F1, Brazil GP: Lewis Hamilton does the unbelievable. The racer was given a 25 place grid penalty for sprint qualifying and had to start at the last. Despite that, he came out winning the Grand Prix with 10 seconds of margin in his hands.
The Mercedes driver bore down on Verstappen and despite being shoved wide at Turn 4 – the stewards noting but not investigating – on Lap 48, Hamilton didn’t give up, trying it again on Lap 58 only to meet a stubborn defense. A lap later came the winning pass with DRS on the run-up to Turn 4, this time Verstappen having no choice but to concede. Hamilton ended up 10.4 seconds up the road in first place at the flag, cutting Verstappen’s championship lead from 21 points to 14 points.
Valtteri Bottas had to pit during the safety car on lap 30 and another pit stop in lap 41 but finished 3rd ahead of Sergio Perez. Perez, who started 4th, came to 2nd place at the start of the race but lost the places to both the Mercedes. He managed to take the fastest lap off lewis Hamilton.
The Ferraris pulled off a two-stop strategy to see Charles Leclerc home in fifth and Carlos Sainz – who lost three places amid contact with Lando Norris (P10) at the start – in sixth. Pierre Gasly picked off the Alpines after pitting twice, his Lap 50 change to hard tyres helping him pass Esteban Ocon (P9) and Fernando Alonso (P8).
Lando Norris had a puncture in his tire in lap 1 but managed to get a point at last with the hard compound tire he used from lap 7. Sebastian Vettel missed out on the final point by a second to Norris ahead, and finished 11th having started P9, his Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll eventually retiring – as did McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Max Verstappen on finishing second:
“We tried everything we could,” he said. “I think it was a good battle, but at the end, we just missed a little bit of pace, but we gave it all today and it was a lot of fun. We had a good start, that was important to get ahead [of Bottas] and from then it was trying to manage my pace and then the Safety car and then the VSC for the debris.”
Sergio Perez on keeping Hamilton behind:
“It was important to try and keep him there, otherwise he would put pressure into Max straight away,” said Perez. “It was impressive the straight-line speed that they [Mercedes] have.
“Most of the time, I looked in my mirrors, he was so far away, and then I look at the end of the straight and he was right next to me. He [Hamilton] was just on another planet today.”
He added: “We were extremely unlucky with the VSC, unfortunately, that hurt and helped Mercedes to undercut with Bottas. We did the best we possibly could today. It is a bit of a shame, we should have finished ahead of Bottas.”
Hamilton after the win at Brazil GP:
“Firstly, I know, I think I feel what it was like for you here with all the support in 2007 with your amazing country,” said Lewis Hamilton to ex-F1 driver Felipe Massa.
“And yes, I’ve been saying ‘Obrigado, Brasil’ – I’m so, so grateful. What a race, the team did an amazing job, Valtteri did a great job today to get as many points as possible. I was pushing as hard as I could, but from last on the grid and again another five-place penalty, it was I think, the hardest weekend I have had.
“I mean, coming into this weekend, I never, ever thought that we’d be able to close the gap like we have today. And then these things just kept going against us. But I think it really shows, just for everyone, just never give up whatever you’re facing…
“It feels like the first because I don’t feel like I’ve had a win for a long time.”