Lewis Hamilton felt victorious following the Spanish Grand Prix as he fought his way back from 19th to secure a fifth placed finish in Barcelona.
An opening lap collision with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen left Hamilton with a puncture which saw him slip towards the back of the field.
However, the former world champion’s fightback evoked memories of season’s gone by when he dominated the sport.
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"To have that problem and come back it felt like some of the older races I've done”, he said.
It feels amazing.
"I was thinking it was impossible to get back into points but the team said no you're on for eighth. I thought they were being super-optimistic”, Hamilton said.
Points of any kind are not to be sniffed at by Mercedes after their less than impressive start to the season saw them secure just two podium finishes in the run up to Barcelona. However, Hamilton’s Spanish recovery, along with George Russell finishing third, has given the team a more optimistic outlook.
Having encountered problems so early in the race, Hamilton admits they were close to pulling out altogether, but said, "I'm glad we didn't and it just shows you never stop and never give up and that's what I did.”
"A race like that is like a win, and it actually feels better than a win most often when you have come from so far back. If I hadn't had that (puncture), I would have been fighting with the Red Bulls", he said.
It was the Red Bulls who dominated, with reigning champion Max Verstappen taking his fourth win of the season to move ahead in the driver standings, while his teammate Sergio Perez crossed the line in second.
For Hamilton, though, he is getting an increased sense of progression within his team, saying, "We have made a lot of improvements with the car and the race pace is much better, the car is much nicer in the race, we have some improvements to make in qualifying.”
Mercedes did show off an upgrade to their car in Spain, with a redesigned floor seemingly taking away the main problem the team has encountered so far this season - porpoising. This is when the car bounces up and down as a result of an increase, then a sudden decrease, of downforce.
Team principal Toto Wolff was impressed with their performance throughout the weekend, and was happy to see Hamilton displaying form reminiscent of his previous title-winning seasons.
"Him showing this very good pace was important for not only his morale but also our morale”, he said.
"Who would have thought he would climb all the way to fourth before the problem and that looked like a World Championship-winning race car he was driving. That would have not been possible in the previous races.”
With the Monaco Grand Prix next up, Wolff is feeling confident of a continued upturn in the team’s, and Hamilton’s, performance, because of their relative success in Spain, saying “it reminded me of last year and the year before when the car and driver is really on the top of its game."
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