Currently reading: Lewis Hamilton knighted in 2021 New Year Honours
Arise Sir Lewis: Mercedes-AMG racer celebrated after his record-breaking success in F1 season

Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours list, following a season in which he secured a record-equalling seventh world championship.

The Mercedes-AMG F1 ace was made a Knight Bachelor for services to motorsports at the end of a dominant season in which he also broke Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins. Hamilton, 35, now has 95 race wins. 

Hamilton had been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2008 following his first championship title. There had been reports that Hamilton has previously been overlooked for a knighthood due to his tax arrangements, and Motorsport UK, British motorsport's governing body, launched a campaign to support his cause earlier this year.

Notes released by the UK government on the awards said Hamilton was "rewarded for his outstanding achievements and contribution to motorsports", and said that his achievements in setting new F1 records for wins, pole positions and podiums "place him amongst the greatest ever sportsmen that the United Kingdom has produced." The citation also noted Hamilton's charitable and philanthropic work both in the UK and overseas on a range of causes "from improving equality within motorsport, to supporting disadvantaged young people, children’s charities and conservation causes."

Knighthoods are among the highest honours awarded, and are given for exceptional achievement in a given category. Hamilton joins Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham as grand prix racers to have been given a knighthood. Frank Williams and Patrick Head have also been knighted for their efforts in growing Williams into one of the sport's most successful teams.

The knighthood, which carries the title Sir, is the latest recognition for Hamilton from beyond the world of motorsport. Earlier in December he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for a second time he has received the honour.

Hamilton won the BBC award in a public vote ahead of Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson and jockey Hollie Doyle. The Stevanage driver previously won the award in 2014, and has also finished runner-up four times. He is now one of four people to have won the Sports Personality award twice, including fellow F1 champions Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill. Tennis star Andy Murray has a record three wins.

F1 legends Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart have both also won the award, while John Surtees – the only driver to win world titles on two and four wheels – was honoured for his success in motorcycle racing.


How Lewis Hamilton became an F1 record breaker

F1 2020: Hamilton secures record-equalling seventh championship

Opinion: why it should be Sir Lewis for seven-time champ

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Will86 2 January 2021

I'm afraid I have to share some of the reservations expressed by others over Hamilton's knighthood. His success stems from the efforts of the team around him -  I feel too much emphasis is placed on the individual drivers rather than the work of the team as a whole. I also think honours, especially knighthoods, are granted too soon in some cases, Hamilton included. No doubt his racing record is exceptional, but I see honours as recognising a lifetime of hard work and substantial contribution to their field. For me the decider with Hamilton will be what he does after he retires from F1.

john386 2 January 2021

He is a good driver, but should not be compared with previous British greats as modern cars are said to be driven by the computer, in the stand, and the driver simply pionts the car. That might be an over reaction, but certainly nothing compares with the skills of Clark et al way back.

So he gets a Knighthood for winning so many races. But on the flip side, he is promoting a foreign brand and lives outside of the UK to avoid taxes, plus his politics stink to high heaven.

On balance, there should be another way of recognising his driving skills rather than give a civic honour for a very un-civic man.

Paul Dalgarno 2 January 2021

Foreign brand, lives outside the UK, politics of anti racism. You sir are a racist, or just very clumsy at putting your point across.

Said foreign brand brings many jobs in the support network to the UK. Dealers, etc  

Jackie Stewart has lived in Switzerland since 60s. I don't judge this, but have to admit the constant tartan wearing is annoying considering. 

You don't like someone who is against racism?

He gives money to charity, he sets up teams to tackle racism. Seems civic and honourable to me. 

si73 1 January 2021
There's far too much negativity aimed at him unnecessarily to my mind, and whilst, as I've said, I don't see these honours or award ceremonies as a necessity or even worthwhile for sports stars, musicians or actors etc as they all do a job they love and get paid handsomely for it, but, the awards and honours do exist and are given to sports and other entertainment stars, so as such Lewis is a very worthy recipient of a knighthood. He is without a doubt one of the all time greats.