The connection between Lewis Hamilton and Brazil has been a close and a long one. His idol and inspiration- the Legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna was from Brazil and coincidentally, Hamilton’s first world championship was claimed at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit in 2008 under remarkable circumstances.
Brazil’s Congressman Andre Figueiredo proposed a bill to make Hamilton an honorary citizen after he won the Brazilian GP last year where fans cheered for him and Senna as he unfurled the Brazilian flag.
Though the bill is yet to be passed in Brazil’s parliament, Presidential candidate Ciro Gomes supported Hamilton’s citizenship idea by posting on social media: ”
“Hamilton, you already live in our hearts.”
With the honorary citizenship, you will be even closer to us.”
Hamilton was quick to reply to Gomes: “I’d be honoured.” He said.
The Brazilian love is for sure a two-way highway. Hamilton recently visited Sao Paulo to deliver a speech. At the VTEX day event, Hamilton spoke about his love for Brazil while he posed with the flag. He also revealed invitations he received from Brazilian Sportstars.
He said: “I want to spend more time here in Brazil, It is such a beautiful culture. I’ve only been to Rio and Sao Paulo, but I want to come back for Christmas, New Year or something.”
“Neymar (Brazil soccer international) invites me every year, and Gabriel (Medina) (pro surfer) invites me every year, but I never had the chance.
“I’m waiting for my Brazilian passport.” said Hamilton, jokingly.
Neymar and Hamilton have been friends for many years now. However, his love affair with Brazil began through his sole idol – F1 diver Ayrton Senna who was known for his spectaular overtakes, class driving and influential persona. The people of Brazil looked up to him as a hero.
Hamilton grew fonder of his idol when Senna passed away following his devastating crash at Imola. He was only nine years old back then. Hamilton then wore a yellow helmet throughout his racing career as a tribute to Senna. People in Brazil and Senna’s family knew of Hamilton’s respect for Senna and his fondness of the yellow helmet.
When Hamilton matched Senna’s pole tally of 65 in 2017, the emotional British driver was gifted one of Senna’s race helmets by his family. Though Hamilton won his first title at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit in 2008, he claimed his first victory there only in 2016.