LEWIS HAMILTON will have to RETIRE before earning a knighthood, according to reports.
Following the Mercedes star’s record-equalling seventh Formula One world title, many in the sport see it as inconceivable that Hamilton will not eventually be knighted.
However, the Mail report on a recent Government U-turn that will see the end of the honour being handed out to active sports stars.
A number of top British athletes have been knighted before retiring, from Sir Mo Farah and Sir Andy Murray to Dame Kelly Holmes.
Having topped Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins and levelled the Ferrari legend’s seven world titles, Hamilton is expected to receive plenty of rewards in the coming months.
One more trophy, the Sports Personality of the Year Award, is set to be keenly contested with Tyson Fury and coronavirus pandemic heroes such as Joe Wicks.
And Mercedes are set to hold talks with the 35-year-old over a fresh contract, worth a total £120million.
Hamilton has previously spoken modestly when it comes to being knighted, but is a ‘proud Brit’ who readily waves the Union Jack with each triumph.
He said: “When I think about that honour, I think about people like my grandad who fought in the war, or Captain Tom for what he did.
“Or the people in the hospitals who are saving us during this hardest of times. I think about those unsung heroes.
“I am not a hero. I am not saving anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small group of people have bestowed on them.
“But what I can say is that I am a very proud Brit and it is a special moment to be representing a nation with the flag above your head in P1.”
A number of motorsport figures are said to have written to the Government to press for Hamilton‘s knighthood.
UK Motorsport boss Dave Richards is quoted as saying the gong is ‘not just about Hamilton being a supreme racing driver but for all the other work he does’.
The only other F1 world champion to be knighted, Sir Jackie Stewart, has told the Telegraph that there is ‘no question’ Hamilton deserves to join him.