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- A minibus full of Mercedes team members was held up at gunpoint in São Paulo after Lewis Hamilton crashed out of qualification on Saturday.
- Shots were fired and one team member had a gun held to his head.
- The team shook off the ordeal to help guide Lewis Hamilton from the back of Sunday’s race pack to a fourth place finish.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team finished fourth in the Brazil Grand Prix on Sunday despite enduring a robbery at gunpoint the night before.
A minibus transporting Mercedes staff from the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo back to the team’s hotel was held up at 10 p.m on Saturday.
According to The Independent, “shots were fired” and one team member had a gun held to their head, while valuables were stolen. However, in a statement the team said all members emerged “safe and uninjured.”
Hamilton confirmed the incident in a tweet, shown below.
Some of my team were held up at gun point last night leaving the circuit here in Brazil. Gun shots fired, gun held at ones head. This is so upsetting to hear. Please say a prayer for my guys who are here as professionals today even if shaken.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 11, 2017
On the circuit, Mercedes also suffered problems. On Saturday, Hamilton lost control of his car during his first qualification lap and crashed into the tyre barrier at turn six.
The Briton secured permission from race stewards to start Sunday’s event, but had to start from the pitlane – the back of the pack – because Mercedes made gearbox changes to its car.
Regardless, Hamilton weaved through the field, overtaking rival after rival, to gain an extraordinary 16 positions.
He even raced ahead of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on Lap 59, and came close to landing an incredible podium finish.
Hamilton described the race as “fun,” according to a statement on the official Formula 1 website. “It felt reminiscent of my karting days when I’d always start at the back, particularly in my first year or two.”
He added: “I enjoyed the race, I enjoyed the battle, and hopefully that continues to show me but also everyone that I still have a lot of fire in my heart still. I’m still young at heart and I’ve still got many, many more races to go.”
Hamilton finished fourth, 5.468 seconds behind Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel.