LEWIS HAMILTON’s sporting success has seen many claim he should be honoured by Her Majesty with a knighthood – but the Mercedes driver gave a surprising comment on how he would handle meeting royalty.
The Mercedes Formula 1 driver secured his first win of the season last weekend at the Styrian Grand Prix. But Lewis Hamilton has also received praise for taking a knee before both races completed so far, while encouraging other drivers to do the same. He applauded his Mercedes team for joining in with the demonstration, as well as other drivers. However, four of the drivers present did not take a knee, provoking Hamilton to appeal for more backing. He told Sky Sports F1: “It’s not something I asked for them to do, but it’s a beautiful thing. It doesn’t take a lot to do something like that, and it’s not changing the world, but perhaps shifting perceptions and shifting ideals. We’ll just keep going.”
He secured victory on Sunday – meaning he has now won 85 grand prix – just six short of all-time leading race winner Michael Schumacher.
In 2019, several key figures suggested he should receive a knighthood, not just because of his sporting triumphs, but also his tax and charity contributions.
However, Hamilton admitted he didn’t think he would receive the honour despite having just secured his sixth world title – just one behind Schumacher’s seven.
When asked last year by reporters about whether he thought he would be knighted, and what his thoughts were on the Royal Family, he said: “I don’t think it is going to happen.
“But that doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t mean I am not British and I will continue to try and raise the flag as well as I can.
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“Just the fact that people have mentioned it, is an honour, but I have not spent my life chasing it. It is just not something you grow up thinking of.
“But if it did happen I don’t know how I would handle it. I have stood in front of Her Majesty the Queen before and it was incredible. She really is awesome.”
David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK, and Lord Hain, the former Labour cabinet member, wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson making the case for Hamilton’s recognition in the New Year honours last year.
The letters to MrJohnson made the point that Hamilton’s story is inspirational: the boy from a Stevenage council house who became the first black driver in Formula One.
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Lord Hain, who serves on the All Party Parliamentary Group for F1, researched the claim that Hamilton — despite living in Monaco — is among the UK’s 5,000 biggest taxpayers.
The Mercedes star’s earnings allow him to contribute a significant amount to the exchequer while working in Britain, where his team is based.
The revelations come in spite of criticism fired at the F1 star for his decision to live in Monaco, due to its notorious approach to tax.
After his win on the weekend, for example, actor and outspoken commentator Laurence Fox posted a picture of Hamilton on the podium alongside the caption “make tax havens great again”.
Back in 2019, Hamilton had begun working on a partnership with Comic Relief to establish a £1million fund to support British-based charities which help disadvantaged youngsters.
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Former Aston Martin chairman David Richards added that it would be an oversight if the F1 star did not become “Sir Lewis”.
He added last year: “I can’t think of anyone more worthy of that recognition than Lewis. It would be a major oversight if that is not recognised in the new year honours.
“Lewis is far more remarkable in that he did not come from a privileged background.
“He and his father worked incredibly hard to get into karting and up the steps of the ladder.
“It was sheer hard graft, not gifted to him on a plate. They made huge sacrifices and that makes his achievements even more extraordinary.”
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