A brilliant performance by Max Verstappen catapulted him from pole position to his third win of the 2019 season in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

But all eyes were on the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel who collided dramatically with just six laps to go.

The split-second contact sent Leclerc and Vettel limping into red-faced retirement.

Red Bull’s Alex Albon was looking good to take his first F1 podium.

But with two laps to go when the race restarted, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton tagged Albon, leaving the Thai driver to finish P14.

Rosso’s Pierre Gasly meanwhile  was able to hold off Hamilton in a drag race to the finish line to claim his first podium in Formula 1, with the stewards later handing Hamilton a five-second penalty for his part in the Albon incident.

A power unit failure for Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, saw the Finn retire from the action on Lap 52, marking Mercedes’ mechanical retirement since Austria 2018.
Frenchman Gasly was ecstatic after the race.

“It’s the best day of my life,” he said.

“As a kid, you dream of being in F1 and when it happens, it becomes the best day of your life. Then you dream of your first podium.

“When I came back to Toro Rosso, I just kept working on myself, I tried to push the team as much as much as I could, and I’ve been careful to make the best of all my opportunities.

“Today just came to us, we had a strong race before that. All weekend the car has felt good and I was controlling the gap to the guys behind.

“When started to battle first with the Ferrari, I thought okay, this looks similar to Bahrain 2018 when we took P4. Then it was quite an intense finish and incredible to get my first podium in F1.”

In the aftermath of the race, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said he would reserve judgement on who was to blame for the incident.

It was with a lump in his throat that Leclerc admitted: “Everything happened very quick”.

“From my side I overtook in Turn 1, I enjoyed this overtake – and then in Turn 3 I [was] too close because I was aware that Seb would try again, and he did – he went round the outside where there was little space,” added the 22-year-old.

“And I left the space, which he took, and then towards the end of the straight he started to squeeze me a little bit to the inside and we were very close… and as soon as he went to the inside we touched and I had a puncture.

“And I left the space, which he took, and then towards the end of the straight he started to squeeze me a little bit to the inside and we were very close… and as soon as he went to the inside we touched and I had a puncture.

“I haven’t seen Seb yet but I’m pretty sure we are mature enough to put that behind us at the moment we feel extremely sorry for the team, this is the end result: both of the cars didn’t finish and that’s very disappointing. For the future we’ll put that behind us and continue to work together.”

No word from Aussie Daniel Ricciardo or the Renault camp.

The next and final race for the season is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 1.

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
133Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA711:33:14.67825
210Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA71+6.077s18
344Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES71+6.139s15
455Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT71+8.896s12
57Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI71+9.452s10
699Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI71+10.201s8
73Daniel RicciardoRENAULT71+10.541s6
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT71+11.204s4
911Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES71+11.529s2
1026Daniil KvyatSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA71+11.931s1
1120Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI71+12.732s0
1263George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES71+13.599s0
138Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI71+14.247s0
1423Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA71+14.927s0
1527Nico HulkenbergRENAULT71+18.059s0
1688Robert KubicaWILLIAMS MERCEDES70+1 lap0
175Sebastian VettelFERRARI65DNF0
1816Charles LeclercFERRARI65DNF0
1918Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES65DNF0
NC77Valtteri BottasMERCEDES51DNF0

* Provisional results

Note – Hulkenberg received a post-race, 5-second time penalty for overtaking under safety-car conditions.

 

 

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Verstappen blitzes 'brilliant' Brazilian GP

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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