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Hamilton: Battling through F1 field "a thousand times" more enjoyable than easy win

Lewis Hamilton says he enjoyed his charge from 19th to fifth in the Formula 1 Italian GP, stressing that such drives can be more satisfying than winning from the front.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

After starting from the back due to an engine penalty, Hamilton had a frustrating first lap in Monza and was still 19th at the end of it.

However, he worked his way up the order and was hoping to challenge Carlos Sainz for fourth when the late safety car neutralised the race.

Hamilton made it clear after the flag that he had enjoyed his afternoon.

"It's a thousand times more enjoyable, battling with people," he said. "When I started my first go-kart was like an old kart, it was all bent and buckled, and we always had to start at the back, with old tyres. And that's what I've always enjoyed doing.

"And so starting today, just having those battles is way more fun than starting first and pulling away. It's a different challenge. But I much prefer the battling with people.

"When you when you win it's something completely different, and you feel proud for everybody. I love the idea of moving forward. So today I felt like I climbed up a ladder. Progress is a good thing."

Hamilton picked up some damage to a front wheel "eyebrow" on the first lap.

"I didn't touch with anybody, I don't think," he said. "But I saw some bits flying off other people's cars hit mine. And I think that damage the front flap over the tyre. Those things I don't even know what they're for. But it was flapping, that was damaged. They get in the way of your view, that's all!"

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Hamilton admitted to some frustration that the safety car meant that he couldn't challenge Sainz at the end, although he conceded that the Ferrari driver would have a tyre advantage.

"The soft was starting to fall off a little bit, and I think they stopped so they had new tyres, so I probably wouldn't have been able to get past him. But still, I really enjoyed the battle with everyone, slowly working away with this car. It was definitely a challenge from the beginning.

"Naturally just as a racer, you just want more time, I wanted to be able to challenge the Ferrari ahead of me and see if I could get another position.

"But I think in hindsight it was probably a good ending. I'm just really grateful to have come back from the last row."

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Hamilton had no regrets about not making a tyre change when the safety car first emerged: "My tyres didn't feel bad. I felt like I could keep temperature in them. And I didn't want to give up.

"They said there's two people in my pit window. So if I pitted, I would come out behind two people. And I didn't want to risk it. So I just stayed out. This time it went my way. It's like gambling on roulette, like black or red."

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