A knighthood ‘long overdue’ for ‘biggest British sporting star’ Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's reported knighthood has been welcomed as "long overdue" for Britain's "biggest sporting star".

Hamilton won a record-equalling seventh world championship last Sunday and will receive the accolade in the New Year Honours, according to The Sun.

Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, who serves as Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Formula One, has written on two occasions to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for Hamilton, 35, to be honoured with a knighthood.

"If it is correct, I will be thrilled to see Lewis joining the pantheon of sporting knights because he is right up there with Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Mo Farah, Sir Andy Murray, Sir Alastair Cook and the others," Hain told the PA news agency on Sunday.

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File photo dated 03-11-2019 of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.
Lewis Hamilton posing for a picture with his second-placed 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
File photo dated 03-11-2019 of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning his sixth world championship after the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.
File photo dated 13-07-2019 of Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton in action during third practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Towcester.
File photo dated 14-07-2019 of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates with fans after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Towcester.
Lewis Hamilton attending the Fashion Awards 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London. Picture credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team�s British driver Lewis Hamilton competes during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Jure Makovec / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team�s British driver Lewis Hamilton arrives for the drivers parade ahead of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Jure Makovec / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Winner Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team�s British driver Lewis Hamilton (2nd R), second placed Red Bull Racing�s Dutch driver Max Verstappen (2nd L) and third placed Scuderia Ferrari�s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (R) celebrate after the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. (Photo by Jure Makovec / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport) during the Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2019 in United Arab Emirates. 29 Nov 2019. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 during the Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2019 in United Arab Emirates. 29 Nov 2019. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)
Mercedes team photo with Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 during the Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2019 in United Arab Emirates. 29 Nov 2019. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport) during the Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2019 in United Arab Emirates. 29 Nov 2019. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)
McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain adjusts his fireproof balaclava as he prepares for the second day practice session in Melbourne March 17, 2007. The first race of the F1 Grand Prix season will be held on Sunday at the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit. REUTERS/Scott Wensley (AUSTRALIA)
Formula One F1 - Steiermark Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria - July 12, 2020 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wears a protective face mask as he celebrates winning the race on the podium, following the resumption of F1 after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Joe Klamar/Pool via REUTERS
Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 29, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates by kissing the trophy on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - August 4, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton gestures on the podium as he celebrates winning the Hungarian Grand Prix as Red Bull's Max Verstappen looks on REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning his fifth drivers' title during the F1 Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City on October 28, 2018. Alfredo Estrella/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One F1 - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan - October 7, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race REUTERS/Issei Kato TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 29, 2018 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One - F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack, Montmelo Spain - 14/05/17 - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium. REUTERS/Juan Medina TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One - Australia Grand Prix - Melbourne, Australia - 18/03/16 - Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Mercedes representative Niki Lauda speak in the team garage at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. REUTERS/Brandon Malone TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Formula One - F1 - United States Grand Prix 2015 - Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, United States of America - 25/10/15Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race and the world championshipMandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch ZweiLivepicPLEASE NOTE: FOR UK EDITORIAL SALES ONLY. FOR ALL OTHER USAGE ADDITIONAL FEES WILL APPLY - PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Formula One - F1 - United States Grand Prix 2015 - Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, United States of America - 25/10/15 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race and the world championship Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Hoch Zwei Livepic PLEASE NOTE: FOR UK EDITORIAL SALES ONLY. FOR ALL OTHER USAGE ADDITIONAL FEES WILL APPLY - PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER. *** Local Caption *** - *** Local Caption *** -
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) leaves the winners podium as Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (R) sprays champagne in celebration after winning the Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, October 11, 2015. Hamilton won the race ahead of Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany who finished second and Force India Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico who placed third. At rear is Andy Cowell of Mercedes, winner of the race's constructor trophy. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates with his team after winning the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SPORT MOTORSPORT F1 TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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"Lewis is not just a serial champion, he is actually the biggest British sporting star in the world by far. It is long overdue.

"The fact that his background is so humble, and the fact that he is black, just adds to his incredible achievement.

"It is not just what you see in the cockpit of his car, but also his charitable work and improving diversity in Formula One, which could have an impact on other sports.

"He is a role model for young girls and boys whatever their backgrounds, whatever their colour, to be able to reach for the sky."

In the wake of Hamilton's seventh title, which moved him level with Michael Schumacher's all-time championship tally, Johnson was told it would be totally wrong to deny the Briton a knighthood because of his tax status.

Motorsport UK chairman David Richards also sent a letter to Downing Street earlier this month explaining that Hamilton, who lives in Monaco, "is subject to withholding tax at source in nine countries" and "files tax returns in four of the nine countries".

It is also claimed that HMRC's UK Income Tax Liabilities Statistics, published in 2019, puts Hamilton among the top 5,000 highest tax payers in the UK.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning his seventh world title in Turkey
Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning his seventh world title in Turkey (PA Wire)

"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," Richards stated in the letter.

Hain added: "For more than half of the year Lewis' job takes him around the world. He pays tax in a number of countries, and he also pays a great big lump of British tax, too.

"He has a residence in Britain and is proudly British so it should not be an issue."

Hamilton was awarded an MBE by the Queen after he won his first title
Hamilton was awarded an MBE by the Queen after he won his first title (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Hamilton was awarded an MBE following his first championship in 2008 and has gone on to rewrite the sport's record books, winning more races (94) and securing more poles (97) and podiums than any other driver before him.

"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."

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