Calls for Lewis Hamilton to be awarded a knighthood following his seventh Formula 1 world championship have increased.
A number of leading figures from across an array of sports have suggested the 35-year-old warrants the honour.
Damon Hill, who won the world championship in 1996 and became the first son of a world champion to also win the title, has been vocal in his support for Hamilton.
“Lewis has always been breaking down barriers, the moment he arrived in F1 or even in karting he was breaking barriers and challenging the status quo,” Hill said.
“The knighthood will be seen as recognition of not just his driving but also as a black driver that has bust another door open for anyone who is not white.
“He has destroyed the preconception that it can’t be done, that there is an area where you cannot achieve something because of the colour of your skin. He has totally destroyed that notion.”
Hill’s comments have been echoed by two-time Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray.
The Scot was awarded a knighthood in 2017 after winning his second title.
“In terms of what he has achieved as an athlete, of course he deserves it,” Murray told Good Morning Britain.
“He’s one of the most successful sportspeople in the country’s history.”
David Richards, Chairman of both Motorsport UK and the All Party Parliamentary Group of Formula 1 has also voiced his support for Hamilton.
“Sure he’ll be remembered as a great Formula 1 driver but I think he’s going on to create a legacy for himself that’s far bigger than that, in society generally,” he told Sky Sports.
“That for me is a sign of a champion. Someone who uses the platform for sport to promote other things that are far more important than just winning on a Sunday.”
As the push for the honour has increased, Hamilton was asked about the prospect of being knighted.
“When I think about that honour I think about people like my granddad who served in the war,” he explained.
“I’ve not saved any lives. I’m not an unsung hero like NHS staff or Captain Sir Tom Moore.
“Like everyone, I’ve grown up adoring the royal family.
“If one day I am honoured to be up in front of the queen again, it would be the happiest day ever to see her again – she’s an icon, such an incredible individual.”
Jack Brabham became Formula 1’s first knight in 1979 in recognition of his services to motorsport.
Latterly, Jackie Stewart (2001), Frank Williams (1999), Patrick Head (2015) and the late Stirling Moss (2000) have also had the honour bestowed upon them.
Hamilton is the most successful driver in F1 history, equalling Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven world titles while individually holding the records for most wins and pole positions.