Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II as part of the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honours List announced last week.
Hamilton, 35, is F1’s most successful driver thanks to his record tally of 95 wins earned during stints with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz AMG. He’s also equalled legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven world championships, and may end up setting a new record in seasons to come as he hasn’t announced any retirement plans just yet.
A knighthood carries the title Sir, and Hamilton is the fourth F1 driver to receive the honor. The others include fellow Britons Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart, as well as Australian Jack Brabham.
Hamilton, who hails from Stevenage, U.K., was previously named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), a lower honor, after winning his first championship in 2008, driving for McLaren.
It was reported last November that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally recommended Hamilton for a knighthood, based on the driver’s racing record and work to combat racism. Hamilton brought attention to protests for racial justice in the past season, joining several drivers in “taking a knee” before each race, and wearing shirts with the slogans “Black Lives Matter” and “Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor” at races. He also set up the Hamilton Commission, aimed at increasing diversity in motorsports.