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Lewis Hamilton: I was quickest by a long way today

Hamilton: I was quickest by a long way today
By AutoSport

12/11/2017 at 19:30Updated 12/11/2017 at 21:53

Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton feels he was quickest "by a long way" in the Brazilian Grand Prix, as he fought his way through to fourth place from a pitlane start.

Having crashed in the first segment of qualifying on Saturday, Hamilton started from the pits and scythed his way through the pack in the opening stages of the race on soft tyres.

Hamilton had a spell in the lead after the majority of the field, running on super-softs, pit earlier than him, and was fifth when he eventually stopped to switch to super-soft tyres.

He picked off the Red Bull of Max Verstappen before catching Kimi Raikkonen, and spent the final fews laps within DRS range but unable to pass the Ferrari.

"I was quickest all weekend, I probably would have been on pole, and pole to finish [first], but this made it a more enjoyable race for sure," Hamilton told NBC.

"I was quicker than everyone today by a long way. That's the real positive to take from it.

"I had good pace on the long runs on Friday, particularly on the soft, I think I was almost half a second quicker than everyone. And I had an old engine and a different aero package, so I had pace.

"But today I was 110% the whole way, I had to bring up a little bit extra. Kimi was right there, but my tyres just let go and I had nothing left."

Hamilton said having to battle through the field reminded him of his early days in karting.

"It was reminiscent of when I first started racing as a kid, we had not a great go-kart and we started from the back and had to make our way through to the front," he said.

"That's how it felt today, except obviously I had a good car and I was able to do something special with it."

Despite Hamilton ending up just 5.5 seconds adrift at the chequered flag, Sebastian Vettel - who won the race for Ferrari - did not feel the Briton was a threat for race victory.

Vettel reckoned that the tyre strategy Hamilton was on was advantageous but insisted "he wasn't really a threat, no".

"It's not the first time this year that a mirrored strategy has some advantages," Vettel added.

"It is not attractive starting in front, but it can be attractive starting from where he was. The track ramped up at the end so the super-soft was the faster tyre."