Mercedes seal constructors’ title in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton wins the Brazilian Grand Prix after Esteban Ocon spins Max Verstappen out of the lead while being lapped

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas did enough to secure a fifth consecutive constructors’ title for Mercedes with a 1st and 5th respectively at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen looked set for a race win after overtaking the drivers’ champion at Interlagos, but collisions with Esteban Ocon on and off the track meant the Red Bull driver had to settle for second, while Kimi Raikkonen took the final spot on the podium.

Bottas moved ahead at Vettel at the start of the race as the Mercedes driver got a better start to move in behind his teammate.

The Red Bulls had the early pace though as Verstappen and Ricciardo traded fastest laps, with the Dutchman passing the two Ferraris as he moved up to third and quickly closed in on Bottas, passing the Finn a few laps later.

Ricciardo started out of position due to a penalty, but soon found himself running inside the top 10 just behind the Ferrari drivers, while Marcus Ericsson dropped down the order due to a coming together with Romain Grosjean, with the damage resulting in Ericsson retiring from the race after 22 laps as he struggled to control the Sauber.

Verstappen inherited the lead when the Mercedes pair wore their tyres out, forcing both to come into the pits as the Red Bull continued to set the fastest times on the track.

Nico Hulkenberg became the second retirement of the race just under half way through after Renault found his engine was running too high a temperature.

Verstappen stretched his first tyre stint to the halfway point, but a sloppy pitstop by Red Bull meant Hamilton regained the net lead. With the fresher tyres, the Red Bull driver soon reeled the Mercedes in again though and passed him again as Ricciardo pitted, putting Verstappen back at the front of the race.

Verstappen’s hopes of taking the race win were dealt a blow when he lapped Esteban Ocon, and the Force India driver attacked at the next corner in a bid to get himself back on the lead lap, spinning the race leader in the process. Hamilton went back in front before Verstappen managed to rejoin the race in second. Ocon was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for causing the collision.

Bottas started to struggle on his tyres, giving Ricciardo the chance to move up to fourth while running just 10 seconds behind the leaders, and the Australian found the way past before looking to challenge for a podium, but he was unable to trouble the top three.

Vettel couldn’t match his teammate’s pace throughout the race and had to come in for a second pitstop late on, leaving him to finish sixth, while Bottas also took a second set of new tyres in the final few laps, giving him the fresh rubber to set a fastest lap and a new track record.

There was a bizarre incident moments after the race ended when Verstappen walked up to Ocon and shoved him several times following their on-track collision. The FIA have ordered the Red Bull driver to carry out two days of community service in the next six months.

Provisional result:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber)

8. Romain Grosjean (Haas)

9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

10. Sergio Perez (Force India)

11. Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)

12. Carlos Sainz (Renault)

13. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)

14. Esteban Ocon (Force India)

15. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)*

16. Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

17. Fernando Alonso (McLaren)*

18. Lance Stroll (Williams)


Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)

Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

*both McLaren drivers crossed the line one place higher, but were given five-second penalties for ignoring blue flags

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