Lewis Hamilton loses Sports Personality of the Year Award for a second year

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton\'s trophy cabinet gets some much-needed respite
Lewis Hamilton's trophy cabinet gets some much-needed respite

He may be the youngest ever Formula 1 world champion but the British public snubbed Lewis Hamilton in the voting for Sports Personality of the Year 2008.

Hamilton was beaten by cyclist Chris Hoy, who was supposed to be racing Hamilton in the Race of Champions at Wembley today. That event was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Hamilton finished second to Joe Calzaghe last year. The boxer was among Hamilton’s rivals for the award once again this year along with Rebecca Adlington (swimming), Ben Ainslie (sailing), Christine Ohuruogu (athletics), Andy Murray (tennis), Nicole Cooke, Rebecca Romero and Bradley Wiggins (all cycling).

Hamilton has been handed a string of awards since he won the 2008 world championship. He has already scooped the Autosport international racing driver of the year award plus a BRDC Gold Star and the Richard Seaman trophy. On Friday he collected the F1 world championship trophy at the FIA Gala.

British racing drivers have a tradition of success in the Sports Personality of the Year Award. John Surtees, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell (twice) and Damon Hill (twice) have all won (Surtees doing so for motor cycle racing, five years before he became F1 world champion). Mansell and Hill are two of only three people to win the award twice.

But Hamilton will have to wait another year to add his name to the list.

59 comments on “Lewis Hamilton loses Sports Personality of the Year Award for a second year”

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  1. David Watkins

    I can understand Greg Rusdeski and Michael Owen winning this award, as I know who they are. But, It’s a British Public thing, and I guess international exposure doesn’t really mean anything.

    If New Zealand ran the same thing, you probably wouldn’t know our winner either ;)

    Thanks for the explanation anyway :)

  2. For those non-British F1 fans out there, I think Keith ought to have explained that the BBC Sports Personality of the year covers all the sportsmen and women (and teams and coaches and supporters) in the country – and the sports covered by the BBC, of course.
    Normally the event is dominated by the football (soccer) teams and occasionally snooker and rugby too. However, the British success at the Olympics (remember them?) and in various track, sailing and cycling championships throughout the year have brought the athletes to the fore – third place went to our top female swimmer by the way. And the top award is voted for by the public, who also nominate people for other awards as well.
    So overall, Hammy should be pleased to receive second place when motorsport is not one of the most watched sports in the country, and F1 was not broadcast on the BBC, apart from the scandals and silliness during the year. How many other countries have events which bring all their top sportsmen and women together for a celebration of their success?
    Now, with F1 returning to the BBC, we can hope for more nominations for the next SPOTY, and we can start campaigning for the British F1 teams and engineers to get awards as well!

  3. DG – Thanks for that. I do wonder whether which sports get BBC coverage has a bearing – there’s been no F1 winner during the ITV years.

    Here’s how the voting was split among the top four:

    Hoy – 283,630
    Hamilton – 163,864
    Adlington – 145,924
    Ainslie – 35,472

  4. I think Mr Collantine is not necessarily a 100% fan of Lewis. Ive noticed the, maybe unconscious, angle on Lewis stories tends to give that impression. “lewis loses SPOTY” – gosh does that mean Rebecca Adlington is an even bigger loser? The stuff about Lewis & Senna also has a bit of a cynical “who does he think he is” subtext to it.

    Theres a group of people who love Britains successful sporting stars and tend to get interested in whatever sports they are in for that reason alone. Then theres another group who feel their sport is being hijacked by these fair weather friends and distance themselves from the superstar, almost finding things to dislike about them so as to differentiate themselves from the former group.

    Somewhere in the middle lies the truth but you dont “lose” SPOTY- its the last bastion of a gentler age and no one lost then, they just enjoyed taking part.

  5. Antonyob – As far as I’m concerned if you finish first in a contest you’re a winner, and if you don’t you’re a loser. It’s merely a semantic difference.

  6. well yeh i take the meaning of loser to be very different to how you obviously do! If id been voted the 2nd best in my profession then id be made up, i assume you would to and the word loser wouldnt enter your head.

  7. Ultimately, I think SPOTY is fairly irrelevant – you can’t really argue about whether the results are fair/justified, as it’s essentially a popularity contest. I don’t think I even understand what sports personality means…

  8. Antonyob – Ah, the ‘second place is the first loser’ argument…

  9. Paul

    SPOTY dates back to the 1950’s in Britain, a very different time when our sporting heroes ahd 3 minutes of coverage on Pathe news and everyone used the word “old chap” more often than was strictly necessary. Sport was either played by working class types who were dashed grateful or by the ruling classes who did it for fun.

    The PERSONALITY bit was because “winner” was considered too vulgar. Its an anathema, an anachronism but it still carries weight in the UK and Chris Hoy was genuinely overwhelmed. Its nice that not everything has to be about winners and losers but who the public perceive as the best example.

  10. keith – thats your argument,not mine

  11. Overall I agree with Owen (#19) on the points he made, and appluad Hoy on his achievements that he has worked very hard for all his life.

    I can see where Antonyob is coming from also… am sure SPOTY was never on Lewis’s list of must haves this year, as its not something he can work toward, “oh, I need to try harder in the next race for SPOTY”… its a bonus if you like.

    You can’t lose SPOTY, you can only win it.

  12. Hoy was the right choice.

    He might only have “ridden for half an hour” or whatever nonsense that comment was but he trained for the FOUR years leading up to it.

    Hamilton did a good job in winning the WDC but looked considerably less assured and much more nervous in doing it this year compared to last season.

    And that’s ignoring the fact that, when you really come down to it, Formula 1 is not an individual sport, and Lewis relied on someone to design and build a fast car for him. It’s not even, say, 30% car and 70% driver any more, it’s more like the other way round.

    I’m not saying that automatically precludes Hamilton from winning it, I’m just saying that there are and were other sportsmen out there who can make a better case for their efforts over 2008.

  13. hmmm cycling got huge funding and the technology of the bikes had a big influence on our teams performance. Not upto f1 levels but though Hoy is a worthy winner, hed not have done it without the funding levels and super high tech bike.

    No sport at that level is an individual sport

  14. I have to say, that’s a bit harsh saying he lost it for a second year isn’t it?

    Anyway, credit to Hamilton for his demeanor on the night, and well done Chris Hoy – 3 gold medals is no small achievement.

  15. Good to see The Chain used on Lewis’ featurette – thats pretty promising for the BBCs 2009 coverage :D

    Tough break for Hamilton missing out on the top prize again but he did make a few errors this year and I imagine Chris Hoy’s performance leading up to and at the Olympics was pretty flawless to bring home three golds.

  16. 2nd is hardly a snub! Especially in an olympic year where the British team had their most successful ever medals haul. This was always going to be about the olympians. I’m suprised he beat Addlington!

  17. keepF1technical
    15th December 2008, 16:03

    Keith, is that a typo with the voting?

    only 35,473 (not 135,472) for fourth place for ainslie. All credit to all of them, but he’s been doing his thing and winning for years just like hoy. If the vote is correct thats a huge ‘lead’ for the top three and you’d have to question the argument about voting by sport. He was also an olympian, not just any other BBC televised sport.

    I was half expecting Lewis to make a comment about ‘the chain’. Maybe he doesnt remember it!

  18. KeepF1technical – I think that’s right, here’s the results I found.

    Also, is that a new username? Welcome to the site!

  19. hmmm cycling got huge funding and the technology of the bikes had a big influence on our teams performance. Not upto f1 levels but though Hoy is a worthy winner, hed not have done it without the funding levels and super high tech bike.

    No sport at that level is an individual sport

    But in cycling the person peddling is putting in most of the performance, the bike is only giving you a very slight advantage but it’s not comparable to the difference between driving a Ferrari compared to a Force India.

    Lots of the funding that’s gone into cycling in Britain in the last few years has gone into building & maintaining velodromes as well as community cycling schemes. The papers may like to say we’ve put ¬£millions into cycling but when you look at the breakdown of where it’s been spent you see only a small percentage of it went to the Olympic team directly.
    They obviously benefit from the new facilities but it’s not a case of it all being pumped into the elite program alone.

    No one will win in the Olympics without the appropriate funding & infrastructure to support them but to say Chris wouldn’t have won without the bike is just wrong.
    Just check out this to see how good the guy is:

    Chris has now won medals at consecutive games and is a worthy winner, Lewis has plenty of time left in his career to win SPOTY.

  20. well im not getting into a yes it is, no it isnt debate about cycling. This is an f1 site for starters. But the cycling team as a whole said the technology of the bikes was a big factor. I

    ronically the biggest factor was probably the marginal return theory where every tiny thing was looked at and changed to improve performance. Basically if you improve 100 things by 0.1% you get 10% extra performance. The fit one – cant remember her name even said she was told not to go shopping by her coach as the walking would impact her training regime negatively.

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