Lewis Hamilton is to Formula 1 racing, as is Serena Williams to tennis. He won the F1 title in 2020, becoming just the second driver in history, after Michael Schumacher, with seven championships and made a new two-year contract until 2021, that pays more than $50 million annually. He joined telecom Vodafone in his advertisement portfolio in 2020.

This blog is not about F1 or any other sport, it’s about role models. Athletes are recognised as powerful role models globally. Even if you are not a football fan, you must have heard about Lionel Messi. 

In the UK, the highest honour for any congressman, athlete or professional is the title of knighthood. Lately, many athletes are using their social media platform to speak up about social issues, such as the focus on the Black Lives Matter Movement. But what about when you are the only person of your ethnicity in that specific sport? This is the case for Lewis Hamilton, who is the only Black driver in F1 racing. He was the only one in his sport who spoke out about the murder of George Floyd. Beyond his efforts to anti-racist campaign in F1 and the UK, he has dominated the sport with seven world championships and he has raced past raucous spectators with discriminatory signs. 

Recently, the UK government neglected him for a knighthood, which is the highest honour. Although he was awarded with the Most Excellent award, that is the lowest in the five classes of order. It is puzzling as most of the famous British athletes have been knighted rather than this. So why hasn’t Hamilton got this honour and why does it matter?

Although some athletes rejected this honour as they didn’t want this kind of publicity. It is an honour for the best athletes in their fields and is recognised globally. Identification like knighthood indicates what a nation, organisation or social values are. These provide teachers and parents with the chance to show their children to regard these people as their role models. In many situations, sports is the only field with people being acknowledged because of their expertise, talent and hard work. Hamilton isn’t just one of the best of all time, he overcame all kinds of racist slander to be able to stand where he is now. He was not privileged to be appreciated in every place that he walks in, but against all odds, he has accomplished a legacy that will invigorate all drivers for the years to come. 

-Kshitij Gupta