Lewis Hamilton has admitted he would be honoured to receive a knighthood after becoming Britain’s most decorated motor racing driver.
Hamilton, who surpassed Sir Jackie Stewart’s collection of three Formula One championships in Mexico on Sunday, celebrated his fourth world title by boarding a private jet to Miami and partying into the early hours.
The 32-year-old Englishman intends to take his victory parade on to the Caribbean later this week, and then to Peru to scale Machu Picchu, before returning to work for Mercedes at a sponsors’ commitment in Sao Paulo next Wednesday.
His historical title – one which he sealed despite an opening-lap collision with rival Sebastian Vettel – led to suggestions that he could be recognised by the Queen in her New Year’s Honours list.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray held reservations over accepting the accolade when he was knighted earlier this year. Not so, Hamilton.
“I would enforce it,” he said with a smile. “I would be like ‘Excuse me it’s ‘Sir’.
“I’ve got friends who are Sirs, and I call them Sir. When I get a text, I’m like, ‘Yes, Sir.’ It’s very unique, so why not use it in all its beauty?
“I’ve missed the Queen since I had lunch with her when she invited me to Buckingham Palace and I’ve always wanted to go back. I’m trying to represent England in the best way I can and if that at some stage is recognised by the Queen, then I would be incredibly honoured.”
Hamilton’s spellbinding form in the second half of the season – a streak which has seen him win five of the last seven races while also taking Michael Schumacher’s pole position record in Italy – cleared the way for him to beat Vettel to the championship with two grands prix to spare.
Hamilton, who harbours a career in the music, film and fashion industries after F1, has spent part of the year delivering mixed messages over his long-term future.
But here, after driving his name into the history books, he spoke of his desire to continue driving, forming a new rivalry with 20-year-old Max Verstappen, challenging Schumacher’s record haul of seven titles and 91 victories, and putting pen to paper on an extension to his Mercedes contract which is due to expire at the end of next year.
There was even room for a swipe at his one-time rival and former team-mate Nico Rosberg who walked away from the sport just five days after winning the championship.
“I could do the easy thing like Nico obviously did which is to just stop and retreat with these four titles, but there’s more in me and more to come,” Hamilton added. “We all know how exceptional Michael was, and it is very crazy to think that I’ve matched certain records, but there are potentially many more years to go.
“I’ll continue to race while I love it, and while I do think that it would be so nice at some stage just to live in one place – socialising, walking your dogs or surfing – there’s a lot of life to live beyond 40.”
He added: “Max is really the brightest young star that we’ve seen for some time and I hope that in his early era I can be a good force and a good battle for him.
“I want to be better next year. Formula One doesn’t sleep. It doesn’t stand still. There is always someone waiting to take my position, so I have to raise the game to another level, and to stay ahead. That’s my motivation for next year.”