SAO PAULO (AFP) – Lewis Hamilton admitted to mixed emotions on Sunday when he finished fourth at the Brazilian Grand Prix after starting from the pit lane.
The 32-year-old Briton, who clinched his fourth world title at the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago, stormed through the field in his Mercedes to lead the race for a period between the leaders’ pit stops.
But, in the end, he was unable to complete a remarkable drive by becoming only the third man to finish on the podium from a pit lane start as Kimi Rakkonen of Ferrari hung on to third.
His Ferrari team-mate four-time champion Sebastian Vettel won the race ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
“It was fun,” said Hamilton with a smile afterwards. “It was like my karting days when I was starting at the back.
“But I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst possible position. I know I was quick enough to win from pole position to the flag and I made the job a lot harder for myself.
“When I woke up this morning my goal was to redeem myself after my mistake, do the team proud and to get the points back. I tried for third, but I ran out of tyres in the end.
“But I think I continued to show that I’ve still got the fire in my heart and I’m young at heart and I have many more races in, ahead of me.”
Two drivers have managed to claim podium finishes from a pit lane start – Jarno Trulli for Toyota at the 2009 Australian Grand Prix and Vettel for Red Bull at the 2012 Abu Dhabi race.
“There is no room for mistakes when you want to be professional and to be the best, but it happens,” added Hamilton, of his crash in qualifying on Saturday.
“It is part of the growing progress and I have had a clean year with no crashes and I managed the car.”