Lewis Hamilton targets ‘dream’ win in Brazil as Mercedes lock out front row

Lewis Hamilton set himself the target of completing his “greatest dream” by winning Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

George Russell will start the penultimate race of the season from pole position after he claimed the first Formula One victory of his career in Saturday’s frenetic 24-lap dash in Interlagos.

But Hamilton joins his Mercedes team-mate on the front row after he drove from eighth to third, and then took advantage of second-placed Carlos Sainz’s grid penalty for an engine change.

Hamilton, who earlier this week became an honorary citizen of Brazil, was roared on by the Sao Paulo crowd as he charged through the field.

And the seven-time world champion said: “This has been a very humbling week for me.

“I have been so warmly welcomed. My parents have messaged me, and they are so grateful to everyone in Brazil for the love they have given their kid.

“For sure, it is the greatest dream to get a win here. But it will be tough to race George tomorrow. Hopefully we will have a bit of a battle and take a one-two for the team.”

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell embrace
Lewis Hamilton embraces team-mate George Russell (Andre Penner/AP)

Hamilton, 37, embraced Russell as the Mercedes pair celebrated their finest afternoon of a turbulent campaign.

Russell will be seeking to earn his first Grand Prix triumph on Sunday, while a victory for Hamilton would keep his unique record of winning a race in every season of his career alive.

But Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, whose decision to tackle Saturday’s sprint on the slower medium tyres backfired, will be hot on their heels.

The double world champion finished only fourth on Saturday, but is bumped up one place on the grid following Sainz’s sanction.

George Russell and Max Verstappen
Russell moved ahead of Max Verstappen on lap 15 to take the win (Nelson Almeida/AP)

“There definitely will not be any team orders between Lewis and I,” said Russell, 24. “We will be strategic to try and get that win for the team.

“We will race each other fairly, but I am sure we will split the strategies to try and cover all bases and hopefully one of us comes away happy.”

Hamilton added: “Getting a one-two, either way, I will be happy because of how hard everybody has worked.

“George has done an amazing job this year and he will be pushing for that win. But we will drive carefully and cleanly. Getting the result for the team has to be at the front of our minds.”