Lewis Hamilton hailed ‘greatest British sportsman’ ever as knighthood calls grow

Lewis Hamilton has been hailed as the greatest British sportsman in history after he emulated Michael Schumacher by winning his seventh world championship.

Hamilton delivered the drive of drives to wrap up his sixth title in seven years with a brilliant victory at Sunday's rain-hit Turkish Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old Englishman will now end his career as the most decorated driver in Formula One history, having already registered a greater number of victories, pole positions and podiums than anyone who has gone before him.

PA graphic
PA graphic

"I just watched Lewis Hamilton drive to his seventh world title crown," tweeted former England and Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand.

"[He is] the greatest sportsman this country has ever produced – no doubts. And he still has more chapters to come."

The case will now be made for Hamilton to be knighted in the New Year Honours list.

As revealed by the PA news agency last month, former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, who serves as Chair for the All-Party Parliamentary F1 Group, will now write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging that Hamilton follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray, Mo Farah and Alastair Cook as Britain's next sporting Sir.

36 PHOTOS
Turkish Grand Prix
See Gallery
Turkish Grand Prix
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Racing Point and third placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Murad Sezer - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates winning a 7th F1 World Drivers Championship in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel (R) congratulates Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Kenan Asyali / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KENAN ASYALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts as he gets out of his car after winning the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Clive Mason / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CLIVE MASON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race and the 7th world championship after the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Nicholas Latifi of Canada driving the (6) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose - Pool/Getty Images)
Spectators watch the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 15, 2020. (Photo by MURAD SEZER / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MURAD SEZER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 runs wide under pressure from George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Turkish Air Forces aerobatic demonstration team, 'SOLOTURK' performs ahead of the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes stops in the Pitlane during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: People follow the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes and the rest of the field at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Murad Sezer - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton (44) of Mercedes competes during the Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the first practice session at the Intecity Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul on November 13, 2020 ahead of the Turksish Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Kenan Asyali / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KENAN ASYALI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy driving the (99) Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Kenan Asyali-Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 12, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Antonin Vincent - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Nicholas Latifi of Canada driving the (6) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes leads Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Kenan Asyali-Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 in the Pitlane during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 12, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing talks with a Red Bull Racing team member in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Team speaks to press at the paddock of the Intercity Istanbul Park ahead of Formula 1 DHL Turkish Grand Prix 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. Teams made track walk at Intercity Istanbul Park as part of qualification lap on November 14 and the race on November 15. The Turkish Grand Prix will be held on Sunday at the Intercity Istanbul Park in Tuzla on the citys Asian side. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari walks in the Paddock before practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 13: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 13, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Antonio Giovinazzi (99) of Alfa Romeo drives at Turkish Grand Prix 2020 training tour, at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 12: Lewis Hamilton (44) of Mercedes team drives at Turkish Grand Prix 2020 training tour, at Intercity Istanbul Park in Istanbul, Turkey on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 spins during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 15: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates winning a 7th F1 World Drivers Championship in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Turkey at Intercity Istanbul Park on November 15, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Hamilton was awarded an MBE after his maiden championship triumph in 2008.

"When I think about that honour of being knighted, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war," said Hamilton on the potential accolade.

"Captain Tom waited 100 years for that great honour, and then you have these doctors and nurses, who are saving lives during this hardest time ever.

"I think about those unsung heroes and I don't look at myself as an unsung hero. I haven't saved anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small number of people have bestowed on them.

"I hear the national anthem and I am a very proud Brit. It is a special moment to be up there representing a nation and having the flag over your head."

Hamilton's £40million-a-year Mercedes deal expires next month but a renewal is set to be completed in the coming weeks once the dust has settled on his triumph.

"I feel like I am only just getting started," added Hamilton, who said he would celebrate his landmark achievement by watching a re-run of Sunday's race with Minestrone soup at his Monaco apartment.

"I feel physically in great shape. This year has been the hardest year for millions of people. I know things always look great on the big stage but it is no different for us athletes. It has been a challenge.

"I didn't know how to get through it but with the help of great team around me I have managed to keep my head above water and stay focused.

"I am really hopeful for a better year and I would love to stay. We have only just begun in our work to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise that we cannot ignore the human rights issues with the countries we go to. I want to help Formula One. I want to help Mercedes in that journey."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS