Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2021

Hamilton didn’t think charge from last to fifth in 24 laps was possible

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

[raceweekendpromotion]Lewis Hamilton “had no idea” that his charge from 20th to fifth in Sao Paulo Grand Prix sprint qualifying would be possible.

The fastest driver in qualifying started from the back of the grid of Saturday’s 24-lap sprint as a result of a non-compliant rear wing which led to him being excluded from the results of Friday’s qualifying action.

He picked Pirelli’s more durable medium tyre to start on, but picked off three drivers on the more grippy soft compound almost straight away and was in 14th by lap two. Although some drivers posed more of a challenge than others, Hamilton was still able to overtake 15 cars to finish fifth.

As he still has to serve a five-place grid penalty for exceeding his maximum allowance of engines, Hamilton will start Sunday’s grand prix from 10th place.

“Honestly, I had no idea what was possible,” Hamilton said of his charge. “I didn’t set a limit or a maximum.

“I think when I was at the back of the grid just before the start, before we pulled away for the formation lap, I might have been able to see 10, and I was like: OK, that’s my goal. I’ve got to try and get as far up as possible.

“But then all of a sudden I was chipping away at it much faster. I really used a lot of different things for fuel today. I just never gave up, you can’t give up, you’ve just got to keep pushing.

“It was definitely tough and I think I was. Whilst the team were working on working away, delegating with the stewards, I was just trying to focus on my work with my engineers and keeping the morale with my mechanics high and just focusing on the job at hand.”

While Mercedes holds onto its constructors championship lead courtesy of Valtteri Bottas winning the sprint, Hamilton has dropped another two points back from Max Verstappen in their battle for the drivers’ title.

Hamilton said it was “devastating” to learn shortly before the sprint qualifying race that he would have to start from the back.

“But you don’t let that hold you back, [you] keep your head down and you’ve just got to keep going. So I quickly reset, got my mind focused on doing what I could do and just giving it my everything.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

    Browse all 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Ida Wood
    Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    65 comments on “Hamilton didn’t think charge from last to fifth in 24 laps was possible”

    1. Well, it’s not possible unless you’re Lewis Hamilton…

      1. Oh please he had a car a second faster than everyone until he got to Leclerc. With DRS giving him an extra boost the passes were easy.

        Enough of the walk on water crap.

        1. *TRIGGERED*

          1. No, I’m just correct. If Max had been back there, same result.

            1. petebaldwin (@)
              13th November 2021, 21:40

              @jblank – Almost the same result…. You’d have the people who are now saying Lewis is great saying “Max is in the fastest car” instead.

            2. And they’d be sycophants just as much as the Hammy sycophants. That’s what makes it great to be a fan of the midfield, you can see through the “heroics”. Anyone objectively watching the race today saw a dozen or so DRS passes, hardly challenging in a Merc or RB.

            3. I am a Daniel Riccardo fan, so don’t have a dog in this fight – just wanting it to go the distance. Having said that, LH’s drive today wasn’t just “I am in a good car”. Watch the lines he uses depending on the line of the car in front. Watch him hitting the apex after passing Lando from so far back.

              We all pick the drivers we want to win – that’s fine, it’s how sport goes. Being willingly blind to a a very good performance from a very good driver does you no favours. Don’t be that guy.

        2. Ya’ll never saw his race at Istanbul in GP2, apparently.

          Brazil is a track where the driver can make a difference– and Hamilton was in a mood he hasn’t been in very often this season. I hope he does it again on Sunday.

          And if the Mercedes was a second a lap faster than everyone else, why did Max finish 1.17 seconds behind Bottas?

      2. It’s not possible unless you have 20kph more top speed then 2/3 of the cars you need to overtake.

        1. @redearedrabbit sure it was a flawless performance but it’s not like it was particularly hard with the much faster car he had. I feel at least half the field would have done a simular move up the field with a car THAT much faster and 2 drs zones to make it even easier.

        2. 20 kph? Got speed trap data for that claim?

          1. “I think he was 27 km/h faster than Lando [Norris] when he passed him, which is another formula, but it’s a great drive from him.”

            1. Seems external links can’t be posted for reference, but that is as per Horner’s statement after the race, most probably based on GPS data.

              To have that kind of advantage over a competitor with a similar engine, just indicates the advantage that Mercedes has and hints to a trick that other Mercedes-engined drivers are lacking.

      3. It’s called driving a faster car. Bottas has already done the same in the same car.

    2. Not knowing what was possible or not is quite different that thinking it was not possible. So wrong lead.

    3. Well that’s a lie, because Brundle said the team thought 6th was entirely possible. There’s nobody on that entire team that can tell the truth.

      1. I have a friend from school who now works at Brackley, he’s pretty trustworthy and can tell the truth @jblank if it helps provide a counterexample.

        1. Great, there’s one.

          1. Have you met every individual in that team and assessed them to such a degree you can confidently call them all liars? Have a look at your own character before you start dissecting others.

            1. Oh spare me that crap. Every person on that team that opens their mouth and is publicly heard is always spouting a lie. Tires are dead, we’re so slow, blah, blah, blah, to quote Greta the Greenie.

          2. There’s james vowles, he seems pretty honest.

      2. Got a timed link to that from the program because what I got was Ham after a few laps and a few overtakes was Brundle- ‘P6 is a bit ambitious.’

        I hope you are not telling porkies again?

        1. Brundle did say HE thought it was ambitious but the TEAM said it was achievable. I don’t have to tell lies, unlike Merc.

          1. No you don’t have to tell lies, but you frequently do. Almost as frequently as you hope Hamilton crashes, or hopes someone takes him out, yet maintain you are objective.

            1. Bull excrement! Just because you Hammy fans get your undies in a wad when someone counters your belief that he’s some magical driver, doesn’t mean someone is lying.

              If you don’t like what I say, ignore me, I couldn’t care less what you Hammy lovers think.

            2. Of course it doesnt mean someone is lying just because. But you do know if I click on your name your posting history comes up? Which shows you lie, regularly hope Ham crashes, and spend most of your time fixating on Hamilton. And just because you are regular called out for your off the wall assertions and your belief that your oddball opinions are somehow facts, doesn’t mean those that are calling you out are all Hammy fans.

          2. Eh, so the team said P6 was achievable and Hamilton achieved P5. So are you saying Merc are lying cause he overachieved?

            1. No I’m saying Hamilton is full of it pretending like he didn’t think he could get p5.

      3. @jblank

        Well that’s a lie, because Brundle said the team thought 6th was entirely possible. There’s nobody on that entire team that can tell the truth.

        Mercedes have been a bunch of pessimistics sometimes, but Lewis is even more than them all. Maybe because if he loses this title with a car fast enough to clinch it he’ll not look as good as he’d like, hence his denial of Mercedes strengths, as well. In comparision, Max is way less pessimistic, sometimes he’s even stoic.

      4. You lie. 6th place was a best guess by Krofty based on the sheer number of passes Lewis had made already.

    4. I love Toto’s radio after the sprint race: “*swear word* them all!!!!”

      1. @krichelle Perhaps an omen for tomorrow.

      2. That comment left me quite confused. I’m sure it was just hot blood after a fantastic race but who is it that is being swear worded in that sentence.

      3. Yes, it did turn out this year (the first year they got some competition in 8 years) he does not handle pressure very well. This again is a showing of it. Well, at least he is engaged to the sport.

    5. that was amazing to watch, sadly adding a plus 1 on the sprint format

    6. That couldn’t have gone better for Mercedes barring a safety car or some other weirdness. Now he has Bottas possibly bottling up verstappen while he deals with the pack. Perez looked pretty weak in that sprint too so not looking like a ton of trouble for him tomorrow.

    7. Lewis, did an amazing sprint race to get so high. He was overtaking allover the place, real highlight compared to Red Bulls holding station.


      Now he starts just behind Red Bull on clean part of the track. He should be on Verstappen soon with that Mercedes engine for a tight race.

      Also his nove up the field highlights the need for reverse grid sprint races. I have no doubt if Verstappen was alongside Hamilton in P19 it would be awesome racing up the field.

      Lead cars tend to be very hard to overtake with current aero regulations, so much better to mix it up.

      1. No he doesn’t start near the red bulls. He starts in 10th. The closest red bull is perez in 4th.

        And there should be no such thing as a reverse grid race in formula 1

      2. “all over the place” not one pass without drs except for the start.

    8. Of course, he always underestimates the machinery he has. It happened the entire season in a way or another, and be ready for more endless lamentations and excuses as usual when Red Bull becomes the fastest (even if that car slightly edges or just about matches Mercedes) again in some of the next tracks.

    9. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      13th November 2021, 21:47

      Having the fastest car and overtaking cowards and yet he still didn’t think it was possible? Give me a break…

      1. Cowards

        is maybe a bit too strong but certainly none could be bothered to defend a tiny bit. What a waste!

        The so-called overtakes by the ewe (or was it goat?) only made me yawn, but Carlos’ defense was worth watching (and Valtteri’s sometimes too).

      2. You got that right. The lack of defense in modern F1 is absolutely pathetic. Most of these man children couldn’t even defend a granny from the local riffraff!

    10. There was one nic out taking pass the rest was passing on the “autobahn-easy”

      1. Nice autocorrect. There was one nice out-braking pass the rest was “autobahn” easy.

    11. I can’t believe this is turning into a Hamilton praise fest. Firstly, his car is faster than anyone he passed by a wide margin. He passed all of his opponents on the main straight.
      More importantly, how is Mercedes getting off so easily for cheating? This is not a minor infraction. This would have had serious implications on the WDC and WCC. At the very least,Hamilton should be starting from the back of the grid tomorrow. More fitting, they should have disqualified him for the race and fined Mercedes a hefty sum.
      British favoritism at its pinnacle. Disgusting!

      1. His fans are the worst in sports. Worse than Boston Red Sox fans, amazingly.

        1. Yeah. I actually don’t mind Hamilton it’s his Dan’s that are generally nauseating.

          1. Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s a bit harsh on Dan’s around the world isn’t it ? :p

        2. The only thing worse are the haters claiming a guy who’s won a race every season he’s been in single seaters going back to 2003 can’t win without a vastly superior car.

          Those guys are the ones with the blinkers on.

          Fangio? Superior car. Ascari? Superior car. Senna? Superior car (MP4-4, for eff’s sake). Prost? Best car. Schumacher? Best car at least 6 of his 7 WDC’s. Alonso? Tuned mass damper. Button? Double diffuser. Vettel? Adrian Newey special.

          Yet Hamilton wins in a car that’s either best, or second best this season, and he’s a fraud.

      2. One side of his rear wing was 0.2 mm off. He wasn’t punished because he gained an illegal advantage, he was punished because he drove a car with an irregular part during sprint qualifying and thus had his track times deleted.

        Stop being so dramatic.

        1. OK…I’ve calmed down – didn’t realize it was only 0.2mm.
          Do you think Merc did it on purpose?
          If so, it seems silly if no advantage would be gained and hard to believe they wouldn’t have known it was out of spec.
          I hate cheating and distrust both Wolff and Horner!

          1. Yes. Absolutely. Mercedes deliberately damaged their right wing to make the car less stable going around left-hand corners, in such a way that the FIA would absolutely spot during scrutineering.

            Your hatred has led you to the dark side, and wild, inane speculation.

      3. People are free to praise who they want to. Why do other people’s happiness that bother you? If you have nothing good to say….

      4. Very true, he should be excluded from the race. And this now brings into question how many of hams empty championships have also included illegal cars! The Merc cars have been unreasonably quick over the last seven years and its not been down to their average drivers.

    12. I must say I was impressed such a recovery was possible in a sprint race, stuff like this happened before in a race, even just hamilton himself going from the pit lane to 4th in 2017 right here in brazil, he got stuck behind raikkonen, since tyres by then started dropping off right when he needed them the most, since it was the first ferrari to overtake, he only ended up like 6 seconds behind the lead, which was impressive, but a sprint race being 1\3, that’s unexpected.

      Agree most passes were very DRS reliant, only really with norris he took a good risk at the end of the straight, I guess this is a bonus point for sprint races: drivers try harder cause you aren’t in management mode.

    13. If that is not a display for the world to see of the kind of fire breathing Engine Lewis gets I don’t know what is.

    14. This just speaks about the bad idea that the sprint is.

      Nobody cares about risking too much. They care more about saving the engine to avoid further penalties, unless you have a new one…

    15. Everything is possible with a car seconds faster than everyone. Where are the days where drivers can win with a slower car.

    16. Drs needs to go, it only gives an advantage to average drivers in dominant cars.

      Ham wouldn’t even have gotten into the top ten without the easy pass button.

    17. If other sports had their equivalent of DRS it would be a farce? ..oh you’re 1-0 down? Ok.. When you get into a goal scoring opportunity we’re going to handcuff the opposition goalkeeper

      1. What would the equivalent of dirty air be in that case? Or you’ve missed all the times that has been a thing (including Perez just last race)?

        1. There isn’t one, it’s a straw man and misses the point.

    18. – Fastest car
      – One of the best drivers
      – Long straight
      – Highly effective DRS
      – New engine components

      Of course he was going to end up just behind his rivals.

    Comments are closed.