Hamilton on how he beat Verstappen at the 2021 Sao Paulo GP

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton says the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix is “one of the races I’m most proud of, looking at the setbacks we endured that weekend”.

Lewis Hamilton won the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix against all odds. On Friday Lewis was disqualified from qualifying due to an insignificant rear wing infringement, and had to start sprint qualifying from the back on the grid. At that point it seemed that his championship hopes were lost.

However, after an amazing drive from P20 to P5 in the sprint race, Lewis was back in the game. Still, he had to start Sunday’s main race from P10, due to an engine-related penalty.

Despite this, Lewis fought his way back to the top of the field and finally overtook his championship rival Max Verstappen, to win the race.

In a chat with Formula1.com, Lewis talked about his amazing drive.

“I was just sitting [on the grid] thinking: ‘That is a lot of cars ahead of me, but I’m just going to go out and give it absolutely everything’,” the Briton said.

“What people don’t realise is that there is a lot of risk trying to navigate through people in these races.

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“Anything can happen; a car could move over and you touch [them], you could get a flat tyre, or lose a front wing. So you have to be really clean and concise when you overtake.”

Once Lewis got close to Verstappen, he still had to try and overtake him, and the Dutch driver did not make it an easy task.

“I could see Max up ahead and I was thinking, ‘Is Max saving his tyres, or is he just not that fast? Because I’m catching up’.

“Little by little I got closer. Red Bull had a crazy fast engine in 2021, certainly the fastest of them all.

“The first time I tried to overtake him, Max braked and went super, super deep. I would have made it into the corner if he hadn’t gone off the track.

“I had to recollect myself. I thought, ‘I can’t let him do that again’. The next time I was behind him, I ‘dummied’ him into Turn 1.

“I made Max think I wanted to dive up the inside so he defended, which meant he had a tighter corner though Turn 1 and I could take a nice wide line and position my car in a much better position.

“So when I came out onto the straight I slingshot past him. I was then able to slot in and take the position [for the lead].”

The race proved to be a turning point in the championship, as Lewis won all of the remaining races from that point forward, except the controversial final race in Abu Dhabi.

The Briton now says the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was “maybe one of the best races I’ve ever done, at least that I can remember”.

“It was amazing and one of the races I’m most proud of, looking at the setbacks we endured that weekend, it proves that you should never, ever give up,” Hamilton concluded.

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