Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Britain should feel proud to have a “ambassador of the calibre of Lewis Hamilton” after the Formula One world champion was awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.
Hamilton has been recognised following a record-breaking year in which he eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s all-time victory tally and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.
Austrian Wolff, 48, has overseen Hamilton’s success at Mercedes following the Briton’s move from McLaren in 2013. Hamilton has won six of his seven titles with the sport’s all-conquering team.
Wolff hailed the 35-year-old British driver for his sporting success and his efforts to battle discrimination.
“The news that he is to receive a knighthood shows that he is now receiving the recognition he has earned during a career of unparalleled success in motorsport,” said Wolff.
“The UK can be very proud to have a champion and ambassador of the calibre of Sir Lewis Hamilton.”
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Monaco-based Hamilton has faced scrutiny in the past over his tax arrangements but has said he pays a substantial amount of tax in Britain.
He clinched his record-equalling title against the backdrop of his personal fight against injustices.
Hamilton took a knee before all his races to protest against racial injustice and Mercedes changed their livery from silver to black to highlight the issue of discrimination.
Britain’s Damon Hill, world champion in 1996, told Sky News: “Lewis has stood up for issues that are close to his heart and affect everyone.
“In our sport it is very rare for a driver to get involved in anything that is outside of Formula One. But Lewis has said this affects every black person and he stood up at a time when it could have destabilised his career and destabilised his concentration on the championship.”
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