The Mercedes Formula 1 driver secured his first win of the F1 season last weekend at the Styrian Grand Prix. But Lewis Hamilton has also received praise this season for taking a knee before both races completed so far, while encouraging other drivers to do the same. He applauded his Mercedes team for joining in with the demonstration, as well as other drivers. 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.”
He secured victory on Sunday – meaning he has now won 85 grand prix – just six short of all time leading race winner Michael Schumacher.
In 2019, several key figures suggested he 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 Prime Minister Boris Johnson making the case for Hamilton’s recognition in the New Year honours.
The letters to MrJohnson made the point that Hamilton’s story is inspirational: the boy from a Stevenage council house who became the first black driver in Formula One.
Lord Hain, who serves on the All Party Parliamentary Group for F1, researched the claim that Hamilton — despite living in Monaco — is among the UK’s 5,000 biggest taxpayers.
The Mercedes star’s earnings allow him to contribute a significant amount to the exchequer while working in Britain, where his team is based.
The revelations come in spite of criticism fired at the F1 star for his decision to live in Monaco, due to its notorious approach to tax.
After his win yesterday, for example, actor and outspoken commentator Laurence Fox posted a picture of Hamilton on the podium alongside the caption “make tax havens great again”.
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“Lewis is far more remarkable in that he did not come from a privileged background.
“He and his father worked incredibly hard to get into karting and up the steps of the ladder.
“It was sheer hard graft, not gifted to him on a plate. They made huge sacrifices and that makes his achievements even more extraordinary.”