After finishing fourth overall in qualifying race 2, Akhil's journey at the Imola circuit got off to a good start.
While the pre-Christmas fire-up of the Mercedes car shows how far the team has progressed, other teams are still planning to launch their cars.
Hamilton's bid for a record eighth World Championship ended in controversy at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021.
The likes of McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, and Williams’ (now Mercedes) George Russell delivered some great performances.
Latifi crashed with five laps remaining, resulting in the safety car, with the race then restarted with just one lap to go where the title was decided.
Sergio Perez was out of a seat until late in 2020 before joining Red Bull Racing as Max Verstappen's teammate this year.
Mercedes announced on Thursday that they had withdrawn their appeal against the race result, but they remain deeply disappointed.
Sir Lewis is the fourth F1 driver to be knighted, following in the footsteps of Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart.
After clinching his maiden title, the 24-year-old Dutchman earns the right to switch out his regular race number 33.
The Dutchman later remarked on how it felt to go toe-to-toe with a seven-time champion during this 22-race season.