Lewis Hamilton, who won his fourth F1 world title two weeks ago, in Mexico, has arrived in São Paulo to take part in the Brazilian GP and, last Wednesday, he presented the Ayrton Senna Institute with a special model customized by Eduardo Kobra. In an event organized by Petronas, the main sponsor of team Mercedes, the British driver gave a press conference in which he talked about his admiration for Senna and Brazil.
“Brazil has always been in my heart and I have a special fondness [for the country] because of Senna. Afterwards, I started understanding Brazil better, coming here and seeing all the passion, learning about the culture and the love. I have met lots of Brazilians and people around the world who are huge Ayrton Senna fans, and I think that, from the very beginning, my goal has always been to achieve something like Ayrton did. He’s my reference point”, said Hamilton.
After giving interviews, Hamilton met Kobra and Viviane Senna in a separate room and was gifted a portrait of Ayrton Senna similar to the 41-meter high mural that was painted in São Paulo, on the corner of Paulista and Consolação avenues. The Briton was happy to receive the original painting, and he was also presented by Viviane with a cap and other souvenirs bearing Senna’s colors.
“I really like you, Lewis, for the warmth you show towards Ayrton, which is genuine. This makes all the difference. We’ve always been by your side in your greatest moments, and we’ve always tried to celebrate your records”, said Viviane, recalling the homage to Hamilton made by the Institute at the Canadian GP, when he secured his 65th pole position in F1, matching Ayrton Senna’s number.
In 2015, also around the time of the Brazilian GP, Hamilton was awarded the gold-plated Ayrton Senna Trophy by the Institute. In the following year, the Briton was gifted the famous “Nacional” cap, especially signed by Mrs. Neyde, Ayrton’s mother. The reason behind all the tributes was the British driver’s strong identification with Senna.
At the end of last Wednesday’s event, Viviane became emotional and remembered that Hamilton is an example of Senna’s legacy. “Ayrton used to say that, if we wanted to change the world, we had to start with the children – with their education. He had an impact on children all over the world, and one of them was a British kid who dreamed of being a F1 driver. And now, here you are, as the best driver in the world”, said Viviane, who also stressed the work made by the Institute towards improving public education in the country. “We believe that education is the key to a better world. Just like our idol, Ayrton Senna, we can’t just accept the problems in the world, and we work towards changing things for the better. We believe that each child and young person has the power to transform reality, but they need opportunities to develop their potential. That’s why we provide a full-time education that prepares them for life in the 21st century and to build a better future”, added Viviane.
Take a look at Viviane Senna’s full speech beside Lewis Hamilton and Kobra:
Kobra was also very happy in being able to gift Hamilton and the Institute once again. “I had painted more than ten Senna pieces even before I met his family. I did it spontaneously, because of what Senna represented to the Brazilian people. Now, I’m even more delighted for having been invited to pain Hamilton’s car, which he donated to the Ayrton Senna Institute. Not to mention my original Senna painting that is now going to Hamilton’s house. I’ve discovered that Lewis and I have something in common: we’re both huge Ayrton Senna fans”, said Kobra.