While discussing his early-race crash with Max Verstappen, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton stated Mercedes’ one-two finish in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix is a “huge boost” to their ambitions of returning to the championship battle in 2023.
Hamilton came in second behind teammate George Russell in Brazil, where Russell, at age 24, won his maiden Grand Prix and Mercedes’ first victory of the year. A week before the race at Interlagos, the seven-time champion was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Brazil, capping off what he called a “dream” week in Sao Paulo.
This is everyone’s dream come true, and it’s been a wonderful day, weekend, and week overall. There have been so many incredible things that have happened since Monday. Honestly, I believe that everyone involved deserves this fantastic outcome.
According to Hamilton, “this is a tremendous lift to the entire squad’s morale — moving into the winter, the team knows that we are on the right road.”
And we’re still the greatest team, and we’ll have this again next year, and I can’t wait for that rematch to heat up again.
After crashing with Max Verstappen during the early Safety Car restart that also included Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc, Hamilton was concerned that his race was finished. Both Norris and Verstappen received 5-second penalties for their actions.
“In that split second, all I could think was, ‘I’m going to cost the team a one-two,’ because I felt something and the rear wasn’t feeling the same after that.
The only thing on my mind as I drove over the grass and onto the track was how I could go back to delivering the team that unbelievable outcome. How you fall is less important to me than how you get yourself back up. Saying, “I’m proud and tremendous congratulations to George,” Hamilton expressed his admiration for his friend.
The runner-up in today’s race said he was “absolutely OK” with facing Verstappen again in 2021 at the same circuit where he and Hamilton had a heated duel for victory in the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
He said, “At this point, I don’t believe I have any worries. It’s normal to feel like a target after you’ve achieved some level of success, but don’t take it personally. …there’s nothing here I haven’t faced before, so…