“I’m not an unsung hero”: Hamilton not considering possibility of knighthood

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has insisted he is not considering the possibility of being knighted for his achievements following his latest world championship success.

The Mercedes driver has already won more races and scored more pole positions than any driver in the history of the sport. Yesterday he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world championships.

While many have called for Hamilton to be included in the new year’s honours list, he insisted he isn’t considering the possibility of being knighted.

“Every year we talk about this and I naturally get the questions and I don’t really have anything different to say, compared to before,” said Hamilton.

“When I think about that honour, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war, I think about Sir Captain Tom who got knighted and waited 100 years for that incredible honour. The people that are running hospitals, the nurses and doctors who are saving lives during the hardest time ever.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2019
Why Hamilton’s lack of a knighthood should come as no surprise
“I think about those unsung heroes and I don’t look at myself as an unsung hero. I’ve not saved anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small group of people have had bestowed upon them.

“All I can say is that standing today, and hearing the national anthem I’m very, very proud. I am a very proud Brit and that, as I said before, this really is like the most special moment to be able to represent, to be up there representing a nation. Having the flag over your head, over number one, that is such an incredible honour. That’s really all I have to say about it.

“It’s not something that I think about. I’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s more work to do here in this sport.”

Hamilton has taken on a far more active role in promoting diversity and environmental sustainability in the sport during 2020.

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“This year we’ve had this awakening and I think people hopefully are starting to be held accountable and holding themselves accountable and realising that’s actually not a really bad thing,” he said. “It just means we’ve got to work harder, we’ve got to not be so stubborn, open our minds up and educate ourselves a bit better so we can push for a more equal world.

F1's seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher
F1’s two seven-times champions: Hamilton and Schumacher’s title wins compared
“I’m not going to stop fighting for that. And then part-time maybe I’ll keep racing for a little while.”

Immediately after his victory in yesterday’s Turkish Grand Prix, Hamilton said on his radio: “To all the kids out there who dream the impossible, you can do it too.” Speaking to media later, he said he hopes to serve as an example to young black people in particular.

“When I was younger, I didn’t have anybody in the sport that looked like me, so it was easy to think that that’s not possible to get there, because nobody of your colour has ever been there. You don’t see any black people on TV that are in Formula 1.

“But I think hopefully this sends a message to the kids that are watching. Hopefully they’ve seen that performance today and hopefully they can see that it doesn’t matter where you come from, I think whatever your background, I think it’s so important to you to dream big.

“And if you are looking at places, industries that you don’t see someone of the same background as you, or the same ethnicity as you, or with the same religion, create your own path. Because that’s what we did. That’s what I’ve been able to do. And it’s been so tough. ‘Tough’ doesn’t even describe how hard it’s been. I hope that sends that message. That’s the most important message for kids: to dream as big as possible and not give up.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on ““I’m not an unsung hero”: Hamilton not considering possibility of knighthood”

  1. Sir Jimmy Savile. Sir Geoffrey Boycott. Sir Nick Clegg.

    I think Lewis wants to stay well clear, to be honest.

    1. @red-andy Jimmy Saville was stripped of his knighthood after the revelations came out, so he is no longer part of that company. Seems harsh to name those other two in the same category as Saville, although I know nothing about the cricketer.

      1. @keithinedin No he wasn’t, for the fairly straightforward reason that honours don’t survive the death of the person, so there was nothing to strip him of.

        Geoffrey Boycott has a conviction for domestic violence. And as for Clegg…

    2. @red-andy At the time he was knighted, Saville was believed to be doing good work. Boycott was a sporting hero and considered a national treasure (not my personal opinion I hasten to add).

      What on earth did Clegg ever do besides get in bed with the enemy and lead his political party into oblivion?

      If offered, Lewis should only accept enrolment in this anachronistic imperial institution so he could reject it and use the platform to make a statement.

      1. @psynrg

        If offered, Lewis should only accept enrolment in this anachronistic imperial institution so he could reject it and use the platform to make a statement.

        Which is precisely why they tend to ‘sound out’ potential candidates first to ensure the award doesn’t get refused.

    3. @red-andy +1 Most knighthoods are political and establishment favours, the others (like those for sportspeople) used to add a sheen of popularism. Yes it would be recognition for Lewis and worthy achievers like him, but it’s done essentially for a cynical reason.

  2. What else would one say to such a silly question? I think he fully deserves it, but I don’t think anyone would ever expect such an honour.

    1. I would think that those who “expect” to get it do not really deserve it @skipgamer. Honestly, I think it would be great if they give it to Hamilton after achieving so much more, which he will surely do in the long life he still has ahead of him.

      That he would wholly deserve to be honoroured this way is also true, off course.

  3. « The people that are running hospitals, the nurses and doctors who are saving lives during the hardest time. I’ve not saved anybody. »

    Wow, this… this is powerful.

    I’m no brit, but talked about the knighthood with my brother along the 2020 season, he deserves it just as much as Sir Frank Williams or Sir Jackie Stewart, but the answer he came with is the perfect response.

  4. I honestly can not comprehend how anybody can hate this guy.

    He is an amazing sportsman and a fantastic human being.

    He’s not a robot, he says what he thinks. He makes mistakes in public, isn’t afraid of them and is willing to apologise…

    He really is the ultimate inspiration.

    1. +1 it goes to show you how imperfect this world is and how ignorant many people are. What’s as clear as 1+1 to many folks is downright impossible to understand for others. I’ve found that those people usually tend to think they know everything while folks with IQs of 150-200 will tell you they know nothing. It’s ironic how ignorance and omniscience can co-exist in such large parts of the population particularly the ones that had trouble with remedial arithmetic:)

      1. Sadly @freelittlebirds, Intellect is like jam, the less you have, the more you spread it.

        @keithcollantine Some comments here are just disgusting.

        1. +1 There should be no room for rac ism on this website. Keith should shut that down.

        2. 100% warzones in the comments section.

          1. I noticed 2 comments in reply to mine that feel the comments are not acceptable – I didn’t mean to offend anyone with my comment and It doesn’t apply to anyone in particular.

          2. Michael, I’m just mocking the comment section by saying it’s a warzone and constantly using it.

    2. It’s because in some people’s eyes he has the wrong skin colour. There really is no mystery to it.

  5. Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie are among a variety of people who received an honorary knighthood… for instance.

    1. Well at least gates lives up to the expectations then.
      The Bill and Melinda foundation saves more lives then lots of other “nights” ever dreamed of.

      1. Give me a break. Gates is not an inherently nice person. He was adamant about not paying a single extra dime or benefits to all the employees working for Microsoft, the folks that made him rich yet he’s so kind to strangers that he’s never met? I read an article about Microsoft being so upset that their company offered the best benefits in Silicon Valley and some exec came up with the idea of equalizing them with other companies. Gates was on board with it instead of saying “hey, we should be proud of offering the best benefits, that’s what sets us apart and helps us attract the best talent” and then fired the cruel exec.

        1. Microsoft is not based in Silicon Valley.

  6. Forget knighthood, and get this man a crown, right now!

    1. He already has a lot of crowns and increasing them every year..
      “A crown equals five shillings.”

  7. Blacks don’t tend to be interested in any Motorsport bye and large.

    Says who? That’s like saying women aren’t interested in equal pay as an excuse for gender pay gaps.

    Hamilton is wealthy enough to put his money and influence where his mouth is and start a Black Academy

    He’s started the Hamilton commission this year to investigate and make improvements to the lack of diversity throughout F1, and he’s involved in Extreme E which is taking the lead on gender equality. He’s said he’s just getting started too.

    What have you done recently? Be sure to get in contact with him with your advice.

  8. So raises an objection to Hamilton based on tax ‘dodging’ which is perfectly legal, yet praises Rossi for running a highly profitable business (no idea why thats somehow ‘worthy’) and being forced to pay Italian authorities $27.6 million to settle a tax evasion case.

    And from what I can gather from this odd individual is that Hamilton should stop putting vast amounts of resources into supporting disadvantaged children (including opening up opportunities for them through STEM) and instead train up black drivers as that is somehow more worthy.

    1. If tax was really issue, Mr sir Jackie (excuse my language) big mouth, has moved to Swiss tax heavens 52 yrs ago… He should answer..

  9. What about people who are ignorant? Lewis pays UK tax on uk earnings. Will you please then rescind your remark?

  10. I expect thing will bring up Hugo Boss. That will be the sponsor who didnt have their Mercedes contract renewed as Ham landed the Hilfiger deal.

  11. Your foolishness is only exceeded by your foolishness.

  12. What do you define as a Tax Dodger? Is it someone who makes use of the legitimate excuses available to minimise one’s tax burden? If the British Government didn’t want people exploiting the holes in the tax cullender then they’d plug the holes.

  13. In one of Ian Fleming’s books he brought up the issue of a Knighthood for Bond.
    Naturally Bond was ambivalent towards the idea, stating “it would only result in him paying more for hotel rooms”.

  14. Infuriating. I am black and love motorsport and wanted to be an F1 driver growing up. So too did both of my brothers. Karting was straight out of the question, in terms of cost and also the basic concept of a career racing cars for my immigrant parents did not exist. Career paths for many with parents with immigrant backgrounds were “be an accountant or a doctor”, in order to secure more certain financial security. Being a F1 driver was too much of a unknown risk.

    Diversity in the sport is more than bringing one or two people directly in the sport, but trying to understand the fundamental reasons people don’t get into the sport (such as lack of parental support, money, access etc, awareness of career paths) and remedying the underlying issues.

    This is what he has tried to shed a light on this year, discussing it openly and working with the Hamilton commission, whilst being a clear shining example of what is possible.

    I’m not saying your racist… but I am definitely trying to make it clear why the “blacks don’t like motorsport” part of your comment is at best perceived as uninformed and ignorant, and morelikely to be seen as flat out racist.

    P.s. people don’t say “Black”, you were better of saying black people.its sounds terrible mate.

  15. @KeithCollantine this is unacceptable. How can we accept having a comment section like this.

    1. They all think they’re John Wick of the F1 fandom but they’re not.

  16. It seems that most of the rest of the world honour Lewis,judging by the impact he has and the attraction he represents for F1.
    So my question is pretty simple, if Sir Jackie deserved it after 3 WC’s, then Lewis should already have had it ! Now it’s way to late to be an honour for Lewis, it’s simply the establishment catching up with the rest of the world and is somewhat superfluous.
    I think Lewis’s response is both exceptionally diplomatic..and hopefully the establishment will see it’s not much point in offering it as Lewis appears to have already suggested ‘more deserving people’.
    Indeed it would be an honour for the establishment to even offer it, but not such an ‘honour worth having’ for Lewis to accept it.
    Kudos to you Lewis :-)

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