Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton believes he was the faster driver “by a long way” in the recently concluded Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton suffered a crash in Q1 on Saturday due to which, he had to take permission of the race stewards to start from the back of the grid. Since Mercedes decided to use new parts, breaking the parc ferme rules, the Briton had to start from the pits in Sunday’s race.
Despite such a heavy disadvantage, the British driver managed to cut through the back and the middle order and emerged within points range by lap 9.
Once he reached the fifth, the Briton made a pit stop and passed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after he re-joined the race. He then targeted Kimi Räikkönen’s third place but ran out of laps to displace him for the podium.
Talking to NBC, Hamilton said: “I was quickest all weekend, I probably would have been on pole, and pole to finish [first], but this made it a more enjoyable race for sure,”
“I was quicker than everyone today by a long way. That’s the real positive to take from it.
“I had good pace on the long runs on Friday [in practice] – particularly on the soft, I think I was almost half a second quicker than everyone. And I had an old engine and a different aero package, so I had pace.
“But today I was 110 percent the whole way; I had to bring up a little bit extra.
“Kimi was right there, but my tyres just let go and I had nothing left.”
Sunday’s battle reminded him of his early go-karting days, says Hamilton
“It was reminiscent of when I first started racing as a kid, we had not a great go-kart and we started from the back and had to make our way through to the front.
“That’s how it felt today, except obviously I had a good car and I was able to do something special with it.”
Although Hamilton was only 5.5 seconds away from the race winner Sebastian Vettel, the German did not sense any threat from the British driver.
Vettel also admitted that Hamilton’s tyre strategy of starting on softs and switching to supersofts was the right one for the race when starting from the back.
“It’s not the first time this year that a mirrored strategy has some advantages,” Vettel said. “It is not attractive starting in front, but can be attractive starting from where he has.
“The track ramped up at the end so supersoft was the faster tyre.”