Sir Lewis Hamilton today received a knighthood from Prince Charles in recognition of a glittering career in Formula One just days after he controversially lost out on a record eighth title.
The 36-year-old was joined by his mum Carmen Lockhart at today’s Windsor Castle investiture ceremony, with Lockhart looking proud as punch as they posed for pictures in the castle’s quadrangle.
The Mercedes driver is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted, following in the footsteps of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, and the first to be awarded the honour while still competing.
Hamilton was recognised in the New Year Honours list following a record-breaking year in which he eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s all-time victory tally and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.
The accolade comes just days after a heartbreaking defeat in Abu Dhabi.
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On Sunday, rival Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One world title after his season-long battle with Hamilton came down to a one-lap shoot-out.
The deployment of the safety car after a late crash at the Yas Marina Circuit wiped out the lead Hamilton had built over his rival, and Verstappen had the advantage as he was using fresher tyres.
After the Red Bull driver stormed past Sir Lewis – who missed out on a fifth title in succession – the British racing star reportedly said on the car radio: “This has been manipulated, man”, but he was later magnanimous in post-race interviews.
He told Sky Sports at the time: “Congratulations to Max and his team. I think we did an amazing job this year. Everyone back at the factory and here worked so hard in this most difficult of seasons.”
Undeterred, Hamilton will be back in 2022 alongside new team mate George Russell.
Despite Sunday’s controversy, fans of the driver are over the moon to see him receive such an honour, with one Twitter user heralding Hamilton as the “greatest sportsman ever”:
Beyond his impressive career in motorsports, Hamilton has a solid track record of encouraging social change, too.
The Hamilton Commission aims to increase black representation in British motorsport and the wider STEM sector, and was founded after Hamilton noticed the lack of representation in the 2019 end-of-season photo.
Following a report from the Hamilton Commission, the racing driver launched a charity called Ignite alongside Mercedes to foster talent amongst underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing a career in motorsports and STEM.
In July of this year Hamilton also launched Mission 44, a foundation that encourages young people from underrepresented groups to reach their full potential.
He was also praised for using his platform at the Met Gala to spotlight the talent of four young black designers by hosting them at his table. Designers Theophilio, Kenneth Nicholson, and Jason Rembert were amongst those he invited.
Congratulations, Sir Lewis!
With additional reporting by PA.