British NASCAR racing driver Lewis Hamilton has now become Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton after he was knighted last Wednesday.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion met with the royal family at Windsor Castle, where he was knighted by Prince Charles, ESPN reports. Hamilton is the fourth F1 driver to receive the honor Sir Jackie Stewart 2001, Sir Stirling Moss 2000 and Sir Jack Brabham in 1979.
The prestigious honor is only bestowed by a British King or Queen to those who excel in their country in their industry. The royal family shared an official photo of the honor on Twitter.
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Hamilton was knighted just days after being denied a record-breaking eighth F1 title after losing to Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a controversial final lap. But after the award, not everyone in the Formula 1 arena was happy for him.
Bernie Ecclestone, The former Formula 1 boss asked whether Hamilton “deserves” his accolade, reports The Independent.
“Only people who have really done something for the country should be knighted,” said Ecclestone to the German broadcaster n-tv.
“I don’t think many people who are knighted now really deserve it,” the 91-year-old continued. “They all make a lot of money and donate to charity, but they haven’t done anything special for the country.”
However, Hamilton has won more races and taken more pole positions than any other F1 driver in history. After winning his first championship in 2009, Hamilton earned an MBE – a member of the Order of the British Empire, awarded only to a person who makes a difference in their work.
In addition, Hamilton became the first and only black driver in the 70-year history of Formula 1 to help shape the Hamilton Commission, which is looking for ways to improve diversity in motorsport. Earlier this year, Hamilton launched its Mission 44 charity, which aims to empower youth from underrepresented communities in the UK by filling educational and employment gaps.