Which F1 drivers have been knighted as Lewis Hamilton formally becomes a Sir?

Jake Nichol December 14, 2021
Which F1 drivers have been knighted as Lewis Hamilton formally becomes a Sir?
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Lewis Hamilton was formally be knighted on Wednesday after receiving a knighthood earlier in the year for winning his seventh championship in 2020, but which other F1 drivers have been knighted?

Hamilton become the first Knight of the Realm to actively compete in F1 this season, having become a Knight Bachelor before the start of the season.

After matching Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven world titles in 2020, UK prime minister Boris Johnson pushed for Hamilton to become a Sir for services to motorsport.

The 103-time grand prix will be formally invested – he gets the sword across his shoulders – on Wednesday in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

It comes three days after he was denied an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi by the controversial safety car restart.

Hamilton described the race as being “manipulated” as Mercedes still intends to appeal the result that led to Max Verstappen being crowned world champion for the first time.

The 36-year-old is just the latest F1 driver to be knighted – but which are the other F1 drivers to be knighted?

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Knighted F1 drivers

Hamilton is the third F1 world champion to receive a knighthood.

Jack Brabham was the first F1 driver to be knighted – in 1979 – nine years after he retired.

The Australian won three titles – in 1959, 1960 and 1966, with his last title being the most unique feat ever achieved in the history of motorsport.

Brabham won the title in a car bearing his own name.

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He conquered the world driving for his own team, and became – at the time, just the second driver to ever win more than two titles.

He died in 2014.

In 2001, Jackie Stewart joined the ranks of an F1 driver who was knighted.

Himself a three-time champion, Stewart’s safety crusade in the early 1970s saved countless lives, and he is still an active presence in F1 today, nearly 50 years after he retired in 1973.

The Scot also famously set up his own team Stewart Grand Prix – which won the 1999 European GP at the Nurburgring.

He sold up to Jaguar and Ford for 2000, but results were disappointing.

In the end, Jaguar was sold to an Austrian fizzy drinks magnate in 2005, who wanted to promote his brand.

That team? It became known as Red Bull Racing…

Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

The non champion knight

Even though he retired in 1962 after a massive crash at Goodwood, Stirling Moss was still a household name nearly 60 years later.

In the 1950s and 1960s – the most dangerous era of motorsport – Moss pretty much raced anything.

He would never claim the prize that eluded him – the F1 world championship and is the greatest driver never to have done so.

He finished runner-up four times, but reliability or just plain bad luck would rob him of a chance to be world champion.

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It was however, in 1955 on the Mille Miglia that he cemented his legend.

A thousand-mile blast around the roads and streets of Italy, Moss drove the most iconic race of his career.

He won by nearly 32 minutes from Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio.

Moss was knighted by Prince Charles in 2000.

He died in April 2020 after a long illness.

The Williams knights

Brabham, Moss, Stewart and Hamilton are the only F1 drivers to be knighted, but two more figures in the series have been afforded the prefix.

The late Frank Williams was knighted in 1999 for services to motorsport.

His team had claimed five constructors’ titles in the 1990s, and four drivers’ crowns.

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This was on top of the four makes’ titles in the previous decade and another three for the drivers’.

Williams battled back from his life-changing spinal injuries in a 1986 accident to lead the team to greater success.

He passed away on November 28th, 2021.

Williams is not the only person to be involved with the team who has been knighted.

Whilst he looked after the finance, sponsorship and business side of things, Patrick Head was firmly in control of the engineering side.

Ross Brawn even started out as a junior member of Head’s team.

In 2015, Head was knighted, again for services to motorsport.

He stepped back from his roles at Williams in 2011, although has returned on a consultancy basis in recent years.

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.