Newly crowned Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton sealed the constructors’ title for Mercedes with race victory at Interlagos, after Max Verstappen was taken out of the race lead while lapping Esteban Ocon.
Verstappen had blasted past Hamilton early in his second stint and was edging clear when his Red Bull was pitched into a spin having tangled with Ocon at the Senna S.
That dropped Verstappen behind Hamilton, who managed engine and tyre concerns to stay clear and win the Brazilian Grand Prix after clinching the title for the first time – he was winless in the Grands Prix he completed after wrapping up the championship in 2015 and 2017 respectively. The result also clinched the constructors’ championship for Mercedes.
Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of a mistake from Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel early on and Valtteri Bottas’s challenge fading to complete the podium.
Hamilton had maintained his pole position advantage at the start as Bottas jumped Vettel for second place.
Verstappen started fifth but made short work on the Ferraris by passing them both on successive laps into the first corner, nailing Raikkonen around the outside under braking before diving inside Vettel.
Max caught Bottas quickly and cleared the Mercedes on lap ten when Bottas inexplicably failed to close the door properly into Turn 1.
Hamilton pitted on lap 19 of 71, one lap after Bottas, as Mercedes switched to fresh Pirelli much earlier than its rivals.
Verstappen continued until lap 36 but emerged behind Hamilton despite initially looking like he might build a big enough lead and Hamilton growing frustrated by what he thought was a lack of information from his team.
By running so long in the first stint Verstappen was able to switch to the soft compound and with much fresher, faster tyres, he cruised up to the back of Hamilton and blasted past on the start-finish straight with 31 laps to go.
With Mercedes protecting Hamilton’s engine that should have set Verstappen up a relatively simple run to the flag, but four laps later Verstappen’s win was out of the picture at the first two corners.
Verstappen put a lap on Esteban Ocon but his ex-karting and Formula 3 rival fought back into Turn 1 to the outside of the Red Bull then held firm as track went back to the right.
Ocon did not back out and Verstappen turned in, with the resulting contact spinning both and leaving Verstappen with floor damage, although he was lucky to only lose a position to Hamilton.
Verstappen was able to gradually cut into Hamilton’s five-second advantage over the rest of the race, but Hamilton was just able to hang on despite voicing engine concerns and complaining of a lack of grip late on.
Raikkonen made it through to third after passing Bottas into Turn 1 just as Verstappen was being taken out.
After passing Vettel in the opening stages when the German ran wide at Turn 4, Raikkonen was repassed by his team-mate in the pitstop phase.
But Vettel let Raikkonen go to attack and successfully pass Bottas – while Vettel had to make a second stop after dropping to the tail of the top six, behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
The recovering Ricciardo made it up to fourth after passing Bottas as well, which triggered a second stop, who was complaining with blistering.
Bottas and Vettel therefore completed the top six, while Charles Leclerc took seventh for Sauber after dominating the best-of-the-rest fight.
The 2019 Ferrari driver finished comfortably clear of Romain Grosjean’s Haas after passing team-mate Marcus Ericsson at the start.
Grosjean finished eighth ahead of fellow Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, while Sergio Perez took the final point in tenth.
Brendon Hartley was first finisher outside the top ten after an ill-tempered conclusion in which he raged over the radio at Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly refusing to comply with an order to swap positions.
Gasly, who was also angry, eventually let Hartley past on the final lap but also lost a place to Renault Carlos Sainz Jr.
There were only two retirements from the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ericsson stopped early on after picking up damage at the first corner, slipping down the order and suffering a spin after his pitstop.
Nico Hulkenberg was ordered to stop as Renault recorded a high engine temperature.
So congratulations to Mercedes in winning the constructors’ title. All that team effort in preparing the race-winning cars for Lewis Hamilton has paid off with this championship victory.
Real unlucky for Max Verstappen to miss out on race victory. That clash with Esteban Ocon when lapping was messy and was the key moment in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Brazilian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 1h27m09.066s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 71 1.469s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 71 4.764s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 71 5.193s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 71 22.943s
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 71 26.997s
7 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 71 44.199s
8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 71 51.230s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 71 52.857s
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 70 1 Lap
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 70 1 Lap
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 70 1 Lap
15 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 70 1 Lap
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 69 2 Laps
18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 69 2 Laps
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault 32 Retirement
– Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 20 Retirement
1 Lewis Hamilton 383
2 Sebastian Vettel 302
3 Kimi Raikkonen 251
4 Valtteri Bottas 237
5 Max Verstappen 234
6 Daniel Ricciardo 158
7 Nico Hulkenberg 69
8 Sergio Perez 58
9 Kevin Magnussen 55
10 Fernando Alonso 50
11 Esteban Ocon 49
12 Carlos Sainz 45
13 Romain Grosjean 35
14 Charles Leclerc 33
15 Pierre Gasly 29
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 12
17 Marcus Ericsson 9
18 Lance Stroll 6
19 Brendon Hartley 4
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1
1 Mercedes 620
2 Ferrari 553
3 Red Bull-Renault 392
4 Renault 114
5 Haas-Ferrari 90
6 McLaren-Renault 62
7 Force India-Mercedes 48
8 Sauber-Ferrari 42
9 Toro Rosso-Honda 33
10 Williams-Mercedes 7