Sports Personality of the Year 2020: why Lewis Hamilton won SPOTY - and how many times has he been the winner?

Tyson Fury refused to take part in the awards this year, calling himself ‘the people’s champion’

Lewis Hamilton has been revealed as winner of BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020 after a hugely successful year on the track.

Competing against an impressive line-up of nominees, the 35-year-old Formula 1 racing champion expressed his shock and gratitude when he was awarded SPOTY on 20 December at a virtual ceremony.

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So why did he win, who was he up against, and how many times has he won before? Here is what you need to know.

Lewis Hamilton won after a record-breaking year in 2020 (Picture: Shutterstock)
Lewis Hamilton won after a record-breaking year in 2020 (Picture: Shutterstock)

Who were the nominees for SPOTY 2020?

Hamilton, from Stevenage, was up against boxer Tyson Fury and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson in the line up.

Other nominations included jockey Hollie Doyle, snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan and England cricketer Stuart Broad.

Finishing second place was Henderson, while Doyle also made it on to the podium in third place.

Hamilton won after an undoubtedly glorious year in his career, breaking records and surpassing Michael Schumacher in grand prix wins.

In a controversial twist to the night, Tyson Fury refused to take part and asked that none of his fans vote for him, claiming he was “the people’s champion”.

Why did Lewis Hamilton win?

The winner is decided by public vote, and Hamilton was nominated in acknowledgement of his record-smashing year.

The racing driver won the Formula 1 World Championships in 2020, just days before testing positive for coronavirus.

2020 also saw Hamilton win his 95th grand prix, including 21 races with McLaren and 74 with Mercedes.

This means he has finally overtaken Shumacher’s impressive 91 wins across his career.

As the winner was announced, the nominees - except Fury - joined the socially distanced ceremony via video call.

Live from his home, Hamilton said: “I want to say congratulations to all the incredible nominees," said Hamilton. "I'm so proud of what they have achieved and I want to say thank you to everyone that has voted for me.

"I wasn't expecting this knowing there's so many great contenders.

He added: "I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone - it's been such an unusual year and I want to mention all the front line workers and all the children round the world, I want you to try and stay positive through this difficult time, I'm sending you all positivity.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

How many times has Hamilton won the award?

This is not the first time Hamilton has won the accolade.

The racing driver was first named Sports Personality of the Year in 2014, and he has been a runner up four times, including in 2019 when he lost out to English cricketer, Ben Stokes.

What are some of Hamilton’s key career achievements?

Hamilton is regarded as one of the best wet-weather drivers and also for delivering his best driving at crucial moments - completing laps in record time and closing in on his hardest competitors.

In 2007, Hamilton gained recognition after he broke the record for the most number of wins in a debut season.

He has gone on to hold the title for the most wins at a home grand prix - winning in 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

The racer has also taken the title of the most wins at the same grand prix, finishing first at the Hungarian finals in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Who else won on the night?

Marcus Rashford was given a special award due to his fight against poverty earlier in the year.

The 23-year-old told of the “nightmare” he experienced while growing up in poverty with his brother and mother.

The Manchester United footballer’s campaign to ensure children in England were guaranteed free school meals resulted in a UK Government U-turn and saw him receive an Expert Panel Special Award.

As well as Hamilton and Rashford, winners included:

Helen Rollason Award: Captain Sir Tom Moore

Coach of the Year: Jurgen Klopp

Team of the Year: Liverpool FC

Unsung Hero: Sgt Matt Ratana

Captain Tom Young Unsung Hero: Tobias Weller

Young Sports Personality of the Year: Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

The awards were presented by BBC Sports presenter and ex-England footballer Gary Lineker,who punted a toilet roll around the stage in an attempt at keepy-ups.

Sir Tom Moore also opened the awards and welcomed a new award, named after him.

The Captain Tom Moore award was given to nine-year-old Tobias Weller who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism, and uses a walking frame to assist him.

He was inspired by Captain Moore and raised more than £150,000 for his two favourite charities, Sheffield Children's Hospital and Paces School.

Tobias walked one marathon by walking around his garden, before committing himself to a second using a race runner which allowed him to run for the first time in his life.