“I feel you deserve something this year. That was an exceptional year,” said former team-mate Jenson Button to the Mercedes driver at the end of the race.
But, as runner-up in the championship, Hamilton’s face may not have fitted on this year’s sports personality of the year shortlist of winners, which comprises of Olympic gold medallists Tom Daley and Adam Peaty; Britain’s most successful Paralympian, Sarah Storey, who added to her gold medal tally this summer; Tyson Fury, who retained his WBC title this year; US Open winner Emma Raducanu; and Raheem Sterling, who played a decisive role in Manchester City’s Premier League victory, as well as England’s Euro 2020 run to the final.
Voting for the main award will be open during the BBC live show on Sunday; polls close for the world sports star of the year tomorrow, on December 14.
Verstappen is up against the Tokyo Games’ 100m and 200m gold-medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah; triple 2021 Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic; seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady; Rachael Blackmore, the first female Grand national winner and super-middleweight boxer Saul Alvarez.
Hamilton was named sports personality of the year in 2020, after winning a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 title, and days before his knighthood was announced in the New Year’s honours list.