Lewis Hamilton has labelled the Brazilian Grand Prix as his “Hardest weekend I’ve ever had,” as he closed the gap on Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
“Coming into this weekend I never ever thought we would be able to close the gap like we had today,” Hamilton said after the race.
Whilst Verstappen was frustrated after the race “We tried everything we could today of course. It was a good battle but at the end we just missed a little bit of pace.”
Hamilton had 25 places worth of grid penalties after taking a five place grid penalty for an engine change before the race weekend started which had already put the Brit at a disadvantage going into the wekend, but the Mercedes driver’s penalties were not finished there.
After qualifying on Friday, Hamilton was disqualified after finishing in pole position due to a technical infringement with his DRS system, which saw him starting 20th on the grid for sprint qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton managed to climb up to fifth by the end of the sprint race whilst Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas won the sprint qualifying picking up three Championship points, Verstappen second picking up two points and Carlos Sainz completing the podium with one point.
Hamilton started in tenth position due to his engine penalty, but the Brit was up to fourth within the space of four laps after some exceptional driving.
By lap 48 the Brit was in striking distance of Verstappen and made his move, the Dutchman defending him and both drivers ending up completely off the track.
Hamilton regained his composure, then on lap 59 Hamilton faked a move down the inside going into turn one, had a better exit from the corner and then moved past Verstappen going down into turn four with ease and you could see the relief on Team Principle’s Toto Wolff’s face.
What they had to Say –
“To fight through the whole field, some drivers he had to fight through twice and to do it so cleanly was so impressive and showed his incredible mental strength,” Formula One journalist Chris Medland on Hamilton’s impressive performance when speaking to Park Life Sport.
“He’s a driver with 101 race win and I think this really does stick out as being one of his best wins in Formula One which says a lot,” Luke Smith from Autosport was very complementary of Hamilton’s performance as he closed the gap to Verstappen.
Hamilton is now only 14 points behind Verstappen in search for his record eighth title, whilst Mercedes lead Red Bull by 11 points.
With three races to go in the Middle East: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi both titles are well and truly up for grabs, with the next race seeing F1 visit Qatar for its first ever Grand Prix the next weekend.