Hamilton wins wet and wild Brazilian GP, sends title fight to Abu Dhabi finale.

Lewis Hamilton has won a chaotic and rain-soaked Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace and trims Mercedes championship leading team-mate Nico Rosberg’s points lead to 12 points meaning the World Driver’s Championship will be decided at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Max Verstappen put on an incredible showing in the wet to finish in the final podium place.

 

Image credit to SkySportsF1.com

Image credit to SkySportsF1.com

 

Lewis Hamilton claimed a crucial 52nd career victory at a wet and wild Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

The Briton produced a faultless drive from beginning to end to score a hat-rick of victories and the ninth of the season to cut down the championship points lead to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg who came home second to 12 points meaning the title decider will go to the final round in Abu Dhabi.

 

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen put on a stunning showing from start-to-finish to take the “Driver of the Day” and the final podium place.

 

Before the race began on the sighting laps and the cars were lining up on the grid, Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean was the first of the casulaties to retire after spinning and hitting the wall on the main-straight after aquaplaining.

 

The 71 lap Brazilian Grand Prix began 10 minutes later than schedule due to the torrential conditions and under the Safety Car for eight laps before the action got underway officially with Hamilton getting a great lead on team-mate Rosberg meanwhile Verstappen put on an impressive lunge on Kimi Raikkonen‘s Ferrari into the Senna Esses to snatch third.

 

Renault’s Kevin Magnussen was first of the drivers to take a gamble for the green-marked intermediates.

 

On lap 11, Sebastian Vettel spun his Ferrari after aquaplaining on the main-straight and was facing the wrong way coming up the hill but continued on and immediately pitted for intermediates.

 

On lap 12, Hamilton held a comfortable 2.9 second gap over Rosberg and a further 3.2 seconds behind the German was Verstappen.

 

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson brought out the yellows after crashing out of the final corner and coming to a halt on the pit entry lane which closed the pit lane entry and deployed the Safety Car.

 

Verstappen just made it in time to take the opportunity to pit for inters meanwhile Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo just missed got caught out and was handed a five second time penalty.

 

At lap 15 under the Safety Car, Hamilton lead from Rosberg and Raikkonen with Verstappen now on a fresh set of inters in fourth and Ricciardo was down in ninth.

 

On lap 20 the race continued after the Safety Car peeled in and Hamilton got another great jump and was followed by Rosberg meanwhile behind the duo, Raikkonen spun and hit the wall and luckily missed Verstappen and Manor’s Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India picked up the debris from the Finn’s Ferrari.

 

At the same time, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer rammed the back of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat which ended the former GP2 champion’s afternoon, and scattered more debris on the straight.

 

The red flags were immediately brought out which suspended the race for 35 minutes.

 

After the long delay to clear debris from the circuit, the race was once again restarted behind the Safety Car and went green two laps later, only for the rain to intensify and bring out another red flag.

 

Hamilton was surprised over the team radio saying “the track is fine”, but the drivers were stuck for another long period in the pits before Race Control decided to send them out once more.

 

After a few laps behind the Safety Car, Hamilton once again controlled the race restart, meanwhile behind the Briton, Verstappen performed the same exact overtake on Rosberg like he did on Raikkonen earlier into the Senna Esses.

 

As Hamilton controlled the Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen just saved his RB12 racer at Subida dos Boxes, missing the wall by milimetres and narrowly kept Rosberg behind.

 

Despite that scary moment, the Dutchman pitted for intermediates, moments after team-mate Ricciardo followed suit and served his five-second time penalty.

 

Red Bull’s strategy backfired, as the rain got heavier, forcing both Red Bull drivers to pit for full wets and dropped them out of the top 10.

 

Verstappen’s charge was spectacular, as he flew from 16th to third with brilliant overtakes and finished the race 21 seconds behind the Mercedes duo.

 

Force India’s Sergio Pérez took fourth place, after a potential podium slipped from his hands, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completed the top five after being forced out by Verstappen at the final corner.

 

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz ended the race in sixth place and ahead of Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg who was seventh and Ricciardo who came home eighth in the other Red Bull.

 

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr recovered from a horrible start to the weekend to finish an impressive ninth to clinch two crucial points for the Hinwil-based squad and lifting them in-front of Manor in the Constructors Championship as McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 and was the final points scorer.

 

Both Williams failed to score any points and slipped further behind Force India in the Constructors as Valtteri Bottas finished 11th and Felipe Massa crashed out of his final home Grand Prix of his career.

 

The Brazilian waved to the mass of fans as he returned to the pits where he was given a guard of honour by the Mercedes crew and the other teams joined in to give home-town hero a great send off.

 

Manor’s Ocon came home 12th and ahead of Toro Rosso’s Kvyat who came home 13th.

 

Renault’s Magnussen ended the race in 14th place and ahead of Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor who was 15th and McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button who came home 16th and the last of the field in the race.

 

The Formula 1 Grande Premio Do Brasil 2016 Race Results Classification (71 laps):

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 3:01.01.335
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1, + 11.455
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, + 21.481
4. Sergio Perez, Force India F1, + 25.346
5. Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari, + 26.334
6. Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Toro Rosso, + 29.160
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India F1, + 29.827
8. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, + 30.486
9. Felipe Nasr, Sauber F1 Team, + 42.620
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda F1, + 44.432
11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, + 45.292
12. Esteban Ocon, Manor Racing Team, + 45.809
13. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso, + 51.192
14. Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1, + 51.155
15. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing Team, + 1:00.498
16. Jenson Button, McLaren-Honda, + 1:21.994

Did not finish: Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Massa, Jolyon Palmer, Kimi Raikkonen, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean

 

2016 World Driver’s Championship – Top 5

  1. Nico Rosberg – 367 Points.
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 355 Points.
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – 246 Points.
  4. Sebastian Vettel – 197 Points.
  5. Max Verstappen – 192 Points.

 

2016 World Constructors Championship Standings

  1. Mercedes AMG F1 – 722 Points.
  2. Red Bull Racing – 446 Points.
  3. Scuderia Ferrari – 375 Points.
  4. Force India F1 – 163 Points.
  5. Williams Martini Racing – 136 Points.
  6. McLaren-Honda F1 – 75 Points.
  7. Scuderia Toro Rosso – 63 Points.
  8. Haas F1 Team – 29 Points.
  9. Renault Sport F1 – 8 Points.
  10. Sauber F1 Team – 2 Points.
  11. Manor Racing Team – 1 Point.

 

The final round of the 2016 FIA Formula 1 World Championship returns to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from November 25-27.

 

Written by Michael Terminello

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