Having successfully won the 2008 Driver's Title at only the second time of asking, Lewis Hamilton is being congratulated by the Queen in her New Year's Honours List. The 23 year old will be picking up an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) and joins many other racing drivers who have been awarded with similar honours.
The medals can be quite confusing, with several different options, and the differentation can be tough. However, from the official website of the UK Honours System, the medals are introduced as:
The 2009 New Year Honours List has been published, the list recognises the outstanding achievement and service across the whole of the community.
The MBE is "awarded for achievement or service in and to the community of a responsible kind which is outstanding in its field."
An MBE is the lowest available medal, but means Hamilton joins the list of Olympic stars for services to sport. They are amongst the other Britons who are receiving awards for services to education, medicine, the environment, and a wide variety of other areas.
Hamilton admits he feels very honoured and priviliged to have been named in the New Year's list, and that this medal will just round out what has been a really good 2008.
The Queen had already sent Hamilton a message after he won the Championship with the official letter stating:
"To Lewis Hamilton Esquire,
I'm delighted that you succeeded in winning the Formula One world championship to become the youngest-ever champion," the Queen wrote. "I send you my warmest congratulations on your remarkable and historic achievement.
As mentioned, Hamilton is not the first racing driver to be given an award by the Queen, with Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss both being given the higher honour of a knighthood. Team owner Sir Frank Williams also received the same honour.
Other notable awards are Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark, who both were given OBEs, and Colin Chapman was given a CBE. Please visit the forums to share your opinion on this subject. Do you find it interesting Hamilton has been rewarded in this way? And more importantly, does he deserve the accolade?