Kata Rocks

Merceses wins constructors’ title in Brazil with lucky Hamilton victory

FORMULA ONE: A lucky Lewis Hamilton victory in Brazil has helped Mercedes to its fifth consecutive constructors’ championship after Max Verstappen was spun out of the lead by a lapped car.

By Michael Lamonato

Monday 12 November 2018, 11:43AM

A lucky Lewis Hamilton victory in Brazil has helped Mercedes to its fifth consecutive constructors’ championship. Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas

A lucky Lewis Hamilton victory in Brazil has helped Mercedes to its fifth consecutive constructors’ championship. Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Verstappen had used superior tyre strategy to manoeuvre himself past polesitter Hamilton and into a comfortable lead during the second stint, but the Dutchman was clobbered by Force India’s Esteban Ocon on lap 44, dropping him to second place and handing the victory to Hamilton.

Second place would’ve been enough to guarantee Mercedes the constructors’ championship, but after winning the driver’s title in Mexico with a lacklustre fourth place, Hamilton was happy to celebrate the team’s triumph with a victory.

“The last six years have been an incredible journey,” Hamilton said. “This is what everyone works for the whole year.

“We were struggling, we had problems with the engine … I’m just so proud of everyone. Everyone back home, thank you so much for your continued efforts.”

Max Verstappen pursued Hamilton, but damage to his floor from the crash hindered his progress, and he finished a frustrated 1.5 seconds behind the leader.

“I’m just trying to do my race and suddenly a backmarker is trying to race you and they’re taking stupid risks to dive on the inside,” he said.

“I’m happy with second, but we should’ve won today.”

Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium after spending the final 10 laps defending against a fast-finishing Daniel Ricciardo, fending off the Australian’s advances by just 0.4 seconds at the flag.

“It was good,” said the Finn. “Not easy, but it was some battling, so it was fun.”

The Brazilian Grand Prix was a thriller in which the finishing positions among the top six was undecided until the final lap.

Hamilton started from pole, but Sebastian Vettel, who qualified second and started the race with the more durable soft tyre, was thought to be his biggest threat to the race. The German struggled from the start, however, letting Valtteri Bottas into P2 at the first turn and allowing Hamilton to build a small lead.

Max Verstappen quickly emerged as a serious victory contender. The Red Bull Racing driver relieved Kimi Raikkonen of fourth place on the third lap and pinched third from Vettel one lap later. By lap 10 he was past Bottas and in pursuit of Hamilton.

Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was also making fast progress, albeit after starting 11th with a grid penalty for a turbocharger change. After just five laps he was up to sixth and all over the back of Vettel, who had slipped behind Raikkonen into fifth, but all three were bottled behind Bottas, who was struggling with his supersoft tyres.

Laguna Golf Phuket

By lap 18 both Mercedes were struggling badly enough on the supersoft tyre to make an early switch the medium compounds, with Bottas stopping on lap 18 and Hamilton making his change one lap later, leaving Verstappen in the lead.

The race was swinging towards Red Bull Racing, which had shown impressive race pace during Friday practice. Vettel and Raikkonen made their stops for medium tyres on laps 27 and 31, but Verstappen and Ricciardo kept on lapping competitively until laps 35 and 39. They switched to the faster soft-compound tyre, giving them distinct advantages over their rival frontrunners to the end of the race.

Verstappen dropped to 2.5 seconds behind Hamilton, but in just five laps he was sweeping around his outside at the first turn. By the end of the lap he was more than two seconds up the road, the race seemingly sewn up.

But disaster struck the Dutchman on lap 44 when Esteban Ocon, who had just stopped for fresh supersoft tyres, attempted to unlap himself. He tried cut down Verstappen’s inside at turn two, but the pair made contact and spun.

Ocon was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty — the harshest penalty available before disqualification — and Verstappen fell to second place and more than five seconds behind Hamilton.

Despite damage to his floor, Verstappen doggedly attempted to claw back the deficit, but it was in vain, and his third win of the season went begging.

The pair would scuffle in the garages after the race, prompting the stewards to summon both to a hearing later in the evening.

The fight for the final podium place was alive to the final lap. Bottas’s defence of third place against Raikkonen cracked on lap 44, but it was Ricciardo on his fresh tyres that seemed most likely to take the place at the flag.

The Australian fought past Vettel on lap 46, but it took him another 12 laps to pass the recalcitrant Bottas, leaving him just 15 laps to pressure Raikkonen into giving up the position. The older Finn defended superbly, and Ricciardo was forced to settle for fourth.

Bottas finished fifth ahead of Vettel, while Sauber’s Charles Leclerc finished at the head of the midfield with an impressive seventh place.

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen picked up six points for Haas in places eight and nine, and Force India’s Sergio Perez took home the final point from 10th.

Don’t forget to listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at9an and 5pm for the Box of Neutrals eadio show.



Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

A governor plays the trumpet about very temporarily 'backround employment' during a movie sh...(Read More)

Government discloses Senate selectors

The Junta said 'thanks' to the Senate selectors for their service to the Junta, and rewarded...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

Yeah, Bangkok Phuket has been exorbitant for years, and since Silirot was taken over by them its pri...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

Bangkok Hospital tried to charge me 2,700 baht for a 30 day supply of meds. They finally gave me the...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

now I only go the Bumrungrad, hospitals in Phuket cannot be trusted, patients are just cash cows to...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

After being given a false diagnosis for recurrent cancer based on suspect blood results, I had CT sc...(Read More)

Lottery office offers cash to nab dodgy vendors

Lottery Vendors,... the law is the law. When you have to pay yourself already 85 B for a ticket, you...(Read More)

Dengue fever epidemic declared

Finally! When Thai Government admits that there is a Dengue/Chikungunya Epidemic it is really saying...(Read More)

Police hunt for ’power cards’ agents

Were the cards not sold with illness curing guarantee? Hahaha....(Read More)

Thanathorn in Phuket hears local fishermen’s woes, critical island issues

Mr Thanatorn may also look into the matter that many thai fishing boats now sail under Myanmar Flag ...(Read More)