British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is set to add another feather to his cap with knighthood in 2021.
This comes on the back of a phenomenal season by Hamilton that saw him win a record seventh Formula 1 world championship earlier in the year. This saw him equal the record set by Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton also managed to take his tally of race wins to 95. This is a record in the sport, eclipsing the 91 set by Schumacher.
It wasn’t just his antics on the field that caught the imagination. Hamilton also did plenty to support the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality. He promoted equality in the sport and ended 2020 by being crowned the British Sports Personality of the Year for the second time in his career.
The 35-year-old is already an MBE, which he was awarded in 2008 after winning his first F1 world title.
There have been some concerns over his eligibility for knighthood, given the fact that he has been a tax exile. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed this to ensure that Hamilton can get knighted.
Hamilton first moved away from the UK to Switzerland for tax purposes and has even spent some time in Monaco.
This is a common trend in the sport, which has seen many drivers and other sports stars shift their base to a sovereign state in an attempt to save tax.
However, in Hamilton’s case, it has seen many critics terming this has a case of the driver “turning his back on the country”.
Johnson makes adjustment
However, it has been claimed by the Mail that Prime Minister Johnson has placed Hamilton on the ‘Diplomatic and Overseas List’. This enables him to receive the award.
Labour Cabinet minister Lord Hain has claimed that Hamilton is in fact amongst the top 5000 taxpayers in the country. But, with Hamilton’s residence in Monaco, HMRC has not been able to tax him in full measure.
With the Prime Minister using the ‘Overseas’ designation, this has been side-stepped. It ‘recognises people who have given exceptional service to the UK abroad and internationally’.
This will result in Hamilton becoming the fourth F1 driver to get knighted. He will join the likes of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart.