Lewis Hamilton given Sports Personality of the Year boost as BBC delay shortlist

Two-time BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lewis Hamilton will be given the best possible chance of adding to his collection after the announcement of this year's shortlist was delayed.

The list of candidates for the prestigious gong is usually named during the last week of November of first week of December, but an exception will be made ahead of the 2021 ceremony.

Hamilton, 36, is level on points with Max Verstappen approaching Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the last race of the Formula 1 season and a fitting site for a climactic showdown between the pair.

The British driver has recovered from a mid-season slump and won three races in a row heading to the Yas Marina Circuit, where he's targeting a record-breaking eighth world championship.

As well as becoming the most successful F1 champion of all time, victory for Hamilton in Abu Dhabi would make him just the second driver to win five world titles in a row after legend Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes star Hamilton has won BBC SPOTY of the year twice in the past (2014 and 2020), but the nature of this season's comeback could make this his most deserving triumph to date.

Tennis icon and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is the only athlete to have won the award on three occasions (2013, 2015-16).

Should Lewis Hamilton win BBC SPOTY if he clinches an eighth F1 title on Sunday? Let us know in the comments section.

Another British tennis sensation, Emma Raducanu, is the current favourite to win BBC SPOTY after she exploded onto the professional stage by winning the U.S. Open at 18 years of age in September.

Victory at the ceremony on December 19 would make her the first female athlete to win the award since equestrian Zara Tindall (then named Phillips) in 2006.

Olympians Adam Peaty, Tom Daley, Jason Kenny and Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey are each expected to make the shortlist after winning golds in their respective events in Tokyo earlier this year.

Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury is another contender after finishing Deontay Wilder for a second time in October, though the BBC may think again after he asked to be removed from the 2020 shortlist.

The 'Gypsy King' posted a video on social media requesting he be removed from the running, dubbing himself the "people's champion" who had "no need for verification or any awards."

In fact, Fury has gone one further by threatening legal action against the BBC should he be included on this year's shortlist.

Hamilton presumably wouldn't raise resistance if he were given a chance to draw level as the most prolific SPOTY winner, which looks all but certain should he complete a mesmerising F1 comeback on Sunday.

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