Lewis Hamilton may be the nailed-on favourite to land the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award, but the McLaren driver insists that he is not expecting to hear his name read out when the ceremony takes place next month.

The Briton admitted that he was honoured to have been listed among the nominees, but claimed that there were other worthy contenders for the title, which has been won by Formula One predecessors Nigel Mansell and Damon hill in recent years.

Of course, both Mansell and Hill took the title after winning the Formula One world championship, but Hamilton's stunning debut performance in 2007 lifted him straight to the head of the bookmakers' rankings.

"I'm not going to say it bothers me, but even to be considered for the award... I can't believe it, to be honest," he told BBC's Radio 2, "It's a bit of a surprise to me, and I'll be very, very honoured if I do win. But there's a lot of other very talented young people who could win, so I won't be surprised if I don't...."

Pushed to reveal where his vote would go, Hamilton - prompted by presenter Chris Evans - hurriedly plumped for athlete Paula Radcliffe, who claimed last weekend's New York marathon, but he will also face oppostion from boxers Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton - both of whom will have fought for titles in the run-up to the awards - and golfer Justin Rose, who secured the European Order of Merit title for the first time in a play-off at Valderrama.

The final short-list of ten contenders will be announced on 30 November, with a public vote for the winner during the live awards show on the night of Sunday 9 December. By that time, Hamilton will be back in action, preparing for next season.

"I'm trying to wind down from this season, but there's still a lot of work to do, preparation for next year, so I need to make sure I enjoy some time now with family and friends," he said of the intervening period, adding that he was still coming to terms with his rise to the top of his chosen sport.

"I wasn't gutted," he insisted when asked about missing the world title in Brazil last month, "I think, for everyone, you have some disappointment, but I went into the last race and the whole season flashed through my mind. Who would have thought that I'd have such an amazing year? I have everything to be happy for, not sorry for. I can't believe that my first season in F1 has already gone by - I remember, twelve months ago, sitting at home hoping I'd get the drive and now I'm here, a fully-fledged F1 driver."



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