'I really feel like I'm one of you' – Hamilton made honorary citizen of Brazil

AFP via Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton is grateful to have been made an honorary citizen of Brazil and dedicated the achievement to boyhood idol Ayrton Senna.

The seven-time Formula One world champion received the honour during a ceremony at the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia on Monday.

Hamilton delighted home spectators when holding a Brazilian flag from his Mercedes after claiming his third victory at Interlagos last year.

That is also the venue where the Briton won his first world title in 2008, and where he will return this weekend for the penultimate grand prix of 2022.

While Hamilton may still be seeking a first victory of a hugely disappointing campaign, the 37-year-old was all smiles as he received Brazil's legislative medal of merit.

"I'd like to say a big, big thank you to everyone here, for all those who've moved mountains to make this day possible," he said.

"It is honestly the greatest honour for me to be here receiving and accepting this citizenship. I really do feel like now I'm one of you, finally.

"The love that's grown since I arrived here in 2007, the experiences we've had and, particularly in 2021, it was one of the most special moments of my entire life.

"I can't wait for us to continue to strive ahead."

Hamilton's seven world titles is the joint-most in F1 history, level with Michael Schumacher and four more than the late, great Senna.

"I really want to dedicate today, this honour, to Ayrton Senna – to Ayrton's family, to his friends and to his fans," Hamilton added.

"For me, when I was five years old, I saw Ayrton race for the first time, and that was the moment I knew that I wanted to be a world champion, just like him.

"It was then that I knew and learnt about Brazil. It was then that I started to play FIFA as Brazil!

"But really, through his eyes, I was able to see how passionate Brazilians were, and how deep it goes, the love and passion you have for your country, and how beautiful it is.

"I'm so excited to spend some more time here."