Lewis Hamilton's result 'the best fourth place I've seen' - Toto Wolff
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described Lewis Hamilton’s drive at the Brazilian Grand Prix as “the best fourth place I’ve seen”, following his recovery from the pit lane.
Hamilton led the way during Friday practice at Interlagos, and placed a close second to team-mate Valtteri Bottas on Saturday morning, but crashed out of Q1 on his first timed effort.
Mercedes opted to change several components on Hamilton’s W08, taking his car out of parc ferme conditions, and equipped him with a fresh engine, meaning he started from the pit lane.
Hamilton ran a Soft / Supersoft strategy, working his way up the order, and inherited the lead when his rivals made their respective stops, before filtering back into the pack in fifth position.
Hamilton overhauled Red Bull rival Max Verstappen to place fourth, having caught Kimi Räikkönen late on, but been unable to pass.
“For me it was the best fourth place I've ever seen," said Wolff.
"If you consider starting from the pit lane, to end up 5.4 seconds behind the leader is quite astonishing.
“When we discussed the race in the morning, we thought fourth would be a realistic target.
“We had the Safety Car, which helped us a little bit, but the gap to the Ferraris was so close to have achieved much more.
“The win would have been possible [without the qualifying crash] as Lewis was the quickest guy out there.
“But, you have to remember Sebastian was managing the pace at every moment of the race, apart from the last laps. So, we probably haven't seen the real race.”