Lewis Hamilton has said it was a “huge honour” but also “surreal” to be awarded an honorary Brazilian citizenship after the lower house of parliament passed a bill on the matter.
Hamilton has often spoken of his love of Brazil which stems from his childhood following of Ayrton Senna. His own career has produced some noticeable highlights there as it was the scene of his first World Championship win in 2008 as well as one of the drives of his career last year.
After the win in 2021, Hamilton unveiled a Brazilian flag on the podium and rumours started in April of this year that a citizenship could be on the cards.
At the time, the Mercedes driver said he would be honoured if it came true and it has come to pass after congressman Andre Figueiredo proposed the motion which was passed on Thursday.
After it was confirmed, Hamilton said it was “very surreal” but a “huge honour.”
eu te amo Brasil 🇧🇷❤️
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 9, 2022
“[I was] surprised like everyone else yesterday when I heard about it, no one contacted me and told me we just heard about in the news,” Hamilton told reporters during his press conference at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“I’ve not heard of that happening. I’m sure it does in other places, but Brazil has always been a place that I’ve loved and admired as a kid.
“Obviously following Ayrton [Senna] and you’re naturally drawn to the country but through my life, just meeting more and more Brazilian resilience and knowing more about the culture and the community and it’s very, very diverse there.
“There’s a lot of energy, music, colour and I’ve had over the years amazing times there. I won my first World Championship in Brazil and 14 years later, whatever it is, the epic race that I had there last year and the moment I had with the Brazilian flag, so that’s my like biggest following is in Brazil.
“So I’m very, very honoured and grateful and can’t wait to spend more time there.
In a report, congressman Jhonatan de Jesus of the Republicans party said Hamilton has a “deep and strongly emotional” relationship with Brazil and the tribute was well-deserved.
“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,” said Jesus.
Hamilton will return to the country for the first time as an honorary citizen in November for the Brazilian Grand Prix.