Pele is arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time and is regarded by many as one of the central figures in Brazil’s golden years of international football.
Although he retired in 1977, he has remained relevant not only due to his phenomenal achievements during his playing career, but also due to remaining active in public life.
Pele famously served as Brazil’s Minister of Sports between 1994 and 1998.
The iconic Santos player also courted many other sports as a spectator since hanging up his boots in football.
One such event took place in Formula 1 when Pele’s appearance almost jeopardised Michael Schumacher’s driver.
This incident is being brought back in front of the public eye following Pele’s passing away following a prolonged battle against Colon cancer.
Pele was invited by the F1 governing body to wave the chequered flag during the 2002 Brazil Grand Prix.
Traditionally, the person who has the responsibility of waving the chequered flag has to do so when the first driver crosses the finish line.
Pele, however, was late on this count and only started waving the flag after both Michael Schumacher and his brother had passed.
Rather, he waved it following the final podium finish driver Takuma Sato crossed the line.
The FIA were kind enough to take this into consideration and Michael Schumacher was granted his race win.
This wasn’t Pele’s only tryst with F1.
He followed the sport quite closely and congratulated Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton after the Stevenage-born driver won the Brazilian Grand prix in 2021.
It was perhaps one of Hamilton’s finest moments in the recent past as he displayed tremendous ability to climb from the last position to first spot during the race.
Hamilton promptly decided to wave the Brazilian flag following the race and this is believed to be due to his love for Brazil motorsport legend Ayrton Senna.
Oele was overwhelmed by Hamilton’s demonstration and took to twitter to congratulate the seven-time world champion.
Pele wrote, “A wonderful performance. A day as glorious for you, Lewis, as for us Brazilians. It’s great to see an @f1 driver raise our flag on the podium. Thank you for being who you are.”
Lewis acknowledged Pele’s compliment with a response: “Thank you sir.”