Lewis Hamilton may have missed out on a record-breaking eighth Formula One title in controversial fashion, but his glittering career was recognised on Wednesday as he was knighted by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle.
The 36-year-old was recognised in the New Year Honours list for services to motor sport following a year in which he eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s all-time tally for Grand Prix wins and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.
But on Sunday, championship rival Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One world title after a season-long battle with Hamilton came down to a one-lap shoot-out in Abu Dhabi.
The deployment of the safety car after a late crash at the Yas Marina Circuit wiped out Hamilton’s seemingly unassailable lead and Verstappen had the advantage as he was using fresher tyres.
On Wednesday, Hamilton was joined by his mother Carmen Lockhart and was all smiles as they posed for pictures in the castle’s quadrangle.
However, he declined to speak to reporters afterwards.
Hamilton reportedly told his engineers “this has been manipulated” moments after the title was snatched away from him, but he was later magnanimous towards Verstappen in post-race interviews.
He is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted, following in the footsteps of Australian Jack Brabham and Britons Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart, and the first to be awarded the honour while still competing.