Formula 1

From Hero to Countryman

From Hero to Countryman
Lewis Hamilton has often hailed his 2021 victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix as the greatest of his career. The British ace delivered an utterly stunning comeback to rise from 10th on the grid to win, beating his Formula One world championship rival, Max Verstappen, and, in so doing, rejuvenating his title challenge.

His epic weekend began when Hamilton proudly unveiled another helmet in tribute to his boyhood hero, Ayrton Senna, during Friday’s practice sessions.

Hamilton had also used his helmet colours to honour Senna’s memory in previous Brazilian GPs. His 2021 helmet featured a Brazilian flag on the top, Senna’s yellow and green on the back, a drawing of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, and six stars to note each of his F1 titles.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

Ayrton Senna was and continues to be a hero to millions of Brazilians. The three-time F1 champion not only raised his nation's flag on the global stage with mesmerising drives but also helped lift communities through his growing charity work. Senna's state funeral - one of the biggest in Brazil's history - demonstrated just how much he meant to the Brazilian people.

Senna also meant a lot to a young Lewis Hamilton growing up, with the Brit ace citing Senna as his inspiration throughout his career, often paying tribute to the Brazilian by sporting a yellow helmet.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

"If Ayrton had been able to continue, he would have won many more races and many more championships, so I think I'm going to be carrying the baton for both of us," said Hamilton in 2016. “I’ll be striving to win more for the both of us.”

Hamilton hinted there was also another comparison between the two - neither was afraid to stand up for what they felt was correct, even when it was only their voices that could be heard.

”My greatest inspiration was the way he raced, his passion for life and for the sport. But more than anything it was the way he faced alone a system that wasn’t always kind to him, reflected Hamilton. May Aryton Senna’s legacy live on forever, especially vibrant this weekend.”

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

What Lewis Hamilton didn’t realise was that his 2021 Brazilian weekend would test and retest his every talent.

After taking pole position on the Friday evening ahead of Saturday's Sprint, Hamilton was disqualified after scrutineers found his Mercedes rear wing flap 0.2mm more than the legal 85mm limit.

Hamilton would thus start from the back of the Sprint field, and to make matters worse, he would face an additional five-place grid penalty drop due to a new engine part from whatever position he could make up in the Sprint.

The Brit would claw his way back from dead last to P5 and, due to his prior engine penalty, start P10 in the Grand Prix. From there, he put in the drive of his life – and pulled off a memorable move on his title rival Verstappen to seal the victory in front of an ecstatic crowd at Interlagos.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

At the start, Hamilton shot forward, making up three places to seventh, taking another place off Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel at the end of Lap 1 for P6. And despite getting ahead of the Ferrari, McLaren’s Norris fell to the back with a puncture after contact with Sainz’s front-right tyre.

That enabled Hamilton to take P5 off the Spaniard into Turn 1 on Lap 3, as well as his teammate Charles Leclerc for P4 on the main straight one lap later. Hamilton was now just two seconds off teammate Bottas, who graciously let Hamilton through on Lap 5.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

Hamilton then took P2 off Perez in a duel that began on Lap 17 and culminated in a Lap 19 pass at Turn 4. The first stops took place around Lap 25, but the defining action built up to a terrific crescendo after Verstappen took a second stop on Lap 41, with Hamilton pitting on Lap 44.

The Mercedes driver bore down on Verstappen, and despite being shoved wide at Turn 4 – the stewards taking note but not investigating – on Lap 48. Hamilton didn't give up, trying it again on Lap 58 only to meet the Dutchman's stubborn defence.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

A lap later came Hamilton's "Senna-like" winning pass with DRS on the run up to Turn 4, this time Verstappen having no choice but to concede. Hamilton ended up 10.4 seconds up the road in first place at the flag, cutting Verstappen's championship lead from 21 to 14 points.

A marshal handed Hamilton the Brazilian flag as he celebrated victory on his cooldown lap.

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

Wrapping the flag around his shoulders, Hamilton brought it onto the podium, instantly recalling comparisons to Senna’s celebrations after winning the 1991 race. The delirious Brazilian fans chanted the names of both drivers during the ceremony.

As a result, not only did Hamilton's dedication of his 2021 Brazilian victory to the people of Brazil create an unbreakable bond, it ultimately led to a successful request to make Lewis Hamilton an honorary citizen of what the Brit described as "one of my favourite places".

© HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

Our newest Fine Art Print captures this symbolic moment of Hamilton waving the flag as he goes around the Interlagos on the winning lap, allowing you to own a piece of this historic race that had forever gone down in the Formula 1 history books.

It's a symbol of unity and respect, as Hamilton embraced the spirit of the nation and paid homage to his idol and local hero, Ayrton Senna.

© Automobilist

Follow the link below to discover more about the 'Obrigado Brasil' Fine Art Print.

Obrigado Brasil - Mercedes-AMG - Lewis Hamilton - Sao Paulo - 2021


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