A decision on whether to award seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton a knighthood will take into consideration the star’s tax status, according to reports. The UK ace spends much of his time in tax haven Monaco.
Mercedes driver Hamilton, 35, sealed another F1 world title by winning the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, moving him level with German legend Michael Schumacher on a record seven championships.
Earlier this season Hamilton surpassed Schumacher’s record of 92 Grand Prix victories, with his win at the Istanbul Park on Sunday moving him onto 94 first-place finishes on the F1 circuit.
After Hamilton wrapped up another remarkable achievement – which was his fourth world title in a row – the clamor from fans grew for his accomplishments to be recognized in the form of a knighthood.
But a report from The Times states that any decision on the accolade will involve close scrutiny of the racing star’s tax status, as he is a resident in luxury enclave Monaco on the Mediterranean coast.
Another factor could be the timing of any award, as it may be deemed better to bestow a knighthood on him once he has called time on his glittering track career.
Meanwhile, the online scramble for Hamilton to become ‘Sir Lewis’ was ramped up on Monday, including by TV personality Piers Morgan.
He pondered why neither Hamilton nor boxing icon Lennox Lewis have been knighted despite their achievements.
Morgan offered comparisons with boxing legend Henry Cooper and former racing stars Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss, although all were knighted long after their careers were over.
If Henry Cooper, Jackie Stewart & Stirling Moss all got knighthoods, can someone explain why @LennoxLewis & @LewisHamilton haven’t?Greatest British boxer & driver in history & arguably the greatest the world’s ever produced. Arise Sir Lennox & Sir Lewis! pic.twitter.com/PLTY0fUfGh
Cooper > Knighhood 29 years after retirementStewart > 28 years after retirementMoss > 38 years after retirementSo, if they are your benchmark we should expect Sir Lewis in 2032 and Sir Hamilton in 2048. Hope that helps.
There has, however, been a trend for active athletes to be knighted while still flush from their success, including Wimbledon winner Andy Murray and cyclists such as Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.
Online supporters for Hamilton – who according to Forbes has raked in $54 million in earnings this year alone – argued that whatever his residency status in Monaco, he is still among the top 5,000 taxpayers in the UK.
Back in 2017, Hamilton was accused of “dodging tax” on a luxury jet he had imported into England four years previously.
The accusations emerged as part of the Paradise Papers scandal which implicated some of the world’s wealthiest people.
Hamilton denied wrongdoing, and has reportedly since sold the jet in question.
Hamilton, who was awarded an MBE in 2008, has himself played down the knighthood issue, commenting: “When I think about that honor of being knighted, I think about people like my grandad who served in the war.
“Captain Tom [Moore] waited 100 years for that great honor, 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 honor 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.”
There had been speculation over Stevenage-born Hamilton’s future in the build-up to his title win, although after his success in Istanbul he vowed to continue racing with Mercedes to target even more prizes.