Sir Lewis Hamilton has been given an honorary citizenship by Brazil amid his career-long love affair with the south American country.
Hamilton grew up idolising Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who drove for Toleman, Lotus, McLaren and Williams, and won three championships with the Woking-based side.
His 41 career victories in his career, as well as masterful race craft, remarkable pole laps, and ridiculous ability in the wet, cemented him as one of the very best to ever do it in Formula 1, but his life was tragically taken following a crash in Imola in 1994.
Senna’s legacy very much lives on in Hamilton, who has had a close affiliation with Brazil and its people for many years, and Ciro Gomes, a presidential hopeful in Brazil, pushed for the Briton to be awarded an honorary citizenship.
“Hamilton, you already live in our hearts,” he said.
“With the honorary citizenship, you will be even closer to us.”
“I’d be honoured,” was the seven-time champion’s reply.
The 37-year-old, who has secured 103 pole positions, the same number of race wins, and seven Drivers’ Championships in the most illustrious career the sport has ever seen, professed his desire to spend more time in Brazil.
“I want to spend more time here in Brazil, it is such a beautiful culture,” said Hamilton while speaking at a VTEX day event.
“I’ve only been to Rio and Sao Paulo, but I want to come back for Christmas, New Year or something.
“[Brazilian footballer] Neymar invites me every year, and [professional surfer] Gabriel [Medina] invites me every year, but I never had the chance.”
He also joked that he is “waiting for my Brazilian passport.”
The bill to make the 103-time race winner a citizen of Brazil has now been passed, to Hamilton’s disbelief and joy.
“Speechless. Today I was granted honorary citizenship to one of my favourite places in the world,” he said on Instagram, posting a picture of him with a Brazilian flag.
“I don´t really have the words right now. Thank you Brasil, I love you, I can´t wait to see you again.”
Hamilton has not yet added to his win tally in a struggling Mercedes car in 2022 but, as the German outfit continue to improve, he will be hoping to be back in contention for victories by the time the circus next rolls into Brazil in November.