Lewis Hamilton reveals inspiration behind Spanish Grand Prix comeback

An early collision dropped Hamilton to 19th but the Mercedes driver battled back to record a top-five finish

<p>Lewis Hamilton fought back to finish fifth in Barcelona </p>

Lewis Hamilton fought back to finish fifth in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that a conversation with a young, terminally ill fan inspired his remarkable fightback at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Having been forced to pit after an early collision with Kevin Magnussen, the Mercedes driver dropped to 19th, more than half-a-minute behind the pack.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton stirred, however, producing a superb drive to work his way up through the field to be running fourth late on.

While a late problem with his car forced him to relinquish a place to Carlos Sainz, it was the best performance of the season so far from Hamilton, with his Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, declaring it reminiscent of his championship winning showings of recent years.

Hamilton himself admitted that the drive was perhaps even more satisfying than some of his 103 career race wins, and said that he wished to dedicate it to the young fan that had inspired him during the weekend in Barcelona.

“One hundred per cent!” Hamilton said when asked if it felt a more fulfilling drive than some of his previous victories.

“A race like that is like a win and feels better, most often, than a win when you have come from so far back. Ultimately, there was a lot of adversity coming from so far back.

“There was a young girl that I spoke to [on Saturday] who was my inspiration. Isla, a five-year-old that is terminally ill and she said ‘Will you win the race for me?’

“I said ‘I don’t know if we will win, but I will give it everything’. So hopefully for me, that was a bit like a win and I would like to dedicate it to her.”

George Russell, Hamilton’s teammate, continued his run of top-five finishes to start the 2022 F1 season with a podium place in Spain, behind only Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, who secured a Red Bull one-two.

Mercedes have battled significant performance problems at the opening races of the season, with porpoising persistently troublesome, but there were signs in Barcelona of something resembling the form that has allowed the German team to dominate the Constructors’ Championship in recent years.

Wolff believes his team may yet be able to force their way into the title fight, which had appeared to be likely to be contested by Red Bull and Ferrari, even if the odds remain against Mercedes.

“I‘ve seen a race car today that reminded me of the race cars of previous seasons where you are 30-plus seconds behind the whole field, and you come all the way to the front near the podium,” Wolff said after the conclusion of the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“That is very encouraging and shows we have made another step.

“Can we fight for a world championship? Well, we bet we can but we just need to have a car that is capable of finishing first and second.

“We have reasons to believe we can get there but if you look at the odds they are against that.

“But motor racing is a different ball game. We saw today Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points, although they should.

“We are absolutely pushing flat out in order to bring us back into the game.”

The next stop on the F1 calendar is in Monaco, where Hamilton has won thrice previously.

Verstappen, winner last year on the Monte Carlo streets, now leads the Drivers’ Championship standings by six points from Charles Leclerc, who failed to finish in Barcelona.

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