Lewis Hamilton has had a rather disappointing season this year, but with the Brazilian Grand Prix just a few days away, the seven-time world champion has recalled one of the most pulsating moments from last year.
The Mercedes driver recalled the moment he told himself “I can’t let him do this again” during his intense battle with Max Verstappen at the Brazil Grand Prix last season.
While there was a lot more at stake on that occasion, Hamilton’s current season has seen him fail to win a single race while Verstappen has marched to his second successive world championship.
However, recent weeks have been encouraging for Hamilton, who has managed two second-place finishes in USA and Mexico, which will undoubtedly alleviate fears that he is past his prime.
The Silver Arrows racer has recalled the mental zone he was in last year during his epic battle with Verstappen in Brazil when the Dutchman was not willing to allow Hamilton past him.
“When I took second place from Sergio Perez, I saw Verstappen driving in the distance,” Hamilton recalled.
“I saw that I was getting closer and closer. I thought ‘is Max saving his tires, or is he just not that fast because I’m catching up’. Little by little I got closer. Red Bull had a crazy fast engine in 2021, certainly the fastest of them all.
“The first time I tried to overtake him, Max braked and went super, super deep. I would have made it into the corner if he hadn’t gone off the track. I had to pull myself together and I thought ‘I can’t let him do this again’.
“The second time I touched his tail, going into the first corner I pretended to attack. I made Max think I wanted to dive into the hole on the inside and he drove a defensive line.
“It made sure that his corner was sharper and I could take a nice, wide line and position myself much better into Turn 4. On the straight I catapulted myself past him and took the lead.
“Perhaps this was one of my best races ever, at least as far as I can remember. It was amazing and one of the races I’m most proud of, looking at the setbacks we endured that weekend. proves that you should never, ever give up.”
Hamilton hopes for ‘home’ support to tilt scales in his favour
Hamilton will be buoyed with a “home crowd” supporting him in Brazil after being made an honorary citizen of the country earlier this week.
“I’d like to say a big, big thank you to everyone here at the house, for all those who’ve moved mountains to make this day possible,” he said.
“It is honestly the greatest honour for me to be here receiving and accepting this citizenship. I really do feel like now I’m one of you, finally.
“When I arrived here in 2007 [Hamilton’s first F1 season], the love that’s grown, the experiences we’ve had and, particularly 2021 [his charge to victory], knowing you guys were cheering me on the way, it was one of the most special moments of my entire life. I can’t wait for us to continue to strive ahead.
“I really want to dedicate today, this honour, to Ayrton Senna – to Ayrton’s family, to his friends and to his fans. For me, when I was five years old, I saw Ayrton race for the first time, and that was the moment I knew that I wanted to be a world champion, just like him.”