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F1 champ Lewis Hamilton should be acknowledged with a knighthood, says Motorsport UK chief David Richards

MOTORSPORT UK chairman David Richards has said he will be disappointed if Lewis Hamilton is not recognised with a knighthood in the New Year honours list.

Former Labour minister Lord Hain has written to Downing Street, calling on Hamilton, who earlier this month closed out his sixth Formula One world championship, to be rewarded with an upgrade on the MBE he received 11 years ago.

Hamilton’s sporting contemporaries Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion, and Mo Farah, who won double Olympic gold at the 2012 and 2016 Games, have both been knighted in recent times.

‘I would be rather disappointed if Lewis is not acknowledged for what he has achieved,’ Richards, 67, said.

‘Motor racing has had its fair share of accolades over the years. Lewis is our latest hero and he has surpassed anything we have ever had in the sport. It is only right that he should be acknowledged, too.’

Hamilton, 34, has broken down racial barriers on his remarkable journey to move within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven world championships.

From the humble beginnings of a Stevenage council estate, Hamilton, who will start his title parade at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, remains Formula One’s only black driver.

Hamilton is also outspoken on the environment and has vowed to work alongside F1 bosses in their ambitious goal to make the sport carbon neutral by 2030.

‘I have watched Lewis mature and develop as an individual and he has become a great ambassador for the sport,’ added Richards.

‘I only hear people who think what an incredible job he has done and I cannot understand why anyone would have any rational reason to question what he is doing.

‘As a youngster, we all go through difficult periods, but he has come out of it now as a very mature and robust young man who is going to be a great ambassador for motorsport, for the environment, and for under-privileged children in the UK for a long time to come.’