Hamilton becomes honorary citizen of Brazil before race

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. honorary / ˈɒn əˌrɛr I / (adj.) – given as a reward, sign of honor, or achievement

    My brother became an honorary member of the organization because of all the help he gave them.

  2. raucous / ˈrɔ kəs / (adj.) – loud and excited

    The raucous audience were cheering for their favorite teams.

  3. podium / ˈpoʊ di əm / (n.) – a raised spot where one receives an award or a medal

    The highest podium is reserved for the first place winner.

  4. by heart / baɪ hɑrt / (idiom) – used to say what someone is really like

    He speaks English and knows American customs and history. He’s Korean, but he’s an American by heart.

  5. overcome / ˌoʊ vərˈkʌm / (v.) – to defeat or become successful in dealing with something 

    It’s easy to overcome problems if we help each other.


Read the text below.

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton became a Brazilian driver.

Hamilton received honorary citizenship at Brazil’s Congress chamber in Brasilia in front of hundreds of raucous fans. He was in the country for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Congressman Andre Figueiredo first made the suggestion last November after Hamilton won the Brazilian GP for a third time at Interlagos. The British driver carried a green and yellow Brazilian flag on his victory lap and at the podium to celebrate with local fans.

“It is a great honor to get this title today. Now I can finally say I am one of you,” an emotional Hamilton said during the ceremony, wearing a blue suit and a yellow and green necklace with a Brazilian badge. “I love Brazil, I have always loved Brazil.”

Hamilton has many fans in Brazil due to his F1 skills and his admiration for Brazilian three-time world champion Ayrton Senna, who died in an F1 crash in 1994.

“I want to dedicate this honor to my hero Ayrton Senna,” Hamilton added.

Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira said Hamilton “is a hero for all Brazilians” and “a Briton by birth and a Brazilian by heart.”

“Brazilian role models like Senna and Hamilton make us sure that every Brazilian can overcome challenges and win the races in life,” Lira said. “I hope you return many times to this country that is also your country now.”

The 37-year-old Hamilton has struggled in his Mercedes this season and has yet to win a race. He’s fifth in the championship with two races to go. He hasn’t finished as low as fifth in 11 years.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull has already won the championship.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Would you agree if your government gave honorary citizenship to someone like Hamilton? Describe a person that you think deserves honorary citizenship from your country (ex. a sports celebrity, an author). Discuss.
  • If you would receive honorary citizenship from another country, what would it be? Why that country? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The Formula One champion Hamilton is a Briton by birth but is well-loved in Brazil. Who is a famous foreign personality admired by many in your country? Do you admire him/her too? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In his speech, Hamilton dedicated his honor to his hero Ayrton Senna. If you would be given honor or recognition, to whom would you dedicate it? Why? Discuss.