BRAZILIAN GP - RACE - RE-CAP & RESULTS
The Ferrari driver managed a safety car restart on the way to his fifth win of the season, finishing 2.762s ahead of Bottas.
Newly crowned champion Lewis Hamilton battled his way up through the order to take fourth after starting from the pit lane.
Vettel was already building up a gap to Bottas when a number of opening lap collisions bunched up the field again.
Kevin Magnussen collided with Stoffel Vandoorne and Daniel Ricciardo. Vandoorne and Magnussen both retired, though Ricciardo was able to continue after a pit stop.
A little later in the lap, Romain Grosjean had spun into Esteban Ocon at the start of the lap, causing the Force India to retire and leaving debris strewn over the start-finish straight. Grosjean was handed a 10-second penalty and two penalty points for the incident.
A poor restart from Bottas allowed Vettel to get away again. The Mercedes tried to stay on terms with the race leader, but there was no catching up. Bottas later tried to undercut Vettel in the pit stops, but Vettel came out just ahead of the silver Mercedes. He managed the distance back to second and Bottas was unable to challenge again.
Meanwhile, Hamilton was on the move again. The Brit was up into eighth in only a handful of laps and soon looking to find a way past Sergio Perez. The Force India tried to make the move hard for Hamilton, pushing him to the outside of turn one as Hamilton passed. Perez tried to fight back for a number of corners, but Hamilton eventually pulled away.
His next target was the battling Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The Mercedes flew past Alonso’s Honda powered McLaren, but passing Massa proved a little harder. A late move up the inside was enough to put him ahead of the Williams, though, and he set about closing the gap to Max Verstappen in fourth.
A number of backmarkers and a pitstop for fresh tyres meant catching Verstappen had to wait until the closing stages of the race. With less than 15 laps of the 71 lap race remaining, Hamilton was on Verstappen’s gearbox, trying to pressure the Red Bull into making a mistake. Verstappen held firm, but couldn’t stay ahead when Hamilton pulled a move around the outside of turn three to take fourth with just 12 laps remaining.
Five seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen, taking a podium after starting from the pit lane seemed like a realistic goal in the closing laps. Hamilton was in DRS range of Raikkonen when a small lock up meant he fell away from the Ferrari a little. Right up until the chequered flag, Hamilton searched for a way past Raikkonen, but Raikkonen kept the Ferrari ahead to take his third consecutive third place finish.
Ricciardo had an equally exciting climb up through the field after the early pit stop to take sixth, just behind team-mate Verstappen.
The Massa-Alonso battle continued throughout the race, albeit paused at various moments to allow front runners to pass. In the closing stages of the race, Alonso was right on the back of Massa but he couldn’t find a way through and, with Perez not too far behind, the Spaniard didn’t want to attempt anything too risky.
Even as the leaders took the chequered flag, Alonso was still all over the back of Massa, forcing the Brazilian to defend hard in front of his home crown. The Williams was sliding all over the track as it approached the finish line, but it was just enough for Massa to take seventh – best of the rest – at his home GP. It moves Massa ahead of team-mate Stroll in the drivers’ championship, and marks his best result since Bahrain early in the season.
Alonso also moved ahead of his team-mate in the championship. Eighth place and the four points that comes with it moves him ahead of Vandoorne and just four points behind Magnussen with one race remaining.
Perez took ninth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, and Pierre Gasly.
Brendon Hartley suffered another retirement when he was called into the pits midway through the race.
Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein finished 13th and 14th, ahead of Grosjean and Stroll, who spent the entire race battling to not finish last, often to the frustration of those trying to lap them. Stroll was forced to pit on the penultimate lap after a series of lock-ups caused a puncture.
1. Sebastian Vettel / Ferrari-Ferrari / Germany / + 25 Points
2. Valtteri Bottas / Mercedes-Mercedes / Finland / + 18 Points
3. Kimi Raikkonen / Ferrari-Ferrari / Finland / + 15 Points
4. Lewis Hamilton / Mercedes-Mercedes / Great Britain / + 12 Points
5. Max Verstappen / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Netherlands / + 10 Points
6. Daniel Ricciardo / Red Bull-TAG-Heuer / Australia / + 8 Points
7. Felipe Massa / Williams-Mercedes / Brazil / + 6 Points
8. Fernando Alonso / McLaren-Honda / Spain / + 4 Points
9. Sergio Perez / Force India-Mercedes / Mexico / + 2 Points
10. Nico Hulkenberg / Renault-Renault / Germany / + 1 Point
11. Carlos Sainz / Renault-Renault / Spain
12. Pierre Gasly / Toro Rosso-Renault / France
13. Marcus Ericsson / Sauber-Ferrari / Sweden
14. Pascal Wehrlein / Sauber-Ferrari / Germany
15. Romain Grosjean / Haas-Ferrari / France
16. Lance Stroll / Williams-Mercedes / Canada
RETIRED - Brendon Hartley / Toro Rosso-Renault / New Zealand / Engine
RETIRED - Stoffel Vandoorne / McLaren-Honda / Belgium / Collision
RETIRED - Kevin Magnussen / Haas-Ferrari / Denmark / Collision
RETIRED - Esteban Ocon / Force India-Mercedes / France / Collision
Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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