Lewis Hamilton reveals the best race from his entire F1 career

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton celebrates with a Brazilian flag on the podium. Interlagos November 2021.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates with a Brazilian flag on the podium after winning the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2021.

Lewis Hamilton has selected his last-to-first weekend at Interlagos in 2021 as being his “best race ever” in his Formula 1 career.

It was a rollercoaster weekend for Hamilton as he fought back from being disqualified from qualifying to winning the race in one of the most dramatic rounds of a memorable season, in which he fought tooth-and-nail with Max Verstappen for the World Championship.

A technical infringement on his Mercedes, whereby the rear wing opened 0.02mm too far, saw Hamilton relegated to the back of the grid for Saturday’s sprint after he had qualified on pole, and while he recovered to fifth, a further five-place drop saw him start Sunday’s race from 10th.

He fought through the pack and set up a thrilling battle with Verstappen as the race progressed, the two almost making contact on multiple occasions and running off the road as the Red Bull driver sought to defend his lead, but it was ultimately Hamilton who prevailed on the day to take a crucial win as he looked to close the gap in the Drivers’ standings.

But beyond the elation at winning was a wider-reaching implication for the Mercedes driver, who has since been made an honorary Brazilian citizen.

Mercedes released a video in which the seven-time World Champion was looking at different photos of his 10 years spent with the team, and he picked up a picture of himself on the top step of the podium at Interlagos after overcoming Verstappen in 2021 while draped in the Brazilian flag and explained why that particular weekend meant so much to him.

“I think for sure my best race ever, and probably the most special race of my career,” Hamilton said.

“I was so proud to hold this flag on the podium because I had watched the news through the pandemic, I’d seen the horrific stories and felt so much pain for so many people around the world that were losing people to the Coronavirus, and obviously Brazil had lost I think it was over half a million people through that pandemic, through neglect from certain individuals and you could just tell there was so much pain within the country, and growing up I always loved Ayrton Senna so I’d watch him when he was carrying that flag.

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“Anyways, I qualified pole and I got disqualified for a wing that was 0.02 millimetres out, something crazy like that, and I remember in that moment for me, my heart just sunk because I knew that I had to win every race.

“I remember in that moment, I thought: ‘It’s over, I can’t win this World Championship’, and just with all the work that we had done through the year, I just felt so deflated and so powerless.

“And somehow, it’s been something that I’ve been able to do my whole career really, somehow is to like, ‘move on, I know we’re going to get there, there’s nothing you can do about the past, you move forwards, we can do this.’

“I just stayed in the evening and just put it aside, I did all the studying and I came back the next day and drove from last to first.

“I saw one of the marshals holding the flag and I stopped and grabbed it, and that was just one of the most special moments – and when I held the flag up on the podium, it really just signalled to everyone within Brazil that I acknowledge you, I appreciate you, I appreciate Ayrton and love Ayrton, I always have since I was a kid.

“I was hoping that I would lift up the nation in some way even though I wasn’t Brazilian, but now I am Brazilian.”