The Hamilton brand goes beyond Formula 1, and indeed he is a truly brilliant ambassador to the sport, bringing F1 to those who might not ordinarily care about fast cars going in circles.
Not only is the very talented 5 time world Champion significantly better than many behind the wheel in the current crop of drivers (some say the best ever), but he also brings in big sponsorship bucks for his ability to broadcast his brand away from the track, often by social media.
A social media message that managed to not annoy Brazilians (too much)
Hamilton has made some errors in the past, and this is precisely why #TEAMLH or #LH44 (take your pick) has made a laughable error after the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday.
Using Instagram, Hamilton or one of his PR team, decided to thank the Brazilian people for a fantastic race using the ‘Stories’ feature of the app. Unfortunately, whoever posted the well intentioned message, typed it out in Spanish rather than the national language of Portuguese.
Lewis Hamilton, Senna’s biggest fan and inspiration
The unfortunate faux par has added gravitas due to the fact that Lewis Hamilton claims he has a special affiliation with the Portuguese speaking Brazilian Champion, the late Ayrton Senna. Lewis says he gained inspiration to drive from Senna, and followed him religiously until his untimely demise in 1994.
One would think that the British number one and 5 time Champion might want to sign off any messages on his monstrously large social media reach? Or perhaps he did, after all the two languages when written down do look similar.
The problem is however, that it’s a common world misconception that Brazil speaks Spanish and not Portuguese – as most of central and southern America speak Spanish or dialects based on that language. Many Brazilians are irked by the mistake, a bit like Canadians being mistaken for those from the USA. Or Kiwi’s being told they sound like Australians.
On Reddit, a user who says he’s a Portuguese speaker gives his opinion on the matter saying:
“As a Portuguese speaker I think this is funny as f*ck. However I don’t understand why Hamilton does these things.
“It seems like he tries too hard to be nice saying how much he loves the fans all over the world (seems like every country has the best fans ever) or trying to speak a language he doens’t understand. That’s unnecessary. He doens’t need to please everybody.”
Perhaps he’s right, perhaps not. After all, the message was well intentioned but it does highlight that Lewis should perhaps be more aware of what his PR team are doing in his name.