And the seven-time world champion said he was confident Mercedes would be race winners again before too long.
Hamilton clashed with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap, which sent the Dane into the gravel and resulted in a puncture for the Mercedes man who limped back to the pits.
It left him 38-seconds behind the backmarkers but he clawed his way to fourth only to drop back a place when his team warned of overheating issues.
“A race like that is like a win and feels better most often than a win when you come from so far back,” he said in the aftermath. “I had to get through a lot of adversity in that race starting from so far back.”
Asked if he could win again in 2022 after a torrid start to the season, he said: “Yeah definitely. We have made a lot of improvements with the car, the race pace is much better. It is a great sign we are going in the right direction and that gives me great hope that at some stage we will be fighting for a win.”
Hamilton had suggested retiring from the race early on to save the engine only to be talked round over the team radio.
“I was thinking this is impossible to get back into the points but they said no I was on for eighth,” he said. “I thought we may as well save the engine so we can live to fight another day. Thank God we didn’t, that is why we never stop we never give up and that’s what I did.
Following a marked turnaround in performance by Mercedes, Russell said: “This is probably the start of our season. We’ve halved the gap to the frontrunners. We’ve now finally solved our issue.”