Lewis Hamilton has been appointed an MBE in the New Year Honours list for services to motor racing after becoming the sport’s youngest-ever Formula One world champion this year.
He’s among a bevy of sports stars to receive an honour, including Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy, who was knighted, his team-mate Bradley Wiggins and sailing star Ben Ainslie who were appointed CBEs, and double gold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington who was appointed an OBE.
He joins numerous other stars of motorsport to receive honours in previous years, including former F1 World Champions Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, John Surtees, Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Frank Williams.
Hamilton, needless to say, was delighted with the award, which he described as “humbling”.
He said: “It is a massive honour and incredible privilege for me to receive an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen. It is the most amazing culmination to what has been quite a year for me. The support I have received from the UK as a whole has been fantastic and a huge motivation, it is something I am very appreciative of.
“This is not just a proud moment for me, but also for my family and every single person involved with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. I could not have achieved any of this without them.
“It has been an outstanding year for British sport as a whole, and it is great to see so many fellow sportsmen and women being honoured today.
“I am also very humbled to be included on the Honours list alongside all the members of the general public who have been recognised for their tireless work in such varied and worthwhile arenas.
“I am very fortunate to have been awarded for achieving my dream, it has required a lot of hard work and dedication, however it has been worth every single minute and I only hope that I can inspire young kids to do the same, whatever their dream may be.”
* In other news, Hamilton has not been idle since his return from Brazil in November, despite taking no part in the winter testing being carried out by team-mate Heikki Kovalainen and test drivers Gary Paffett and Pedro de la Rosa.
Unfortunately, a planned celebration in McLaren’s home town of Woking is now slated not to go ahead – after the council reportedly baulked at the cost of the security.
Oh well. You can’t have everything, we suppose…