Wolff: Knighthood is the recognition Hamilton deserves

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton’s knighthood is a sign that the seven-time world champion is getting the recognition he deserves.

Hamilton became the fourth Formula 1 driver to receive a knighthood when he was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours on the last day of 2020, although the first while still active in the championship in such a capacity.

Six of those seven titles, the most recent of which was (unofficially) clinched last October with a suitably impressive victory in the Turkish Grand Prix, have come with the Mercedes-AMG F1 Team.

The Anglo-German squad’s boss is among those to have paid tribute to the 35-year-old after the announcement.

“Lewis is one of the very greatest racing drivers of all time and the most successful British sportsperson of his era,” said Wolff.

“Around the world, he has long been recognised for his sporting achievement; this year [2020], he combined his excellence on the track with a powerful voice to fight discrimination. In every sense, he led the way in 2020.

“The news that he is to receive a knighthood shows that he is now receiving the recognition he has earned during a career of unparalleled success in motorsport.

“The UK can be very proud to have a champion and ambassador of the calibre of Sir Lewis Hamilton.”

Another British F1 world champion, Damon Hill, also gave plaudits to Hamilton.

“It’s fantastic the way he calls out to all the young kids. He’s going to ignite a whole army of Hamilton wannabe-emulators,” Hill told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“He deserves his knighthood. He always has been an exceptional talent but it’s incredible what he’s achieved this year.

“It’s not been a good year for most of us on the planet but it’s been a pretty good year for Lewis.”

Hamilton not only matched Michael Schumacher’s record haul of championships in 2020, he also moved the benchmark which the German had held for grand prix wins from 91 to 95, a feat which Martin Brundle drew attention to.

“Congratulations to him, and very well deserved,” said Brundle on Sky Sports News in Britain.

“Seven world titles he has in his pocket now equalling the great Michael Schumacher. He tops the tables in Formula 1 for most victories at 95, most pole positions at 98, most podiums at 165.

“He’s 36 years old on January 7. Most of the young guns aiming to knock him off the pedestal are 10 to 15 years younger than him and he still turns up with his A-game; full of energy, pushing like crazy.

“If anybody in sporting terms deserves this recognition then surely it’s Sir Lewis Hamilton.”

Hamilton has not been a permanent resident of his native country since 2007, and received his knighthood on the Diplomatic and Overseas List.

The other F1 drivers to have been knighted are Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Sir Stirling Moss.

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