Seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, was made an honorary citizen of Brazil in June.
The decision was made after congressman Andre Figueiredo put forward the idea after the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, when the Mercedes driver held up the Brazilian flag after winning the race. Additionally to this, Hamilton visited Brazil earlier this year in April to deliver a keynote speech at an event in Sao Paulo where he said he would be honoured to be made an honorary citizen of the country.
Hamilton shared the news to his Instagram followers at the time, saying:
“Speechless. Today I was granted honorary citizenship to one of my favourite places in the world. I don’t really have the words right now. Thank you Brasil, I love you, I can’t wait to see you again.”
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Republican party congressman, Jhonatan de Jesus, explained in a report that the tribute was well-deserved and that Hamilton has a “deep and strongly emotional” connection with Brazil. Jesus said:
“His gestures add to his indisputable sporting merit. His public positions in support of relevant issues such as the environment, animal rights, Black people, women and human rights must also be remembered and highlighted,”
Hamilton’s idol growing up was Brazilian F1 legend, Ayrton Senna. Senna had three F1 championship wins in the 1980s and 1990s. Senna tragically passed away after a horrendous crash at the Emilia Romagna GP, also known as the Imola GP.
Speaking about his idol, Hamilton has said:
“He was the driver who inspired me as a kid and he’s still a hero today. And he always will be,
“I didn’t really know his personality so much apart from the small clips you were able to see. So it was more what he stood for, what he stood up against and what he was able to do in a car that I loved to see.”
Hamilton has gone through the majority of his career with a yellow helmet in tribute to the Brazilian F1 icon and always had his sights set on reaching, and beating, the records set by Senna. When the British driver matched the same amount of pole positions as Senna when he reached 65 poles back in 2017, Senna’s family gave Hamilton one of his helmets.