Hamilton wins as leader is spun outposted in F111 | 11 | 2018

    NEWLY-CROWNED WORLD CHAMP Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix. But the Mercedes driver inherited the victory only after dominant leader Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was pitched into a spin when leading. (Related: Hamilton world champ as Verstappen wins race)

    The Dutchman was comfortably ahead of Hamilton in the closing laps when he was taken out of the race lead while lapping Esteban Ocon. The Force India driver inexplicably tried to Dunlap himself immediately the Red Bull driver had passed him. (Related: Raikkonen wins USGP as Hamilton forced to wait)

    But the contact pitched Verstappen’s Red Bull into a wild spin, allowing Hamilton to cruise past and hold on to record his 10th win of the season, and 72nd of his career. It was also his 50th win of the hybrid era, which means that he has won more than 50% of the 99 races since 2014

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    And despite the Brit being forced to manage engine and tyre concerns over the closing laps, Hamilton’s victory also sealed  the constructors' championship for Mercedes.

    Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of a mistake from team-mate Sebastian Vettel early in the race, and then capitalised on Valtteri Bottas's challenge fading to complete the podium.

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    At the start, Hamilton maintained his lead from pole position as Bottas jumped Vettel for second place. Behind them Verstappen, who started fifth, made short work of the two Ferraris by passing them both on successive laps into the first corner. The Red Bull then eased into second when he cleared the Mercedes of Bottas on lap 10 when the Finn inexplicably failed to close the door properly into Turn 1.

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    Hamilton pitted on lap 19, one lap after his team-mate, with Verstappen continuing until lap 36. The Dutchman emerged behind the lead Mercedes when he rejoined the race.

    However, by running longer into the race, Verstappen was able to  switch to softs and with much fresher and faster tyres, he cruised up to the back of Hamilton. With 31 laps remaining, the Red Bull blasted past the Mercedes on the start-finish straight.

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    At this stage, Hamilton and Mercedes were protecting his engine, and the win looked a slam-dunk for Verstappen. But all that was to change four laps later through the opening two corners with the irrational actions of Ocon.

    The leader eased passed the Force India to put Ocon a lap down. But Verstappen’s former karting and Formula 3 rival clearly wasn’t happy. Icon fought back into Turn 1 to the outside of the Red Bull then held firm as track went back to the right. Bizarrely Ocon didn’t lift and as Verstappen turned in the inevitable contact spun both cars.  The Red Bull was left with floor damage, and he was lucky to only lose a place to Hamilton.

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    Despite closing what had been a five-second gap to Hamilton, Verstappen had to content himself with second. Raikkonen took third having passed Bottas into Turn 1 just as Verstappen was being taken out.

    Daniel Ricciardo brought the second Red Bull home in fourth, after passing Bottas as well. The manoeuvre prompted the Finn, who was complaining about blistering on his tyres, to make a second stop. The Finn held on to fifth, one place ahead of Vettel.

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    Charles Leclerc took seventh for Sauber, after dominating the best-of-the-rest fight, ahead of the two Haas of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, with the Force India of Sergio Perez completing the top 10.

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    F1 — Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos (Result):

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 71 laps


    2. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 1.469s


    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari + 4.764s


    4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing + 5.193s


    5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport + 22.943s

    
6. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari + 26.997s

    
7. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team + 44.199s


    8. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team + 51.230s


    9. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team + 52.857s


    10. Sergio Perez MEX Racing Point Force India F1 Team + 1 lap


    11. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap


    12. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team + 1 lap

    
13. Pierre Gasly FRA Red  Bull Toro Rosso Honda + 1 lap


    14. Esteban Ocon FRA Racing Point Force India F1 Team + 1 lap

    15. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team + 1 lap


    16. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing + 2 laps


    17. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team + 2 laps


    18. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing + 2 laps

    
Did Not Finish:

    Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team 32 laps

    
Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team 20 laps

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    Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell bags third in Euro GT3 Silver Cup

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    Jim McGill

    Photographs copyright of Mercedes-Benz AMG F1

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