It WILL be Sir Lewis Hamilton thanks to Boris Johnson… with Prime Minister behind plan to give the champion Formula One driver a knighthood
- Sportsmail revealed last week that Lewis Hamilton was in line for knighthood
- It is understood Boris Johnson personally intervened to secure the decision
- He would join the likes of Sir Mo Farah, Sir Andy Murray and Sir Alastair Cook
Lewis Hamilton’s status as Britain’s highest-achieving sportsman of his era, possibly of all time, will be recognised with a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.
The seven-time world champion will be rewarded after, it is understood, Boris Johnson personally intervened to secure him the accolade.
The award will finally put the soon-to-be Sir Lewis on a par with contemporaries Sir Mo Farah, Sir Andy Murray and Sir Alastair Cook.
Lewis Hamilton is set to become the fourth Formula One driver to receive a knighthood
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson intervened personally to ensure the award for Hamilton
Hamilton’s sporting prowess has long marked him out as worthy of the honour: he has dominated Formula One for nearly a decade, setting a record number of wins and pole positions.
His seventh world title — secured in Turkey last week — lifted him level with just Michael Schumacher in terms of championship triumphs.
Only his tax status has delayed the impending elevation. Hamilton, who is worth more than £250million, lives in Monaco and controversially saved £3.3m in tax by registering his £16.5m private jet — since sold — on the Isle of Man.
Mercedes’ Hamilton won his record-equalling seventh World Championship title in November
But despite this, he is among the 5,000 highest tax payers in the United Kingdom, and Downing Street sees no reason to withhold a knighthood on tax grounds.
Sportsmail understands the Prime Minister is also happy to overrule a reluctance within the sports honours committee to knight an active athlete, meaning that barring a late twist the 35-year-old’s promotion from the MBE he received 12 years ago is a certainty.
David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK, the national governing body, said: ‘If correct, this is wonderful news and well-deserved recognition for Lewis.
‘It is for the Government to decide but it is clear that it is not only his considerable record as a sportsman that is outstanding. There are also the other spheres in which he is now a leading voice, from environment issues to fighting for opportunity for all.’
Richards — the most powerful man in British motor racing — is among several leading industry figures to have written to No 10 campaigning for Hamilton’s honour.
He added: ‘It would be totally wrong for the UK to deny Lewis an award befitting his historic achievements because of where he chooses to live or work, or because his tax status has been misunderstood.’
Hamilton’s impending knighthood — which was revealed in the Sun on Sunday — will make him the fourth F1 driver to be knighted after Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, all awarded post-retirement.
No other F1 driver was knighted while racing
Williams team founders Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head complete grand prix racing’s roll call of knights.
Publicly Hamilton, who is close to signing a new £40m-a-year contract with Mercedes, has been reticent over his desire for the distinction.
He said last week: ‘When I think about being knighted, I think of people like my grandad who served in the war. And Captain Tom, who waited 100 years.
‘Then you have these doctors and nurses who are saving lives at this hardest time ever. I don’t look at myself as an unsung hero. I haven’t saved anybody.’
But, privately, the family have been desperately keen for the recognition — not least as an official seal on their remarkable journey as a mixed-race family from a Stevenage council estate to the pinnacle of a white-populated sport.
Hamilton, 35, has used his profile to speak out against racism and champion Black Lives Matter
Hamilton’s MBE came in 2008 when he won the first of his titles, aged 23, at McLaren.
Since then he has taken on a higher profile to become one of the planet’s most recognised sporting figures, and this season he has used his considerable fame to champion the Black Lives Matter cause.
‘Fighting for equality means more than winning my world titles,’ he said recently.
He is likely to steer his new moniker — Sir Lewis Hamilton — towards continuing his work in this field.
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