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Lewis Hamilton explains why Brazilian GP feels like a ‘home’ race for the Brit

Lewis Hamilton won his first F1 world title at Interlagos

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has reflected on his long love affair with Brazil ahead of the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, and explained why the race feels like another home outing for the Briton.

Hamilton, who became an honorary citizen of Brazil in 2022, is likely to enjoy the baulk of the crowd’s support on Sunday at a circuit – Interlagos – which contains plenty of happy memories.

In 2008, Hamilton broke Brazilian hearts by pipping Felipe Massa to the world championship on the last lap, whilst in 2021, he produced one of his greatest drives to beat Max Verstappen after a gripping race-long battle.

“It’s always been a special race for me, I won my first world championship here,” Hamilton told the press ahead of the 2023 Brazilian GP. “It was crazy back then because I felt [like] public enemy number one. 

“But the growth I’ve felt here and the reception I’ve had here, the amazing support. As a kid growing up at home, being a fan of football, I always loved the Brazilian colours.

“Then it was Ayrton Senna, a big hero for many of us. It’s such a beautiful culture, and the track is iconic they don’t build circuits like this anymore.

“So it’s a race I think all the drivers really love, it’s fun to drive a single lap [here], but the races are very strong here [with] good overtaking places as well.”

Max Verstappen pushes Lewis Hamilton wide at the 2021 Brazilian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Relishing close fight between Ferrari

Mercedes and Ferrari are currently separated by 22 points in their battle for second in the constructors’ championship, and being the final Sprint Race of 2023, the Brazilian GP will be a crucial weekend for both teams.

Hamilton is also searching for his first victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabia GP, finishing second three times, but has yet to stand on the top step of the rostrum in 2023.

The seven-time world champion had been a contender for victory in the 2022 Brazilian GP, but contact with Verstappen on Lap 7 damaged his Mercedes, forcing him to settle for second behind teammate George Russell.

“It’s a really fun, enjoyable battle we’re having, these guys did a great job in qualifying during the last race, but fortunately, we were able to leapfrog them,” added Hamilton.

“I think it’s going to be close in these last three races. So it’s going to just take all hands on deck to stop these guys.

“I expect the Red Bull to be very fast, as always seems to work pretty much everywhere except for Singapore. and we expect the Ferraris to be quick. 

“I hope our car works well here as it did in Austin, but you could [just never predict] it could be bad, it could be good, so we’re just trying to prepare the best way we can.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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