Lewis Hamilton hailed his victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix as the greatest of his career. The British driver delivered an outstanding comeback to go from 10th on the grid to win, beating his Formula One world championship rival, Max Verstappen, into second and, in so doing, rejuvenating his title challenge.
Hamilton endured a testing weekend at Interlagos, penalised twice, once for a replacement engine and then for a DRS infringement. The world champion then came back from last on the grid to fifth in Saturday’s sprint qualifying race and then overtook half the field on Sunday to seal an unlikely victory.
He has 101 wins, seven titles and is attempting to take his eighth in his 15th season in F1. Yet his achievement in Brazil was a standout moment, because of how hard he and his Mercedes team had had to fight. “I just gave it everything,” he said. “This has definitely been one of the best weekends, if not the best, I have experienced in probably my whole career.
“I feel that this has been one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging, with the things we have faced through the weekend but, in terms of driving, it has maybe been my best.”
His feelings were echoed by the former world champion Damon Hill on Twitter: “That was one of the best drives I’ve ever seen in F1. By anyone. Utterly awesome.”
Hamilton trailed Verstappen by 21 points going into the race but is now only 14 behind with three meetings left. He emphasised how, despite the penalties over the weekend, he refused to be bowed and got past nine drivers on Sunday to win, including a tense battle against Verstappen. “Mentally you can just think it’s over, it’s impossible,” he said. “Nothing is if you put your mind to it. That’s really why we just cultivated a positive mental attitude and went in fighting, guns blazing.”
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, echoed the sentiment, bullishly noting how fired up his team were for the final three races in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. “The team has always been together but these decisions have brought us so close together,” he said. “It’s against us. Lewis has felt this all his life. Now we all feel it together and we are going to fight. We are not going to be victims. That is the feeling in the garage.
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