Lewis Hamilton has a podium within his grasp in Sunday's São Paulo Grand Prix after a stunning sprint drive that saw him climb 15 places from the back of the grid.
Max Verstappen, though, is still set to increase his points lead over Hamilton as the Red Bull driver claimed second behind sprint winner Valtteri Bottas who will start from pole position at Interlagos
With two points for second place, Verstappen has now opened up a 21-point cushion over Hamilton who managed to climb to fifth at the end of the 24 laps in the wake of his disqualification from qualifying for a technical infringement with his Mercedes.
Hamilton, however, carries a five-place penalty into Sunday's race after the latest change of the internal combustion engine, which means the seven-time champion will start from 10th.
Verstappen will be looking to make it 20 F1 wins which would see him open up a lead of potentially 30 points with only 78 to play for from the final three races in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
But following this performance from Hamilton, he will believe he can win the grand prix.
The fascinating aspect of this sprint was the split in tyre choice across the 20 drivers, with 11 on the mediums - Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi, George Russell and Hamilton. The other nine were on the softs.
The softs were clearly the right rubber for the start off as from second and fifth on the grid, Bottas powered into the lead before Ferrari's Carlos Sainz nabbed second into turn four to drop Verstappen to third.
Verstappen, though, managed to reclaim second from Sainz on lap four but despite often getting to within a second of Bottas over the second half of the race, the Dutch driver was unable to make a move to claim the win.
As for Hamilton, he remarkably made up four positions before the first corner before moves on AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, Aston Martin's Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi in his Alfa Romeo elevated him up to 12th after just six laps.
The seven-time champion took two laps to clear Alpine's Alonso before becoming stuck in a DRS train behind Ricciardo in his McLaren until pulling off a superb move around the outside on the Australian along the main straight at the start of lap 13.
A similar move on Vettel followed going into lap 15 before quickly clearing Esteban Ocon in his Alpine a lap later and then AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly on the following lap saw him move up to seventh.
Hamilton soon made short work of a three-second gap to Leclerc to pass the Ferrari driver under braking into turn four, and then going into the final lap, he delivered the move of the race with a diving lunge into the first corner on McLaren's Norris.
Hamilton's drive was such that he finished just two seconds behind third-placed Sainz and a second adrift of fourth-placed Perez in his Red Bull.
With Hamilton's grid drop, Norris will start fifth followed by Leclerc, Gasly, Ocon and Vettel, with Ricciardo 11th.
Alonso will start 12th ahead of Giovinazzi, Stroll, Tsunoda, Williams duo Latifi and Russell, followed by Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen, who collided with team-mate Giovinazzi early on, with Haas duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin on the back row.