Hamilton wins as Verstappen gets hit by lapped car – Race Report

Brazilian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton has won the race at Interlagos, inheriting the win after race leader Max Verstappen was spun around by a lapped car halfway through the race.

Lewis Hamilton has claimed victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, leading home Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing after a tense battle throughout the race. Verstappen, starting from P5, quickly showed great race pace to overtake the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel & Kimi Raikkonen, before hunting down Valtteri Bottas to take P2.

Running a longer first stint of the race after Hamilton pitted to take on Mediums tyres and a long second stint to the flag, Verstappen was able to maintain good pace on his first set of tyres and, when he pitted at half distance to take on the Soft tyres, came out just three seconds behind Hamilton. He was quickly able to catch and pass the Mercedes driver, helped by his much fresher tyres, and proceeded to pull away at the front.

However, Verstappen’s charge to victory was halted when he lapped the Force India of Esteban Ocon. Passing the French driver into Turn 1, Ocon dived back up the inside of the race leader and collided with the Red Bull at the apex of Turn 2, pitching both of them on track. Verstappen lost the lead and suffered some bodywork damage, resuming the race 5.5 second behind Hamilton as a result of the spin.

From there, Hamilton was able to nurse his car home to the win, coming home just 1.4 seconds clear of Verstappen. Running his Medium tyres for 50 laps, he struggled with grip levels as well as worries over his power unit but came home the winner to help Mercedes wrap up the Constructor’s Championship over Ferrari. This was due to the red cars struggling for race pace throughout, moreso on Vettel’s side of the garage. Vettel struggled throughout, losing position to Raikkonen early in the race due to an error and, later, told to yield position to Kimi as the Finn appeared to have a better handle on his Ferrari. This proved crucial, as Raikkonen had to fend off the attentions of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull right at the end of the race. Ricciardo ran a much longer first stint compared to the other frontrunners, taking on his set of Softs just after half distance, meaning he was able to come back very strongly towards the end of the race, passing Vettel & Bottas on track before chasing after Raikkonen.

With Raikkonen claiming P3, he finished just ahead of Ricciardo, who ended up 17 seconds clear of Bottas & Vettel, who both pitted for a second time in the closing stages to take on fresh tyres. Charles Leclerc finished P7 for Sauber, having also run a very long first stint of the race before swapping to the Softs. Romain Grosjean was P8 for Haas, ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen, helping Haas close the points gap to Renault for P4 in the championship. Sergio Perez was last of the points scorers, claiming P10 for Force India.

Outside the top ten, Brendon Hartley finished P11 for Toro Rosso, ahead of Carlos Sainz’ Renault. Stoffel Vandoorne was P13 for McLaren, having put in some great overtakes in the second half of the race, including some combative racing with teammate Fernando Alonso. Alonso eventually finished P16, with the two McLarens split by Force India’s Esteban Ocon who was given a ten second stop/go penalty for taking Verstappen out of the lead.

The two Williams of Sergey Sirotkin & Lance Stroll finished P17 & P18 respectively as last of the classified runners. Nico Hulkenberg retired his Renault due to skyrocketing engine temperatures, while Marcus Ericsson also retired due to excessive damage after several contacts with other cars.

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. https://www.patreon.com/thomasmaheronf1

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