Just as every year, Brazil doesn’t disappoint. A race filled with fantastic battles and 1st lap chaos. Lewis Hamilton put on a stunning fight as he tore apart the grid cruising to finish in fourth position after starting from the pit lane. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand delivered a punch as he scored his and Ferrari’s 5th victory of the season.
Vettel managed to get away much quicker than Bottas on race start and went past the Finn going into turn-1. Meanwhile at the back of the grid, Ricciardo also made a rocket start and went side by side Stoffel Vandoorne on the outside of the turn-2. Vandoorne himself was further accompanied by Kevin Magnussen’s Haas on the inside. Magnussen squeezed Vandoorne who then got sandwiched between the Red Bull of Ricciardo and the Haas of Magnussen and the three cars collided. The incident marked the end of the race for both the Dane and the Belgian driver of McLaren. Ricciardo managed to limp back to the pits. The safety car was quickly deployed to clear away all the scattered debris and all of a sudden both Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon came together at turn-6 eventually taking the Force India of Ocon out of the grand prix. Grosjean was handed over a 10 seconds time penalty by the race stewards for causing the collision whereas the turn-2 incident between Ricciardo, Vandoorne and Magnussen was set to be investigated after the race.
Safety Car came in by the end of lap 4 and racing resumed on lap 5 with Vettel quickly getting away from Bottas at the race restart. Raikkonen followed in 3rd who was further followed by Max Verstappen in 4th and Fernando Alonso in 5th. Felipe Massa seized the opportunity and passed Alonso much to the delight of his home crowd who were watching him race on his home turf for one last time. Hamilton by that time was already up in 14th place. Ericsson asked Sauber to request Wehrlein to let him past just as Pascal complained a loss of power on his radio. Hartley was also asked by Toro Rosso to perform radio checks.
The four times British world champion then went on to perform a series of phenomenal overtakes on the likes of Hulkenberg, Sainz, Ocon, Hartley and Perez to get into the points and kept flying. Ricciardo meanwhile attempted to recover the lost ground and did some breathtaking textbook moves on the same set of drivers as he typically braked late into turn-1 to get the moves done. Vettel started struggling with his tires as Bottas kept gaining on him thus allowing Mercedes to perform an undercut on the number 1 Ferrari. Vettel followed by pitting a lap later and managed to come out in front of Bottas quite tightly and marginally. Hamilton took the lead of the race from this point onwards followed by Kimi Raikkonen in 2nd. Alonso kept trailing Massa as he tried to pass the Brazilian multiple times during this stint but failed always. Max pitted too and came out behind his teammate who a few laps later was asked by Red Bull to move aside and not hold Verstappen. The Aussie followed the team instructions and left the gap going into turn-1 for Max to go past.
As Lewis Hamilton tried to hold down Vettel so that Bottas could close on and attempt a pass, his compound started to degrade prompting him to pit. Hamilton emerged out 5th ahead of Ricciardo, Massa and Alonso and behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. With Vettel leading upfront, the hunt for a podium finish was on for Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes in the meantime asked Bottas to speed up and stop nursing his tires. Hamilton managed to put in some stunningly quick laps and immediately became the first ever driver in Interlagos’ history to clock a 1:11 during a race. His fastest lap was followed by another which happened to be a couple of tenths quicker than the previous one. Max on new rubber quickly smashed that time with his own 1:11.098. With 21 laps to go, Hamilton was 5 seconds behind Verstappen and 9 seconds adrift the podium finish. Brendon Hartley quite sadly had to retire the car after another Renault engine failure with 16 cars left to finish the race.
Valtteri Bottas kept closing the gap on Vettel in an attempt to win the race for the Silver Arrows. In the mid pack, Sergio Perez also joined Alonso and Massa for the battle for 7th position. Hamilton finally got close enough to Verstappen to attempt a move at turn-1 only to be fended off by the young Dutch but the world champion didn’t lose momentum and going into turn-4, Lewis went past Max to gain the 4th position. Only 11 laps were remaining by this point and Kimi Raikkonen was 4 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 3rd position. Bottas all the while closed down the gap to Vettel by as much as 2.1 seconds. The positions for the rest of the race stayed the same then. The Spanish ace kept attempting moves on the retiring Brazilian to no avail. Hamilton kept closing the gap to Raikkonen. With just 5 laps to go, Hamilton was already within the DRS range and so was Alonso. Lewis tires had already degraded by that point and he writhed for traction. Due to constant lockups and encountering the turbulent air of the SF17-H, the W08 of the Briton lost time to the Finn.
The Ferrari man kept leading comfortably at front. On the final lap, Hamilton attempted one last overtake on Kimi Raikkonen but eventually had to settle for the 4th position. Vettel went on to win the race as he crossed the finish line with Bottas following him in 2nd. Raikkonen finished 3rd with Lewis Hamilton finishing 4th after a monstrous race by him starting from the pit lane. The top 4 were followed by the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in 5th and 6th respectively. Although the race was not yet over for the trio of Massa, Alonso and Perez. Alonso tried to pass Felipe one last time and failed in doing so. Massa crossed the finish line with Alonso a striking 3 tenths down on him as well as Perez just another tenth down on Alonso himself. Lewis Hamilton was awarded the driver of the day as Felipe Massa at the end of the podium ceremony, went up there to see off and thank his shrieking home crowd. He was followed by his son Felipinho and Rubens Barrichello. Following are the final race classifications:
|1st||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:31:26.262||25 pts||Germany|
|2nd||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+2.762s||18 pts||Finland|
|3rd||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+4.600s||15 pts||Finland|
|4th||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+5.468s||12 pts||Great Britain|
|5th||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+32.940s||10 pts||Netherlands|
|6th||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+48.691s||8 pts||Australia|
|8th||Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+69.363s||4 pts||Spain|
|9th||Sergio Perez||Force India||+69.500s||2 pts||Mexico|
|10th||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1 lap||1 pts||Germany|
|11th||Carlos Sainz||Renault||+1 lap||0 pts||Spain|
|12th||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+1 lap||0 pts||France|
|13th||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||+1 lap||0 pts||Sweden|
|14th||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber||+1 lap||0 pts||Germany|
|15th||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+2 laps||0 pts||France|
|16th||Lance Stroll||Williams||+2 laps||0 pts||Canada|
|17th||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||Not classified||DNF||New Zealand|
|18th||Esteban Ocon||Force India||Not classified||DNF||France|
|19th||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||Not classified||DNF||Denmark|
|20th||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||Not classified||DNF||Belgium|