, then you realise that Hamilton isn’t just a typical athlete but also strives to make a wider difference in society.
If we also look at a lot of knighted sport stars like Sir Kenny Dalglish amongst others then it is impossible to argue against knighting Hamilton given that he has done plenty of admirable charity work, whilst also continuing to sit at the top of his game within F1 in terms of breaking records and winning titles.
Hamilton might have already enjoyed great sporting success overall in F1 but if we reflect on his home race record then to win seven home races in 14 seasons at the pinnacle of motorsport speaks volumes about his quality to succeed, even when under pressure on home soil from not just fans but weather as well.
His first win was simply a wet weather masterclass but to also take victory in dry/wet then wet/dry conditions as well as in fully dry condition races in which tyres played a pivotal role too highlights just how unique a talent Hamilton is, especially if factor in the fact that no other F1 driver has won more home races than Hamilton has which is quite extraordinary for any driver to achieve at their home event.
There however will be some who will argue that Michael Schumacher won in his home country of Germany nine times and is therefore the best driver at their home F1 race, although in actuality he won the German Grand Prix four times, with his five other home soil victories coming under the ‘European Grand Prix’ banner in reality.
On that note coming back to his sporting success, Hamilton’s overall achievements within F1 and at his home race are simply extraordinary for someone who experienced racism throughout childhood, which is all the more evident in his attitude to strive for diverse change in society and motorsport for people of minor ethnicity through the Hamilton Commission amongst various charitable work.
It therefore makes perfect sense to award Hamilton a knighthood because he has overcome various obstacles to become one of the UK’s greatest modern sport stars, all whilst striving to use his experiences to make paths easier for younger people of minor-ethnicity to achieve their dreams whilst still at top of his sport himself.
Finally, Hamilton’s post Turkish GP radio message last weekend, saying; “For all the kids out there, who dream the impossible, you can do it too man” demonstrates how aware Hamilton is a driver of challenges that face various youngsters and especially of minor-ethnicity groups and the ultimate award for him would be the arising of Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021.