World champion Lewis Hamilton relished a throwback to his formative years in karting after battling back from last place to finish fourth at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s crash during Saturday’s qualifying session hampered his hopes of victory in Sao Paulo, where Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won, yet he pushed Kimi Raikkonen all the way for a podium place with an audacious display of racing.
“It was fun. It felt reminiscent of my karting days when I always started at the back,” said the Englishman, who clinched the title at the last race in Mexico a fortnight ago.
“I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst possible position. Yesterday is behind me and today was positive. To get back to fourth, I have to be very grateful and be happy with that.”
Ferrari’s Vettel, Hamilton’s closest title rival, overtook his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the start and thereafter controlled the race.
Hamilton had climbed to sixth within 20 laps and was fifth when he returned from a solitary late pit-stop on lap 43.
He quickly made up an eight-second gap and passed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but Raikkonen kept his Ferrari in front by the slimmest of margins.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth behind team-mate Verstappen, with Felipe Massa of Williams seventh on home soil. The final race of the season takes place in Abu Dhabi on 26 November.