Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in the Queen’s New Years Honours list.
Hamilton clinched a seventh drivers’ world title at the Turkish Grand Prix in November to match Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for most world championships in the sport.
The 35-year-old Briton becomes the first F1 driver in the history of the championship to receive the award while still active.
He joins fellow world champions Sir Jack Brabham and Sir Jackie Stewart in being knighted, while Sir Stirling Moss is the only other F1 driver to have received the accolade.
Hamilton had previously been overlooked due to his tax affairs and living in Monaco since 2010 but his honour came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally intervened by placing him on the ‘Diplomatic and Overseas List’.
It followed a push from Motorsport UK and the All Party Parliamentary Group for F1 who urged the prime minister to back a knighthood for Hamilton, who is among the top 5,000 UK taxpayers despite his permanent place of residence being Monaco.
The honour comes off the back of a momentous and historic year for Hamilton, who added to his previous title triumphs in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 by winning 10 of the 16 races he contested across the coronavirus-affected 2020 season.
Hamilton also eclipsed Schumacher’s record for most race wins a month before his championship coronation and ended the year with 95 victories to his name.
Off the track, Hamilton has been at the forefront of F1’s push for equality and diversity as well as being a leading campaigner in the fight against racism, having supported the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Hamilton has also supported a pro-diversity initiative launched by his Mercedes team and has co-founded The Hamilton Commission in a bid to help improve the representation of ethnic minorities in motorsport.
Hamilton, who is widely expected to sign a new F1 contract to remain with Mercedes in 2021 and beyond, joins the likes of fellow British sportsmen Sir Mo Farah and Sir Andy Murray in receiving a knighthood while still being active.