LEWIS Hamilton was knighted days after he narrowly missed out on a record eighth Formula One title and the Englishman who has dominated F1 like to one had done since Michael Schumacher, said the heartbreak is behind him. The 36-year-old subsequently instructed Mercedes not to protest the race further. Hamilton was named in the New Year Honours list in December 2020, and received a knighthood from the Prince of Wales for his services to motorsport in an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Published twice a year, the honors list recognizes those who have accomplished excellence in a spectrum of pursuits, including both celebrities and non-famous faces. Hamilton joins Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart as the fourth F1 driver to be knighted, and the first to receive the honor while still actively racing. Hamilton was made an MBE in 2009, receiving the award from Queen Elizabeth II in the wake of his maiden F1 championship.
Despite adding six further titles since, he returned to be honored in wildly different circumstances — reeling from agonizing final-race heartbreak on Sunday. Having dominated the majority of the F1 season’s much anticipated finale in Abu Dhabi — wherein Hamilton arrived level on points with title rival Max Verstappen — the Brit looked set to cruise to an eighth world championship that would have put him clear of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.
Yet a crash by Williams Racing driver Nicholas Latifi with four laps remaining triggered a disastrous series of events for Mercedes and Hamilton — the subsequent safety car allowing Red Bull to pit Verstappen and put him on fresh soft tires, whilst his rival stayed out as not to surrender his lead position. Huge controversy ensued when race director Michael Masi initially said lapped cars between
Hamilton and Verstappen would not be allowed to unlap themselves. But Masi then appeared to change his mind moments later, leaving the Red Bull driver right behind Hamilton with fresh tires and just one lap to go. Having previously commanded a dominant lead, Hamilton restarted the final lap almost side-by-side with a rejuvenated Verstappen — who hunted down his rival to overtake on turn five and win his first world title in the most dramatic circumstances imaginable.
Mercedes subsequently launched two protests against the result — both of which were dismissed — and on Sunday lodged an intention to appeal against the decision to restart the race for the last lap. Mercedes said on Monday that there was “no further communication planned at this time” regarding their intention to appeal Sunday’s result.