Sebastian Vettel has taken has taken his fifth victory of the season after holding of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to allow him to take a third victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German who lost this year’s title to Lewis Hamilton looked in great form passing Bottas into turn one and used a strategy which saw him retain the lead through the pit stop window. That was despite Bottas trying to use the undercut to try and pass the Ferrari.
Having seen his title hopes collapse since September it was a reminder of what Vettel and Ferrari can do. Vettel sailed to victory not coming under pressure from Bottas behind.
Bottas finished almost three seconds behind Vettel who took his first win since the Hungarian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen held off Mercedes Lewis Hamilton to take third, it was a great recovery by the four times champion who started from the pit lane.
Vettel said “Initially, I had a very good getaway and then I had a bit of wheel spin and I thought I had missed my chance, but then he seemed to struggle more, so I had a chance to squeeze down the inside.
“I think I surprised him a bit. After that and the safety car, it was 68 laps flat out. I just tried to build a gap and control the race. It was tight. I think we all had more or less the same pace. It was difficult to leave the pack.”
Hamilton chose to do a forty three-lap stint on the soft tyre as he made his way through the field. He pulled a brilliant move on Max Verstappen for fifth in the closing stages, and then set about closing down Kimi Raikkonen. However could not make the move on the Finn.
Hamilton said “I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst position. I was quick enough to win this race. Waking up this morning, my goal was to redeem myself and do the team proud.”
“I tried to get up to third but I ran out of tyres at the end. I hope that shows to everyone I still have fire in my heart and still have a long time to go.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who recovered from fourteenth to finished sixth. After the disappointment of last years race, Felipe Massa finished seventh beating his former teammate Fernando Alonso in his final home race.
The two former teammates cross the line with less than a second between them. The Spaniard applauded Massa as the Brazilian returned to the pits and his eighth-place finish moving him above McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne in the standings.
Sergio Perez was unable to mount a move on Alonso in the closing stages taking ninth.
It was emotional for Massa, who said on the podium “I am really emotional today because of all you guys. Thank you very much for all the support and energy I felt here today, for making the best race I could. I am so happy for my race, did the best for what the car can achieve. I love you guys.”
There was drama early on as Ricciardo who spun on the opening lap after being knocked by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen after hitting Vandoorne, who then hit the back of the Red Bull.
In the second incident, the other Haas of Romain Grosjean lost control of his car, slamming into the back of fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon and took him out of the race. That earnt the Frenchman a ten second penalty and two points on his licence.
The following safety car was good news for Hamilton as it closed the field up on and then on the restart allowed him to overtake his way to lead the race during the pit stops. That will surely go down as one of the Englishman’s best drives and he finished less than three seconds behind Vettel.
Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten, which could be key for Renault’s hopes of sixth place in the constructors’ championship, with the French manufacturer now just four points adrift of Toro Rosso with one round remaining.
- Brazilian GP – Qualifying Result
- BRAZILIAN GP – Bottas takes pole by three-hundredths of a second over Vettel, as Hamilton crashes out in Q1
- Notebook – Brazilian Practice
- BRAZILIAN GP – Hamilton topped the times in second practice by four-thousandths of a second over Bottas
- BRAZILIAN GP – Hamilton fastest by a tenth over Bottas in first practice as Mercedes steal the advantage
- Preview – Brazilian Grand Prix