Two-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, who claimed Grand Prix victory for Mercedes 11 times this year, was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year against the odds on Sunday.
The award is widely regarded as Britain’s most prestigious cross-sports accolade.
“I am so speechless,” Hamilton, 29, said after a British public vote that overturned the betting form, with bookmakers having golfer Rory McIlroy as their clear favorite.
“I really was not expecting it. Dude, you had such an amazing year,” he told McIlroy at the ceremony in Glasgow.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be up here standing with the greats,” added Hamilton, who had walked the pre-event red carpet with his bulldog Roscoe.
McIlroy, who won two majors this year and helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup, was a forlorn-looking runner-up with European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey in third.
Bookmakers William Hill had listed the Northern Irishman at 2-5 earlier on Sunday with Hamilton, who was runner-up for the award in 2007 and again when he won his first title with McLaren in 2008, the 7-4 second favorite.
Hamilton is the fifth racing driver to win the award in 61 years, with champions Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell winning it twice after Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart before them.
The Team of the Year award went to England’s World Cup-winning women’s rugby players, while Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was coach of the year.
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo took the overseas personality of the year prize.
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