Lewis Hamilton has proven once more that he is a seven-time Formula One world champion for a reason, and that he can't be written off so easily. On Saturday at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Briton started the sprint race from all the way at the back of the grid and finished in an impressive fifth place.

Mercedes fans were devastated to find out that championship contender Hamilton was disqualified from Friday afternoon's qualifying session despite finishing in pole position. The rear wing of his Mercedes was found to have been in breach of DRS regulations after qualifying, and he was relegated to the back of the grid.

Despite the setback, Hamilton kept his head down and carved through the field throughout the sprint race. He managed to bring his Mercedes up from twentieth to fifth in just 24 laps, giving a preview of just what he can do over 71 laps at Interlagos on Sunday.

The sensational performance has kept Hamilton firmly in the fight against current championship leader Max Verstappen, who finished second just behind the other Mercedes driven by Valtteri Bottas.

Incidentally, Hamilton will have another five-place grid penalty for the main race due to an engine change, but his performance on Saturday showed that he can still challenge for the top spot when it matters most.

Verstappen now leads by 21 points, but that can easily be turned around in just a single race. The Red Bull driver will aim to extend his lead, but Hamilton will be doing his best to limit the damage even if he is starting in the middle of the pack.

The reigning world champion cut through the field like a hot knife through butter, and it remains to be seen how much he can do over a longer distance on Sunday. Meanwhile, Bottas will do his best to keep the top spot away from Verstappen and avoid a repeat of last week's debacle in the opening lap where Verstappen overtook him for the lead. Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, who will start from fourth behind Carlos Sainz, will also be working hard to fend off an attack from Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton
Out of my way: Lewis Hamilton powers his Mercedes from the back of the grid to fifth in the sprint race AFP / CARL DE SOUZA