Lewis Hamilton believes had he not binned his Mercedes into the barriers in qualifying he had the pace to win the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton lost control of the car at Turn 6 on his first run, forcing him to start from the pitlane on Sunday following damage to the left-hand side of the Mercedes.

The four-time world champion fought his way through the field to finish fourth just five seconds off race winner Sebastian Vettel, earning him the ‘Driver of the Day’ accolade.

While Hamilton hailed his fightback as “fun”, the Briton reckons it was a missed opportunity for a 10th win of the season.

“It was fun, it felt reminiscent of my karting days, when we started at the back, particularly my first year or two,” said Hamilton.

“I think, on one side, I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst position.

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“I was quick enough to win this race from pole to the [chequered] flag and I didn’t do that, so I made the job a lot harder today.

“But waking up this morning, my goal was really to try to redeem myself for yesterday’s mistake and really do the team proud and try to get points back. I was trying to get up to third, but I just ran out of tyres at the end, but I enjoyed the race, I enjoyed the battle.

“Hopefully that continues to show me but also to show everyone that I still have a lot of fire in my heart, I’m still young at heart and still got many, many more races to go!”

Hamilton assured his accident on Saturday was behind him as he looks to finish the year on a high at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve had a very clean year with no crashes, then I damage the car,” he added.

“But as I said, yesterday’s behind me, today has been positive, to get back to fourth, I have to be very, very grateful and happy with that for sure.”

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