By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
Sir Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in recognition of a glittering career in Formula One just days after he controversially lost out on a record eighth title.
England's Hamilton was dubbed a knight by the Prince of Wales during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony on Wednesday, but he declined to speak to reporters afterwards.
He was joined by his mother Carmen Lockhart and was all smiles as they posed for pictures in the castle’s quadrangle.
When congratulated on his award, Hamilton said: “Thank-you.”
The 36-year-old is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted, following in the footsteps of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart, and the first to be awarded the honour while still competing.
Hamilton was recognised in the New Year Honours list following a record-breaking year in which he eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s all-time victory tally and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.
But on Sunday, rival Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One world title after his season-long battle with Hamilton came down to a one-lap shoot-out in Abu Dhabi.
The deployment of the safety car after a late crash at the Yas Marina Circuit wiped out the lead Hamilton had built over his rival, and Verstappen had the advantage as he was using fresher tyres.
After the Red Bull driver stormed past Sir Lewis – who missed out on a fifth title in succession – the British racing star reportedly said on the car radio “This has been manipulated, man”, but he was later magnanimous in post-race interviews.
He told Sky Sports at the time: “Congratulations to Max and his team. I think we did an amazing job this year. Everyone back at the factory and here worked so hard in this most difficult of seasons.”