Hamil­ton favourite for 2018 ti­tle and knight­hood

Stabroek News - - SPORT -

MEX­ICO CITY, (Reuters) - Lewis Hamil­ton has been in­stalled as the book­mak­ers’ favourite for next year’s For­mula One cham­pi­onship, with the Mercedes driver also a 4/1 shot to be knighted in Bri­tain’s New Year’s hon­ours list.

Hamil­ton be­came Bri­tain’s most suc­cess­ful For­mula One driver af­ter clinch­ing his fourth ti­tle in Mex­ico on Sun­day.

Book­mak­ers Wil­liam Hill have Hamil­ton as 15/8 favourite for the 2018 driv­ers cham­pi­onship, with Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel at 3/1 and Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen at 10/3.

Ver­stap­pen won Sun­day’s race, the third tri­umph of the 20-year-old’s ca­reer.

For­mula One has driver knights in Stir­ling Moss, gen­er­ally re­garded as the great­est never to win a cham­pi­onship, and triple world cham­pion Jackie Ste­wart. Team prin­ci­pal Frank Williams and co-founder Patrick Head also have the hon­our.

Hamil­ton has the MBE, a lower rung of the multi-tiered Bri­tish awards sys­tem, and went to Buck­ing­ham Palace to re­ceive it from Queen Elizabeth.

When asked about the chances of a knight­hood, the 32-year-old win­ner of 62 races said he had al­ways wanted to go back to the palace.

“That would be the great­est hon­our, to firstly be in­vited back,” he said. “I try to rep­re­sent Eng­land in the best way I can. If that at some stage is recog­nised by the Queen then I’d be in­cred­i­bly hon­oured.”

Hamil­ton wrapped the Bri­tish flag around him as he cel­e­brated on Sun­day and has made much of his jour­ney against the odds from an un­der-priv­i­leged back­ground in the com­muter town of Steve­nage, north of Lon­don.

His pa­ter­nal grand­fa­ther was an im­mi­grant from the Caribbean is­land of Gre­nada.

“I won­der what the peo­ple who were at my school are think­ing. There’s a cou­ple of teach­ers who said you’re never go­ing to amount to any­thing so I won­der what they’re think­ing now,” he had mused on Sun­day.

“I won­der if they’re think­ing ‘I helped that young lad’. Or are they think­ing ‘you know what, I re­gret what I said. And I’ve grown from it’? I hope that’s re­ally the case.”

Olympic ath­let­ics gold medal­list Mo Farah and Wim­ble­don win­ner Andy Mur­ray are also sport­ing Sirs but the Scot has em­pha­sised he still wants to be called by his first name.

Hamil­ton joked he would be the op­po­site, if such a sit­u­a­tion ever hap­pened.

“I would en­force it. To ev­ery­one. To friends, ev­ery­one. I think it’s such an hon­our,” he laughed. “I’ve got friends who are Sirs and I call them Sir. When I get a text, I’m like ‘Yes Sir.’ It’s unique and why not live it in all its beauty?.”

Lewis Hamil­ton

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