The Formula One driver is no longer simply Lewis Hamilton, but Sir Lewis after being knighted by Prince Charles. The driver was awarded a knighthood in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list after he won his seventh World Championship.
Hamilton received the award at Windsor Castle on 15 December, just days after missing out on a record-breaking eighth driver’s championship title following a controversial race stoppage in the final race of the season.
Sir Lewis, 36, has dominated Formula One racing since his debut with McLaren in 2007 at age 22. He was the runner-up in the driver’s championship in his first season and won it in his second, the youngest ever champion at that time. He had started competitive driving on the karting circuit at age eight. He has raced for Mercedes since 2012.
Hamilton was the only black driver in F1 when he started and 14 years later, nothing has changed. This year, he released a report he had commissioned into increasing diversity in the sport, not just in the driving seat but in the hugely important technical teams. Formula One has always been testing ground for automobile technology that slowly filters down to normal cars. F1 teams recruit the best engineering graduates, who tend to come from universities that themselves are lacking in diversity. Hamilton hopes to encourage young black, Asian and minority ethnic students to take courses in science and engineering subjects by setting up scholarships to help pay for their studies, and by getting Formula 1 teams to set up apprenticeships.
Presenting the report in August, Hamilton said, "I would like to be remembered for much more than winning championships, which is an amazing thing on its own, but for actually helping people and changing the industry and the viewpoints."
He discussed the racism he has faced for a Netflix documentary: