A bill to make Lewis Hamilton an honorary citizen proposed in Brazil; seven-time world champion jokes at Sao Paulo event that he is waiting for his passport; Hamilton also says he wants to spend more time in the country
Lewis Hamilton says he is “honoured” to have received the offer of honorary citizenship in Brazil and claims footballer Neymar “invites me every year” to spend more time in the country.
Hamilton has long had an affinity with the country, whose legendary Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna is his idol, and he claimed his first world championship there in extraordinary circumstances in 2008.
A bill to make Hamilton an honorary citizen was proposed by congressman Andre Figueiredo after Hamilton won last year’s Brazilian GP, where he unfurled the Brazilian flag as fans chanted his and Senna’s names.
The bill has yet to be voted on in Brazil’s parliament but presidential hopeful Ciro Gomes has backed Hamilton’s citizenship, posting on social media: “Hamilton, you already live in our hearts.
“With the honorary citizenship, you will be even closer to us.”
Responding to Gomes, Hamilton said: “I’d be honoured.”
Hamilton’s comments conveniently came just as he was arriving in Brazil to deliver a keynotes speech at an event, with the Mercedes driver having travelled to both Kuala Lumpur and Sao Paulo since last weekend’s Australian GP.
“I want to spend more time here in Brazil,” said Hamilton. “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.
“[Brazil soccer international] Neymar invites me every year, and [pro surfer] Gabriel [Medina] invites me every year, but I never had the chance.”
Hamilton then joked: “I’m waiting for my Brazilian passport.”
Neymar, the PSG and Brazil forward, and Hamilton have been friends for many years, while the 37-year-old is also a budding surfer and has spent time with Medina, a three-time world champion.