‘Sir’ Lewis Hamilton hailed as Britain’s greatest ever sportsman
Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals that he’s “only just getting started” after winning a seventh Formula 1 world championship.
The 35-year-old Mercedes star equalled Michael Schumacher’s title record after a stunning drive at a wet Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday. Starting on the grid in sixth place, Hamilton produced a “masterful” performance for the 94th victory of his career, says the BBC.
After winning his first championship with McLaren in 2008 he has added to his tally with titles in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and now 2020 as part of the dominating Mercedes team.
Speaking in Turkey Hamilton said: “To all the kids out there, dream the impossible. Seven is just unimaginable but when you work with such a great group of people and you really trust each other, there is just no end to what you can do together.
“I feel like I’m only just getting started, it’s really weird.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who was also presented with the team’s seventh successive constructors’ championship, added: “We simply need to say congratulations to Lewis and to recognise the amazing job he is doing, setting new benchmarks in this sport. We will be flying home together, so we will have to see how we celebrate – I’m sure we will find a way!”
The greatest ever
Hamilton’s achievements in equalling Schumacher’s F1 title record has seen pundits, fans and fellow sports stars hail him as the best driver ever in racing history. However, others have gone further by praising the F1 star as Britain’s greatest ever sportsman.
The Daily Mail says Hamilton’s seventh world crown confirms him as Britain’s greatest of his era. “He has no serious rival, not even Sir Andy Murray, Sir Mo Farah or Chris Froome can match him,” the paper says.
The Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy adds: “He, after all, has done more in his crowded field than anyone else in history. Of how many British contemporaries can that be said? Precisely, none.”
On Twitter, former Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand said Hamilton is the “greatest sportsman this country has ever produced – no doubts”, while The Times’s Rebecca Clancy agreed that he can be hailed as “Britain’s greatest sportsman” after equalling Schumacher’s record.
Hamilton has not only proved his class on the track, but has also found his voice off it. The Sun’s Ben Hunt writes: “He’d previously spoken about Donald Trump, environmental causes and racism. And he continues to do so. Whether you agree with his stances on racism, the environment, veganism or politics, it doesn’t matter.
“This season, it is his off-track work that has made me appreciate Hamilton as the UK’s best sportsman of all-time.”
Arise, Sir Lewis?
There are calls for Hamilton to be knighted following his success in F1. Clamour for national recognition comes after contemporaries such as Murray, Farah and Alastair Cook have all been knighted, says the Daily Mail.
The Press Association revealed last month that former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, who serves as chair for the All-Party Parliamentary F1 Group, will now write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging that Hamilton becomes Britain’s next sporting Sir.
When asked about the possibility of a knighthood Hamilton said: “When I think about that honour of being knighted, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war.
“Captain Tom [Moore] waited 100 years for that great honour, and then you have these doctors and nurses, who are saving lives during this hardest time ever.
“I think about those unsung heroes and I don’t look at myself as an unsung hero. I haven’t saved anybody. It is an incredible honour that a small number of people have bestowed on them.
“I hear the national anthem and I am a very proud Brit. It is a special moment to be up there representing a nation and having the flag over your head.”