Lewis Hamilton was left “speechless” and was even congratulated by football icon Pepe after the Formula 1 legend was awarded honorary Brazilian citizenship.
Hamilton is one of his country’s greatest sportsmen and one of the greatest F1 drivers in history, but it’s not just his home country that has a strong affinity for the seven-time world champion.
Inspired by the late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna – who won 41 grands prix and 65 pole positions in his career – Hamilton has always had a connection to the South American country.
The 37-year-old Mercedes driver is currently preparing for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
But he has something to celebrate this weekend before his car’s tires have even touched the track, as Brazil have confirmed he is now an honorary citizen.
Hamilton was knighted by Prince Charles earlier this year, and on Thursday, after a brief 10-minute debate, the lower house of Brazil’s Congress voted in favor of a bill to pay another tribute to the England star.
Congressman Andre Figueiredo first proposed the move after last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, where Hamilton flew the country’s flag when he won at the Sao Paulo circuit in Interlagos.
Hamilton won his first world title in the country in 2008, so Brazil holds a special place in his heart.
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“Speechless,” wrote the Mercedes driver on Instagram after the announcement.
“Today I was awarded honorary citizenship in one of my favorite places in the world. I’m really at a loss for words now.
“Thank you Brasil, I love you, I can’t wait to see you again.”
A date for formally handing over Hamilton’s citizenship has yet to be announced.
However, legendary Brazilian footballer Pele has already congratulated him.
“Congratulations Lewis,” the 81-year-old commented on Hamilton’s post.
“I am glad that from now on I can consider you a compatriot.”
Hamilton’s honorary citizenship joins the long list of other accolades the F1 superstar has received throughout his career, including recognition off the track for his commitment to fighting issues such as racism.
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