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Lewis Hamilton secured his first win of the season last weekend at the Styrian Grand Prix, his 85th grand prix victory. The Mercedes driver is just six race wins short of all-time record holder Michael Schumacher, and if the Briton wins another world championship this season, he will be level on seven with the German. Despite his incredible achievements in the sport, he wasn’t recognised in the New Years Honours list last year, despite backing from Lord Peter Hain. The Labour peer was one of several key figures suggesting Hamilton should receive a knighthood, not just because of his sporting triumphs, but also his tax and charity contributions. David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK, and Lord Hain, the former Labour cabinet member, wrote to Mr Johnson making the case for Hamilton’s recognition in the New Year honours.
Hamilton did not receive any award – and Lord Hain tells Express.co.uk that he cannot understand why.
He said: “I can’t believe race would be a factor in it and it better not be.
“What you cannot take away from his is his fundamental decency and his extraordinary and unique ability.
“No one has achieved what he has achieved in Formula 1, he is peerless – no one said Andy Murray was peerless, though he was fantastic at his peak.
“Nobody said Bradley Wiggins was peerless, he was the top. Lewis Hamilton is right above anybody in one of the most difficult sports to master.”
Lord Hain has also called on the Prime Minister to recognise the Mercedes driver.
He added: “I just can’t understand how such a successful British world champion had not received the top honour.
“Quite rightly, Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray and Mo Farah got their knighthoods very soon after their incredible achievements.
“Lewis just isn’t being properly recognised by the Government, by the Prime Minister and by the establishment.
Lord Hain also sought to defend Hamilton from criticism surrounding his tax – highlighting that he is among the top 5000 contributors to the exchequer in the UK.
The Formula 1 star has been criticised for living in Monaco, and for alleged tax avoidance on his private jet using an Isle of Man scheme – the accusations of which were sourced from Paradise Papers leaks in 2017.
Lord Hain told Express.co.uk this week: “Hamilton has a home in Britain, he pays taxes in Britain – he works around the world and he works in music and fashion in America.
“But he pays tax in Britain – so there is no excuse not to give him a knighthood.”
Hamilton has also received praise for taking a knee before both races completed so far this season, while encouraging other drivers to do the same.
He applauded his Mercedes team for joining in with the demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter.
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However, four of the drivers present did not take a knee, provoking Hamilton to appeal for more backing.
He told Sky Sports F1: “It’s not something I asked for them to do, but it’s a beautiful thing.
“It doesn’t take a lot to do something like that, and it’s not changing the world, but perhaps shifting perceptions and shifting ideals. We’ll just keep going.”
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