'It's not over yet' vows fired-up Hamilton after storming drive from last to P5 in Brazil Sprint
Lewis Hamilton was dealt a body blow just before the F1 Sprint event in Sao Paulo when he was stripped of his P1 from qualifying on Friday for a technical infringement, relegating him to the very back of the grid for the 24-lap dash.
With his title rival Max Verstappen promoted to P1 for the Sprint, and with a five place grid penalty still to come for Hamilton in Sunday's race for an engine change, it seemed like a huge hit to his championship ambitions.
But once the lights went out Hamilton drove superbly, scything his way through the field to wind up P5 at the flag, which will mean a P10 start in Sunday's Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
"It's not over yet," he said over the radio on the cool down lap, as he made clear he intends to fight to the last in this fierce title battle. But did he have any idea he'd be able to make up so many places?
"I’m overwhelmed with it to be honest, I definitely wasn’t expecting that," he said afterwards.
"You never really know whether or not overtaking’s going to be possible on a track like this, but that long straight enabled us to progress faster and the car was really great."
The seven-time champ admitted the penalty was tough to take, but credited a determination to turn a negative into a positive for how he drove.
"Really it was just the mental state of mind that I went into, which was just never give up, keep pushing, still I rise, you can do this.
"Because it was really difficult to swallow the result that we got [the penalty] but we won’t let that hold us back.
"Now I’ve got to start focusing on tomorrow. I’ll give it everything. It’s a much longer race tomorrow so hopefully we can get further," he said as he looked ahead to Sunday's Grand Prix, when he'll try and claw his way up to the podium from P10, as he aims to chip away at Verstappen's 21 point championship lead.