Lewis Hamilton has been honoured as Person of the Year by PETA.

The Formula 1 champion was bestowed with the annual accolade by the animal rights organisation for his vegan diet and encouraging others to follow his lead in giving up meat, dairy and other animal-derived products.

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said: ''Lewis Hamilton has proved to be not only a fantastic driver but also a force for good and a powerful ally of animals used for food.

''PETA is honouring him for inspiring his legions of fans to follow his lead, jump-start their own energy levels, and spare animals' lives by going vegan.''

Lewis, 33, has previously spoken about his reasons for going vegan in a bid to save the planet.

He said: ''The pollution [from greenhouse-gas emissions] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible.

''The cruelty is horrible and I don't necessarily want to support that and I want to live a healthier life.''

And the racing driver has often used his social media accounts to urge his fans and followers to follow a vegan diet.

He previously posted: ''Please find it in your heart to not support this horrific cruelty and go plant-based!''

On Instagram, part of Lewis' official biography reads: ''[Plant] Based Diet. Love Animals.''

Lewis follows in the footsteps of the likes of Ricky Gervais, Queen rocker Brian May and the late Sir Roger Moore in receiving PETA's Person of the Year honour.

According to the organisation, every person who goes vegan saves the lives of almost 200 animals a year and reduces their risk of contracting many potentially-fatal diseases.