Lewis Hamilton made honorary Brazilian citizen after Interlagos flag celebration


Brazil's parliament has passed a bill that gives honorary citizenship to Lewis Hamilton in recognition of his attachment to the country and Ayrton Senna

Lewis Hamilton with a Brazilian flag at the 2021 grand prix

Hamilton won from tenth on the grid in the 2021 Brazilian GP and was given a flag on the cooldown lap

Clive Mason/F1 via Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton described himself as “speechless” after being made an honorary citizen of Brazil, following his Grand Prix victory in Sao Paolo last year.

The seven-time world champion wrapped himself in the Brazilian flag on the podium as the crowd chanted his name at the 2021 race. Soon afterwards, the proposal for honorary citizenship was tabled in the country’s parliament.

That bill was passed on Thursday, and Hamilton will now receive the accolade in a ceremony, which has still to be arranged.

“Speechless,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Hamilton’s boyhood hero was Ayrton Senna and he has regularly spoken of taking inspiration from the three-time Brazilian champion, describing him as a “pure out and out racer”.

“He was the driver who inspired me as a kid and he’s still a hero today. And he always will be,” said Hamilton in 2019, who said he was also drawn to Senna’s activism.

“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.”

Ayrton Senna celebrates victory in the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton’s celebrations were compared to Senna’s jubilation on the Interlagos podium in ’91

Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images

Hamilton was handed the Brazilian flag by a marshal as he celebrated victory in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix on the cooldown lap, following a fight to the front from tenth on the grid.

Bringing it onto the podium brought comparisons to Senna’s celebrations after winning the 1991 race and fans were chanting the names of both drivers during the ceremony.

Andre Figueiredo, a Brazilian congressman proposed the honour in the wake of the win. In a report written ahead of the bill’s debate, Congressman Jhonatan de Jesus said that Hamilton has a “deep and strongly emotional” relationship with Brazil.

“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,” he said.