Lewis Hamilton cherishing first Brazilian GP victory

Lewis Hamilton is pictured on the podium after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of title rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 13, 2016. (Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton did what he needed to do in Brazil by winning the race in great style – but Nico Rosberg’s second place means that the German retains a comfortable 12-point lead heading into the Abu Dhabi finale.

Remarkably, it was Hamilton’s first win at Interlagos in 10 attempts since his debut in 2008, and he insisted that it was the smoothest he’d ever had at the venue.

“I just feel very grateful right now and just incredibly happy,” said Hamilton. “Of course this is a race I’ve been dreaming of winning since I was very, very young. Unfortunately, these experiences feel very surreal, and probably won’t really kick in until later, but after so many years of trying to win this Grand Prix, all the ups and downs, the emotion – its a hard Grand Prix to win, and today was one of the most difficult in terms of being wet, and aquaplaning and everything. Probably the most smooth-sailing race I’ve had here in 10 years.”

Hamilton admitted that he was confused by some of the decisions by race control.

“I mean, it’s understandable after the first red flag obviously because people were going off, and then the second one… once we went back out after that, the track was intermediate tires, but the Safety Car stayed out for ages. And then that went back in.

“And then I don’t really understand why the last one came out, but the track was the same pretty much throughout, apart from after the first Safety Car so it was kind-of a pointless need to have a Safety Car come out, we should have just kept going. But obviously safety comes first and they obviously felt that was the case. Fortunately, everyone’s safe, so it was obviously the right decision.”

Hamilton said he wasn’t distracted by the red flag breaks: “Well, honestly it wasn’t distracting at all. Just very focused at the beginning and managed to maintain that. Got to stop and have something to eat the second time. Fortunately, I just never had to step out of the zone, I was in the zone the whole time which was a positive. In those conditions, obviously it’s much easier to lose focus, particularly in those stops but fortunately I didn’t have that.”

Looking ahead to the title showdown, Hamilton said all he can do is go out and win the race again.

“I have to continue what I’m doing. Nico’s finished every single race this year apart, obviously, from Barcelona which we both didn’t finish, so he’s had fantastic reliability. So I think right now, as the way it’s going, it’s going to be very hard to beat him.

“That doesn’t mean I can’t win the race, so I’m going to take the energy I have now and the speed that I have which has been great this past few races and really try to push as hard as I can in that race to get as far ahead. That’s all I can do.”

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