Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton does not expect his sixth Formula 1 world championship to be acknowledged with a knighthood.
Hamilton will start his title parade from third on the grid for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen lines up in pole position after edging out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 0.123 seconds in qualifying at Interlagos.
Hamilton wrapped up his fifth F1 world championship in six remarkable seasons at the United States Grand Prix a fortnight ago, moving to within just one triumph of Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven.
Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain has written to Downing Street calling for Hamilton to be rewarded with an upgrade on the MBE he received after he won his maiden championship in 2008.
Hamilton’s British sporting contemporaries Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam champion, and Mo Farah, who won double Olympic gold at the 2012 and 2016 Games, have both been knighted in recent times.
But speaking ahead of the penultimate round of the campaign, Hamilton, 34, said: “I don’t think it is going to happen, but that doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t mean I am not British and I will continue to try and raise the flag as well as I can.
“Just the fact that people have mentioned it, is an honour, but I have not spent my life chasing it. It is just not something you grow up thinking of. But if it did happen I don’t know how I would handle it. I have stood in front of Her Majesty the Queen before and it was incredible. She really is awesome.”
Hamilton will be in contention to win his 11th race of the season at a venue where he dramatically claimed his first title 11 years’ ago.
The British driver, however, will have to find a way past both Verstappen and Vettel following a tense qualifying session.