London, Dec.3 : Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton has been shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award.
Within minutes of the list of nominees being announced, radio airwaves were alive with listeners pushing for "anyone but Lewis" to win.
His critics claim he is an overpaid tax exile who drives the best car and is so surrounded by his PR machine he has lost touch with his fans.
But ex-F1 champ Sir Jackie Stewart - himself a Sports Personality winner in 1973 - has defended the 23-year-old whose meteoric rise has been almost as fast as his driving.
The Sun quoted Stewart as saying: "He has brought the World Championship back to Britain when motor racing is more in the public interest than ever because of the worldwide TV coverage it gets." "Lewis has relit the candle in the UK, but around the world as well, and he totally justifies a strong vote in the BBC Sports Personality Award," he added.