Lewis Hamilton has revealed his adoration for Brazil after the "surreal" announcement he has been given honorary citizenship to the country.
Brazilian congressman Andre Figueiredo proposed the seven-time F1 champion be bestowed the honour after his stellar victory in last year's Interlagos race, at the end of which Hamilton unfurled the nation's flag in front of the feverish crowd.
Hamilton has held a special connection with the Brazilian public due to his love of Ayrton Senna and ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, the lower house of the national parliament passed a bill to make Hamilton an honorary citizen.
Brazilian football legend Pele congratulated Hamilton, saying: "Lewis. I am happy that, from now on, I can consider you a countryman.”
Hamilton will officially receive his citizenship in a solemn session of parliament, with a date for this yet to be confirmed.
"It is very surreal and what a huge honour it is," said Hamilton, reacting to the confirmation.
"I was surprised like everyone else when I heard about it, no one contacted me and told me, I just heard it on the news.
"I don't think I have heard of anyone else... like I haven't heard of that happening, maybe it does in some other places but Brazil has always been a place I have loved and admired as a kid."
On his connection to the country, Hamilton added: "Obviously, following Ayrton I was drawn to the country.
"Throughout my life, meeting more and more Brazilians and learning more about the culture and the community, it is very diverse there and there is a lot of energy for music, colour and I have had some amazing times there over the years.
"I won my first world championship in Brazil, and to then 14 years later, whatever it is, that epic race that I had there last year and the moment I had with the Brazilian flag.
"One of my biggest followings is in Brazil so I am very very honoured and grateful and I can't wait to spend more time there."