Lewis Hamilton says his Sao Paulo Grand Prix performance was one of the best weekends of his career after winning despite being disqualified from qualifying.
Mercedes took a new internal combustion engine for Hamilton ahead of the race weekend and he duly qualified fastest for the Sprint before being excluded for a DRS technical infringement. Starting last on Saturday, Hamilton climbed to fifth place, meaning he started 10th on Sunday due to his power unit penalty. That didn’t hold him back as he eventually passed Max Verstappen to win, and says he is proud of how he dealt with all of the issues he faced.
“It’s been such a difficult weekend for everyone in the team and I think really just been inspired by everyone’s focus and determination,” Hamilton said. “It’s easy to get down when you’re faced with difficult things like penalties and engine penalties, but everyone just stayed positive, did a great job, mechanics did a fantastic job, strategy also was solid.
“Then it was just down to me to let go of things as quick as possible and focus on moving forward. Did I think we could come from last? I didn’t know what was possible, just gave it everything, and this has definitely been one of the best weekends, if not the best weekend I’ve experienced, probably in my whole career.”
While Hamilton made rapid progress to run second, he chased Verstappen for a number of laps and his first proper attack saw the leader push both drivers off track at Turn 4, something Hamilton says was simply firm racing.
“In front of me, he could match my pace generally. I would say more so in the last sector it was very difficult to follow and be able to get as good exit as he got through Turn 12. It wasn’t that easy to be in his DRS and even if I was in the DRS zone it was a bit too far away but I kept trying, kept pushing.
“I had that one chance into Turn 4 but couldn’t hold on… yeah didn’t work out. Then I had that experience and made sure I didn’t make that mistake again but was adamant and determined to make it to that position. It’s fun. It’s what a world championship battle should look like.
“In the heat of the moment I don’t really know. I think I was ahead initially and then he held his ground and then we both ran out of road. Well, I think he was running out of road so I had to avoid and go off road, but I mean I didn’t think too much of it. I have to watch the replay. It’s hard battling, wouldn’t expect anything less really. We didn’t touch wheels, which was good.”