Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle and Damon Hill have congratulated Lewis Hamilton on his knighthood and believe the honour is a fitting reward for the seven-time world champion’s achievements in and out of the car.
At the end of a year in which he won a record-equalling seventh F1 world championship and has powerfully used his platform to speak out against racial injustice, Hamilton becomes the fourth F1 driver to be knighted after Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart.
The 35-year-old is the first driver to be awarded the honour while still racing.
“Congratulations to him, and very well deserved,” Brundle told Sky Sports News.
“Seven world titles he has in his pocket now equalling the great Michael Schumacher. He tops the tables in Formula 1 for most victories at 95, most pole positions at 98, most podiums at 165.
“He’s 36 years old on January 7. Most of the young guns aiming to knock him off the pedestal are 10-15 years younger than him and he still turns up with his A game; full of energy, pushing like crazy.
“If anybody in sporting terms deserves this recognition then surely it’s Sir Lewis Hamilton.”
Given what he has accomplished on and off track this year, Brundle feels “the time surely feels absolutely right” for Hamilton to be knighted.
Congratulations to @LewisHamilton for his Knighthood. 7 titles in 14 years is an amazing record and his work off track in recent times has been powerful too.
Also congrats to TT ace and all round legend @jm130tt for his MBE 👏🏽👏🏽
— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok)
Richly deserved and long overdue. Congratulations Sir Lewis Hamilton – Is it ‘Knights Out & Away We Go’ from now on? :)))) https://t.co/nMJ7DDLUGk
— David Croft (@CroftyF1)
Hill, the 1996 world champion, described Hamilton’s honour as “terrific and well earned”, and praised the way in which the seven-time champion has brought issues of social justice and diversity to the forefront both in F1 and wider society.
“He is standing up for issues that are close to his heart and affect everyone, and in our sport it’s very rare for a driver to get involved in anything that’s outside of Formula 1,” said Hill to Sky Sports.
“Lewis has said ‘this affects me, this affects every black person’. He’s stood up at a time when it could have destabilised his career, could have destabilised his concentration on the championship. So he took a huge gamble to do that, and that’s courage and that’s standing up for what you believe is right.”
Hamilton was honoured for his services to motorsport on the Overseas and International List, which recognises “exceptional service to the UK abroad and internationally”.
Brundle said: “When we see Lewis up on the podium and we hear the national anthem, and we see him with the Union Flag and being crowd-surfed at Silverstone, this all sums it up in terms of underlining what he has achieved in representing Great Britain and Formula 1.”
Wolff on Hamilton: ‘In every sense, he led the way in 2020’
In a glowing tribute to his team’s superstar driver, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “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.
“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.”