The Mercedes Formula One star was named as the winner of the prestigious annual prize for the second time during a virtual ceremony held in Salford on Sunday after being considered the heavy favourite following a commendable year both on and off the track.
Hamilton recently celebrated a seventh F1 world title that brought him level with the iconic Michael Schumacher and also passed the latter in terms of individual grand prix wins (he now has 95), while dominant Mercedes made history by easing to a seventh consecutive constructors’ title.
The Briton has also been a powerful voice in the fight against racism and played a leading role in attempts to improve diversity in his sport.
Hamilton’s only previous SPOTY triumph came in 2014, after he had sealed the second of his record-equalling seven world championships.
In a most unusual year when the global sporting schedule was heavily impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 35-year-old saw off competition from history-making jockey Hollie Doyle, Liverpool’s Premier League title-winning captain Jordan Henderson, two-time world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury, reigning world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and England cricketer Stuart Broad.
Henderson finished as runner-up on Sunday, with Doyle placing third in the public vote.
“Congratulations to all the incredible nominees … I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved,” Hamilton said via video link.
“I want to thank everyone who called in and voted for me, I wasn’t expecting this, knowing there are so many great contenders, but I think we are all winners.
“I want to send a merry Christmas to everyone … all the frontline workers, all the children around the world, try and stay positive through this difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”