Brazilian Grand Prix: Verstappen’s Sao Paulo Redemption

Well it seems a long time since the discussions after the French Grand Prix doesn’t it, where all the talk was whether F1 is broken and what needs to be done. Since then, we have been treated to some incredible racing. And the Brazilian GP may have been one of the best of them.

At the start of the race Lewis Hamilton was immediately on the attack and he passed Sebastian Vettel round the outside of Turn 1. In the early laps we saw a lot of midfield action, whilst Charles Leclerc seized his way through the field after his engine penalty and before long was up to sixth place and catching Albon and Bottas.

Hamilton pitted first in an attempt to get an undercut on Max Verstappen. With the help of the Williams of Robert Kubica’s unsafe release, Hamilton got the undercut, But not for long as Verstappen managed to get back past.

The only driver from the top 6 on a one stop strategy was Charles Leclerc who had started on mediums. After everyone else had completed their second stop he was in fourth being hounded by Valtteri Bottas. But the Mercedes couldn’t get past the Ferrari despite the fresher tyres. But it would get worse for the Mercedes as an oil leak forced him to park on the side of the track.

It looked like his stopped car could be cleared under double waved yellows. But issues moving it out of the confines of the circuit meant the safety car was needed. Verstappen and Leclerc took the opportunity to fit new tyres. Verstappen dropped behind Hamilton but didn’t beat about the bush on the restart as he passed the Mercedes immediately round the outside. Whilst behind Alexander Albon made a similar move on Vettel.

Vettel then fell under pressure from his teammate Leclerc, who made a bold pass stick at Turn 1. Vettel came back with DRS but contact was made, putting both out of the race.

Hamilton pitted under the safety car. This dropped him down to fourth, behind Albon and Pierre Gasly, who had been quietly making his way up the field. He immediately dispatched off Gasly but a lunge on Albon at Bico do Pato ended with the Red Bull facing the wrong way.

Max Verstappen crossed the line to win the race, ahead of Pierre Gasly, who took an emotional first podium in Formula One for Toro Rosso. He just outdragged Lewis Hamilton on the line. However Lewis was hit with a 5 second time penalty which drops him to seventh. This promoted Carlos Sainz, who pulled off an incredible drive from last on the grid to take his first ever podium and McLaren’s first since Australia 2014.

It was a solid result for Alfa Romeo, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing fourth and Antonio Giovinazzi finishing fifth. Daniel Ricciardo finished in sixth ahead of a penalised Lewis Hamilton. Lando Norris was disappointed not to match his team-mate, whilst Racing Point were disappointed not to maximise the opportunity, with Sergio Perez finishing in ninth and Lance Stroll retiring as a result of the debris from the Ferrari collision. Whilst Daniil Kvyat takes the final point in tenth.

Here is the official result of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
  3. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
  4. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
  5. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
  6. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
  8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  9. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
  10. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
  11. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  12. George Russell (Williams)
  13. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
  14. Alexander Albon (Red Bull)
  15. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
  16. Robert Kubica (Williams)

R. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) Collision
R. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) Collision
R. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) Damage)
R. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) Oil Leak

*= 5 second time penalty

In the drivers standings, Max Verstappen now moves up to third in the standings and looks likely to finish there. Whilst Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz are now equal sixth. In the constructors, it is Toro Rosso who make big gains, as they move ahead of Racing Point and are now just 8 behind Renault.

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