Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020, BBC reports. One of F1’s all-time great drivers, he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles with his fourth consecutive championship in 2020.
The 35-year-old, from Stevenage, also surpassed Schumacher’s total of 91 grand prix wins. In a public vote, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson finished second while jockey Hollie Doyle was third. It is the second time Hamilton has been crowned Sports Personality of the Year, having first won the award in 2014.
He is also a four-time runner-up, most recently in 2019.
In a crowded field that featured representatives from five other sports, Hamilton’s achievements in a year brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic had him as the standout winner. Among the seventh world title, equalling Michael Schumacher’s tally while overtaking the German’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins, was his advocacy for racial equality.
This was a second victory for Hamilton after winning his second Formula One title win in 2014. Since then there have been near misses, and there was an outside chance that 2020 could be another.
The 35-year old had been the favourite, and by the time the show got on the road at Salford he had crept above a 72 percent likelihood to take home the gong. When voting opened at 9:12pm, things started to fluctuate.
That wasn’t a surprise. F1 has always struggled for relevance with the general public. Only those immersed in it truly appreciate what it takes to achieve transcendence beyond getting into the fastest car time after time. And even they spend most of their time rallying against that line of argument against others within the sport.
There’s also a framing of Hamilton as a peripheral figure, not just by making his name in a peripheral sport, but by doing so off these shores. The most dangerous of all that is the assumption that he does not care.
Yet his dragging of F1 to a better place by being one of Britain’s most prominent advocates of the Black Lives Matter movement, by being a visible presence for equality on the grid, online and in the avenues that matter with the Hamilton Foundation shot that down. At the same time, in a country where 24,500 people complained about a Black Lives Matter-inspired performance by a dance troupe over on ITV, such a stance was always going to be a stumbling block for some who copy-and-paste their excuses.