Hamilton 'set for knighthood' in New Years Honours - reports

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10 celebrates in parc ferme.
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Having clinched his seventh world championship last weekend, it seems that Lewis Hamilton is also set to be honoured by his country with reports that he will receive a knighthood at the end of the year.

Hamilton previously received an MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2009 after claiming his first title. But despite his run of success with Mercedes in the intervening decade, Hamilton has since been overlooked.

Questions about his tax status for a long time appeared to have put a block on Hamilton receiving any further honours.

But following measures including the sale of his private plane, The Sun newspaper states that the Government's Honours Committee has now concluded that his affairs are "all in order".

If the reports are confirmed it means that Hamilton will receive the knighthood in the New Years Honours.

โ€œThis is an honour that has eluded Lewis for so many years," a friend of Hamilton's is reported as telling the tabloid. โ€œIt marks an incredible end to the most wonderful season.โ€

The paper also quotes a 'top sports figure' as saying: โ€œHe has been put forward by industry bosses in recognition of his enormous contribution to the sport."

If it happens, the honour would put him alongside other recent sporting knighthood recipients including Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Andy Murray and Alastair Cook.

Race winner and World Champion Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 celebrates in parc ferme.

Asked about the reports, Lord Hain - the former Labour cabinet minister who now serves as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Formula 1 - told the Press Association that a knighthood for the 35-year-old was "long overdue".

โ€œIf it is correct, I will be thrilled to see Lewis joining the pantheon of sporting knights," he said. โ€œLewis is not just a serial champion, he is actually the biggest British sporting star in the world by far.

โ€œThe fact that his background is so humble, and the fact that he is black, just adds to his incredible achievement," he continued. โ€œHe is a role model for young girls and boys whatever their backgrounds, whatever their colour, to be able to reach for the sky.โ€

โ€œIt is not just what you see in the cockpit of his car," Hain added. "[It's] also his charitable work and improving diversity in Formula 1, which could have an impact on other sports."

Race winner and World Champion Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with the team.

Motorsport UK chairman David Richards recently wrote to Downing Street petitioning for a knighthood for Hamilton, explaining that Hamilton's tax affairs are now completely in order and should not stand in the way of being honours.

โ€œIt would be totally wrong for the UK to deny Lewis an award befitting his historic achievements because of where he chooses to live or work or because his tax status has been misunderstood,โ€ he wrote.

Hamilton himself has always downplayed the possibility of receiving a knighthood.

โ€œWhen I think about that honour of being knighted, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war,โ€ he said recently. โ€œCaptain Tom waited 100 years for that great honour.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates in parc ferme.

"Then you have these doctors and nurses, who are saving lives during this hardest time ever," he added. โ€œI think about those unsung heroes and I donโ€™t look at myself as an unsung hero. I havenโ€™t saved anybody."

But Hamilton has also admitted in the past that he would be delighted if it did happen one day.

"Like everyone I've grown up adoring the Royal Family," he previously said. "If one day I am honoured to be up in front of the Queen again it would be the happiest day ever to see her again."

As it happens, the Queen has already been in touch - offering her congratulations on Twitter for Hamilton's record-equalling seventh title.

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