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Lewis Hamilton enjoys hard fought victory at Brazilian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton overcame a number of setbacks to claim victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix on Monday morning (AEDT).

He may already have had 100 wins heading into the weekend at Interlagos however he has hailed this latest victory as the greatest of his career after being penalised twice in the lead, once for a replacement engine and then for a DRS infringement.

The 36-year-old began the weekend with a clinical performance that saw him finish fifth in the sprint qualifying after starting at the back of the pack. His impressive display in the sprint had pushed him up into 10th for the race proper which meant that he still had plenty of do if he wanted to keep the pressure on Championship rival, Max Verstappen.

Verstappen was quick to take the lead after overtaking pole-taker Valtteri Bottas on turn one while Hamilton had worked himself into seventh by turn 10 on lap one. The rapid rise continued as he passed Sebastian Vettel for sixth and then overtook Carlos Sainz to move into fifth.

Sainz’s teammate, Charles Leclerc, was next on Hamilton’s hit list soon after. He waited in the wings behind Sergio Perez before pushing into second place after overtaking the Mexican on lap 19.

It was now between the two Championship rivals with Hamilton hot on Verstappen’s tail. The Dutchman managed to ward off Hamilton on lap 48 however nothing could be done when he passed him on lap 59.

From there, the race belonged to the Englishman who reached the chequered flag 10.5 seconds ahead of Verstappen with Bottas following in third.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: #44 Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, in action during the Grand Prix Sao Paulo of Formula 1 2021 at Interlagos autodrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 14, 2021. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Here is what Hamilton had to say after he endured one of the most challenging weekends in his Formula One career.

"I was pushing as hard as I could," an emotional Hamilton said after his 101st victory. "From last on the grid (for Saturday's sprint race), and then another five-place penalty — I think that's the hardest weekend I've had. Things kept going against us, but it just shows, never give up, keep fighting. Never, ever stop fighting."

Moving down the standings and it was Perez who just missed out on the podium but helped Red Bull’s cause for the Constructors’ Championship after he picked up the fastest-lap bonus point on the final lap.

Leclerc secured fifth ahead of teammate Sainz with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in seventh. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were in eighth and ninth while Lando Norris finished tenth for McLaren.

Meanwhile, it was a race to forget for Daniel Ricciardo, who was forced to retire due to an engine issue after 51 laps.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates with his team after winning Brazil's Formula One Sao Paulo Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, or Interlagos racetrack, in Sao Paulo, on November 14, 2021. (Photo by Antonin Vincent / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANTONIN VINCENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The unfortunate result ending a streak of 34 consecutive finishes for the Australian, bringing an end to the longest finishing streak on the grid.

Hamilton’s sixth victory of the season sees him shrink Verstappen’s lead to 14 points in the Drivers’ Championship.

The Brazilian GP concluded the Circuit of the Americas tour with the Formula One now heading to the Middle East with Qatar first up on November 21.

Driver Standings

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4 Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
5 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
6 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
7 Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
8 Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
9 Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
10 Lando Norris (McLaren)

See upcoming fixtures on the 2021 Formula One Calendar