Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.
Brazil marked Verstappen’s third win this season, after victories in Austria and Germany. The result moved him to third place in the driver’s championship, 11 points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with only the Abu Dhabi GP on Dec.1 to go.
The Dutch driver controlled nearly all the race in Sao Paulo, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc when they fought for fourth position with only five laps to go. Both failed to finish.
Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium in second place, only 0.062 seconds ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
Gasly also took advantage of an incident involving the Mercedes driver and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon as they fought for second place with only two laps to go. Hamilton finished third, but is being investigated after an incident that caused Albon to spin.
The Thai driver finished 14th.
Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.” He was overtaken twice by the Dutch driver in the little time he spent ahead at Interlagos — after a pit stop and after a safety car.
Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”
“It is always good to race against the world champion,” he added.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.
On team radio, Vettel blamed Leclerc for a puncture that caused him to stop. Leclerc was forced out shortly after.
The collision of the Ferraris put a safety car on the track near the end of a race watched by more than 70,000 fans.
Gasly will remember this day for a long time.
“It is the best day of my life,” the Frenchman said. “It was quite an intense finish, but quite incredible too. You get used to the podiums in the lower series. My last was at F2 in 2016. My first podium in F1 is just insane.”
The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.
Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.