New F1 world champion Max Verstappen has insisted that he does not need a knighthood after seeing his title rival Sir Lewis Hamilton knighted at Windsor Castle.
Verstappen beat Hamilton to the championship in dramatic style following a bizarre final few laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix nearly two weeks ago. Three days later, Hamilton stood before Prince Charles to receive his knighthood.
The seven-time world champion was named in the New Years’ honours list at the end of 2020, and has now officially been knighted.
Following his seventh title last year, Hamilton no longer sees himself as just a racing driver – but a beacon for change in Formula 1.
“I feel like I’m only just getting started. It is really weird. I feel physically in great shape and mentally.  has been a challenge that I didn’t know how to get through,” the Briton said.
“But with the help of great people around me, through the help of my team, through the help of Team LH, I managed to just keep my head above water and stay focused, so I’m really hopeful for a better year next year.”
He also spoke of his desire to remain in the sport so that he could reinforce his efforts to work with F1 to improve issues in the countries that the circus visits:
“I would love to stay. I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here. You know that we’ve only just begun. I want to push to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise that we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around the countries that we go to.”
Verstappen however, affirms that despite being unable to receive a knighthood in the Netherlands, he does not need one to feel validated.
“I can’t become a sir in Holland, but I don’t need to either,” said the 24-year-old.
He added: “I am a racing driver. The title of world champion is enough.”
Amid rumours that Hamilton may leave Formula 1 after the highly controversial season finale, Verstappen has said he would like the 36-year-old to stay in the pinnacle of motorsport.