Lewis Hamilton was knighted by the British royal family on Wednesday. The seven-time Formula 1 champion was dubbed by a sword held by Prince Charles at Windsor Castle, presumably because Gan-Gan and company thought he was due for another title.
Instead, Hamilton lost to Max Verstappen during the final lap of the last race at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that took place on Sunday. Verstappen squeaked by the 36-year old Brit on Lap 58, creating a bunch of confusion about whether or not the pass took place while the safety car was on the field. Mercedes protested, alleging that Max had made an illegal pass and that Hamilton would have won the event if all lapped vehicles had overtaken the safety car due to the time allotted before the restart. It was a close race with a confusing ending. But the victory was ultimately handed to Verstappen — making knighthood a consolatory prize for Hamilton.
Ultimately, race director Michael Masi is going to take most of the blame for the way the race ended. He was the one that reversed the call to allow lapped cars to pass and established the scenario that made that final lap so contentious. Ah well. Hamilton has more than a few F1 championships under his belt already, whereas Verstappen just has the one.
Sir Hamilton follows in the footsteps of Jack Brabham, Frank Williams, and Jackie Stewart (knighted in 1978, 1999, and 2001, respectively). He’s expected to be at the FIA’s end-of-year Gala in Paris to receive his runner-up trophy on Thursday. After that, he’s bound to be back on social media (he’s been absent since December 11th) telling you to reduce your carbon footprint while he jets around the world to race automobiles and model clothes in exchange for millions of dollars. He’s easily one of the least palatable racing personalities ever to take the field, in my estimation. But if the British royals are doling out knighthood strictly on the basis of how good someone is at driving fast, then they really couldn’t have chosen anyone better.
[Image: The Royal Family]
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