Mercedes were crowned Constructors’ Champions for a fifth successive year after Lewis Hamilton managed to win the Brazilian GP this weekend. This should have been the biggest news story to come out of the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, however, the focus was on second place driver Max Verstappen.
Verstappen had driven well throughout the start of the race, passing Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on the second lap and then Sebastien Vettel shortly afterwards making his way up the grid. Things were looking hopeful for Verstappen to take the victory with a great race pace throughout. Both Ferrari Drivers had struggled to get away at the start and both cars lacked enthusiasm for the duration. Battles followed with both Red Bull and Mercedes, but the Ferraris just weren’t strong enough to compete.
A slight change in fortunes for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo saw him finish P4 on Sunday, after a disappointing run of retirements throughout the season. He started the race from 11th, after a 5-place grid penalty, and perhaps if this hadn’t been the case he may have been in contention for the win.
After pit stop decisions saw a fight ensue between Hamilton and Verstappen, with Verstappen claiming the lead after lap 40, a collision shortly after with backmarker Esteban Ocon and the charging Red Bull changed the game. Verstappen had tried to lap the Force India Driver but instead, the pair made contact causing Verstappen to spin and lose valuable time and allow Hamilton to overtake and later win the race. Ocon was punished by race officials with a 10-second stop-go penalty but the damage had already been done for Verstappen.
After the race, Max Verstappen was caught on camera shoving his rival Esteban Ocon after they came to blows on track. Verstappen has been given 2 days of ‘public service’ for his behaviour after the race, with many citing his reaction as unprofessional. Whilst race officials and commentators agreed that Ocon was in the wrong because a race leader is entitled to expect clear passage, Lewis Hamilton appeared to have another opinion. He was heard saying to Verstappen that ‘he had more to lose’ and Ocon had nothing and that a cautious approach would have been more sensible as the pair were not racing for position. You can never assume that a backmarker will back off and get out of the way for a race leader. Words of wisdom from a 5-time World Champion?
Race Result – Podium Finish:
1st Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes #44
2nd Max Verstappen – Red Bull #33
3rd Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari #7