Race car driver is now a knight

Free Press wire reports | 1/7/2021, 6 p.m.
Lewis Hamilton, the seven- time Formula One racing champion, is now a “Sir” as well.
Sir Lewis Hamilton

LONDON - Lewis Hamilton, the seven- time Formula One racing champion, is now a “Sir” as well.

The 35-year-old Black Brit received a knighthood Dec. 30 as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honors list, which also recognized British performers, politicians, public servants and people outside the limelight who worked to defeat the coronavirus and its devastating impacts.

Mr. Hamilton, who secured his seventh F1 title last month to equal Michael Schumacher’s record, has said his recent success was partly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The race car driver took a knee on the grid and wore anti-racism slogans during the season.

Mr. Hamilton told the BBC in that “it was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past, to get to the end of those races first so that I could utilize that platform” against racism.

Supporters have suggested Mr. Hamilton would have been knighted sooner if not for his tax status. Mr. Hamilton’s knighthood was awarded in the “overseas” section of the honors list because he lives in low-tax Monaco.

His tax affairs made news in 2017 when the Paradise Papers leak showed he avoided paying more than $4 million in taxes on a private jet registered in the Isle of Man, a tax haven.

Motorsport U.K. Chairman David Richards said Mr. Hamilton’s tax status had been “totally misunderstood” and that the racing champion was among the 5,000 highest taxpayers in the United Kingdom.

The queen’s honors are awarded twice a year, in late December and in June, when the monarch’s birthday is observed. The awards acknowledge hundreds of people for services to community or British national life. Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public. Knights are addressed as “sir” or “dame,” followed by their name.