Sao Paulo, November 14: Lewis Hamilton has reason for optimism in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix despite starting from the 10th position.
The Mercedes driver roared up 15 places over just 24 laps in Saturday's sprint, finishing fifth after starting 20th following a DRS infringement in qualifying Friday (November 12).
A five-place grid penalty for taking a new engine will put him further behind front-row starters Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen in the main event but Hamilton's speed from the back Saturday should stand as a warning to his rivals.
"It's not over yet," Hamilton said over the radio after the sprint.
He later told reporters: "Really it was just the mental state of mind that I went into, which was just never give up, keep pushing, still I rise, you can do this.
"Because it was really difficult to swallow the result that we got [the penalty] but we won’t let that hold us back.
"Now I’ve got to start focusing on tomorrow. I’ll give it everything. It’s a much longer race tomorrow so hopefully we can get further."
Hamilton can also take solace in Verstappen finishing second to Bottas in the sprint after starting first following Hamilton's penalty.
While Bottas went with soft tyres, Verstappen opted for medium and had a gear sync issue that also hung him up, a double blow to the Red Bull driver's hopes.
"All-in-all that didn’t work out for me," Verstappen said of his Saturday setup. "Then of course, I dropped to third on the first lap but then after that, I mean the pace was fine but you can’t overtake around here.
"The tyres just very quickly overheat and you are stuck – especially when the cars are closely matched on pace: there’s not much you can do in the sprint without a pit stop. So, I just sat behind basically."
With significantly hotter conditions expected Sunday (November 14), Verstappen was not sure how that might change the setup.
"Yeah, let’s see," he said. "It’s going to be quite a bit warmer. I mean, today was also quite a late race, so hopefully that will be a bit better for us – but it’s a bit difficult to say at the moment."
Verstappen is 21 points clear of Hamilton in the standings as he bids to end Mercedes' seven-year drivers' championship monopoly and deny the Briton an eighth world title.