Lewis Hamilton hails Sao Paulo GP win as one of his best as he beats Max Verstappen after F1 'adversity'
"This is one of the most beautiful feelings they've had," says Lewis Hamilton after an incredible Sao Paulo GP weekend; Hamilton now 14 points behind Max Verstappen, who he overtook late on, with just three races remaining
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 15/11/21 9:36am
Lewis Hamilton hailed his Sao Paulo GP victory as "beautiful" and one of his greatest after battling through a weekend of adversity to out-duel Max Verstappen and recover crucial championship ground.
Hamilton has now cut Verstappen's title lead to 14 points, an outcome that looked incredibly unlikely after a qualifying disqualification and an engine penalty dropped him down the grid in both the Brazil races.
But Hamilton brilliantly won from 10th in Sunday's Grand Prix, sealing his comeback with an overtake on his rival and wrestling back momentum with just three races to go in his bid for a record eighth crown.
"Success always feels sweeter when you battle through adversity," said Hamilton. "This is one of the most beautiful feelings I've had. Knowing I've had all those setbacks, but we never let that stand in our way. "
Hamilton had only ever won from lower than sixth on the grid once in his career before Sunday - from 14th in Germany in 2018 - but charged through the field in a Mercedes car that was the class of Interlagos.
Sky F1's Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, called it "one of the best drives I've ever seen in F1 - by anyone".
Hamilton responded in the press conference.
"It never gets old hearing positive comments from such a great driver in Damon," he stated. "I remember being such a big fan of his when I was younger. I've always admired Damon and he's always been super supportive and I really do appreciate that.
"From my own personal experience it's been one of the most challenging if not the most challenging with the things that we've faced during the weekend. In terms of driving it's maybe my best."
Hamilton on 'overwhelming' victory and Max incident
It was a whirlwind few days for Hamilton, having already known earlier in the weekend that he was going to be taking a five-place grid penalty for Sunday before being disqualified from Friday's qualifying results for a Mercedes DRS breach.
That left him 20th on the grid in the Saturday Sprint, where he stormed back to fifth, and he then made up nine positions from 10th on Sunday when the big points were on offer.
"I don't remember another weekend like this," Hamilton told Sky F1.
"I definitely didn't know I was going to win, of course that was always my goal but it's quite overwhelming to be honest. I feel great in my body, I feel great mentally.
"All of us are working hard to stay positive, but this has been such a hard weekend. Of course we got the car into a good position but once we knew we were going to have the engine penalty and we knew we would be starting at least five places back, and then with the disqualification for the qualifying, that was devastating for everyone."
There was more controversy during the race as Verstappen avoided a penalty for a fierce defence from Hamilton as he came charging before his eventual overtake.
"I knew when they said they were going to investigate that was the decision they were going to come to, whether it was right or wrong," said Hamilton of the stewards. "I just didn't let it phase me, I just kept racing.
"It's a racing incident at the end of the day. It doesn't really matter. I got the result I needed."