Hamilton wins Brazil Grand Prix
Britain’s five-time world Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday won the Brazilian Grand Prix, the second-to-last race of the 2018 F1 season.
It was Mercedes’ fifth consecutive constructors’ title.
Hamilton, who clinched his fifth F1 drivers’ title two weeks ago at the Mexican GP, on Saturday had snagged his 10th top spot of the season on the grid at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit.
It was the 33-year-old Briton’s 72nd F1 victory, as he came in with the winning time of 1:27:09.066, 1.469 seconds ahead of Holland’s Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and 4.764 seconds ahead of Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) for the constructors’ title and put Mercedes 67 points ahead of Ferrari, at 620 to 553.
Hamilton had started in the coveted pole position but Verstappen led the race until he collided with France’s Esteban Ocon (Force India) on the 44th lap and went into a spin, thus allowing the Briton to get out in front.
Although Verstappen pushed hard to regain the lead, he could not do better than inch within 1.469 seconds of Hamilton.
It was the Brit’s first-ever win in a season where he had taken the title before the final race.
Raikkonnen refused to give ground in the 71-lap contest to Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) during the final stretch, to come in third, while the Aussie was fourth, ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, another Finn.
Although Ocon was judged to have caused - and was penalized for - the collision with Verstappen, the Dutchman confronted him after the race and shoved him on television.
“You do everything well, you go through the field, we had a great car and then by such an idiot you get taken out while he’s being lapped. I have no words,” complained Verstappen.
“You can easily say afterwards that I have much more to lose than him but I’m just trying to do my race. Suddenly, a backmarker is trying to race you and taking a stupid risk to dive inside. What can I do about it?” he fumed.
This season’s last race - the 21st - will be in Abu Dhabi two weeks from now, with 43 points available on that circuit.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) - who secured two world titles on this circuit in 2005 and 2006 - finished 12th and 17th, respectively.
It was Alonso’s last-ever race at Interlagos, since next year he will no longer remain in the proper category to compete, and although he had never won on the circuit, he had been on the podium eight times.
“Brazil has always been a happy place for me,” he said moments after climbing out of his vehicle after the race.
His 2005 world Formula One title was the first by a Spaniard and he was the youngest driver ever to become champion.