Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton has produced one of his greatest drives to hunt down Max Verstappen and win the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, slashing his rival’s lead in the Formula One championship to 14 points.
Red Bull ace Verstappen finished second with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas – who started from pole – third after a controversial, roller-coaster weekend in Brazil.
“I don’t remember another weekend like this,” said Hamilton, his dream of a record eighth title back on with three races remaining.
“It’s quite overwhelming, to be honest.”
“This has been probably one of the best weekends, if not the best weekend, that I have experienced since … probably in my whole career.”
The Briton was fastest in Friday qualifying at Interlagos for Saturday’s sprint that set Sunday’s grid, and then demoted to the back of the field after his car’s rear wing failed a technical inspection.
He went from 20th to fifth on Saturday, dropping back to 10th on Sunday’s grid after an engine penalty but hungry for much more.
The rest was history as the 36-year-old took his third win at Interlagos and set a record for victory in Brazil from the lowest grid position, beating Italian Giancarlo Fisichella’s 2003 win from eighth.
“Lewis, that’s how you overcome a 20-place disqualification,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told him over the radio after he took the chequered flag in front of a cheering crowd.
“It was actually 25, but you’re right,” replied Hamilton.
The win was Hamilton’s sixth of the season and record-extending 101st of his career.
“That was one of the best drives I’ve ever seen in F1. By anyone. Utterly awesome,” commented 1996 world champion Damon Hill on Twitter.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finished fourth, pitting at the end for fresh tyres to set the fastest lap and deny Hamilton a precious bonus point.
Mercedes moved 11 points clear of Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished fifth with teammate Carlos Sainz sixth.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was seventh, ahead of the Alpine pairing of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
Lando Norris took the final point for McLaren despite a puncture on the opening lap.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo retired his McLaren after a loss of power.
Verstappen led most of the race after the first turn, when he overtook pole sitter Bottas.
But Hamilton, who rose from 10th to third position in just six laps, went ahead of Verstappen on lap 59.
“We still have a good points lead,” Dutchman Verstappen said.
“Today was a bit of damage limitation on a weekend that was difficult for us.
“I’m confident that the coming races we will bounce back.”
Two of the remaining three are circuits new to F1 – Qatar and Saudi Arabia – before the finale in Abu Dhabi.