Vettel wins Brazil GP: Hamilton 4thposted in F112 | 11 | 2017

    FERRARI’S SEBASTIAN VETTEL clinched his fifth Formula 1 win of the year when he won the Brazilian Grand Prix, comfortably fending off the Mercedes of polesitter Valtteri Bottas. (Related: Hamilton — "Horrible way to win title")

    The Finn lost the lead in the sprint up to the first left-hander, and Vettel was never headed — part from during the pitstops — during the race. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen claimed the final step on the podium.

    Raikkonen though came under pressure over the closing laps from the fast-recovering Mercedes of newly-crowned, four-time world champ Lewis Hamilton.

    The Brit, forced to start from the pitlane after crashing out in Q1 in Saturday’s qualifying, ran on soft tyres for his opening stint and was into the points by lap nine, passing Pierre Gasly for 10th.

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    The opening lap accounted for a number of incidents, the first of which resulted in the appearance of the Safety Car.

    Exiting Turn 2, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen squeezed Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren towards Daniel Ricciardo. The Red Bull was spun round and the Aussie dropped to the back of the field. But while he continued, Vandoorne and Magnussen immediately retired.

    Also on the first lap, Romain Grosjean tagged the Force India of Esteban Ocon after the Frenchman  lost control of his Haas at Turn 5. Ocon was forced to retire, for the first time in his career, while Grosjean received a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision. He eventually finished 15th.

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    When the Safety Car pitted after the first lap mayhem, Vettel retained the lead from Bottas, Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Local hero Felipe Massa delighted his home crowd with a pass around the outside of Fernando Alonso into Turn 1 for fifth.

    After Hamilton pitted — the last of the leading drivers — on lap 43 of 71 — he emerged 19-seconds behind leader Vettel. Clearly now the fastest driver on-track, Hamilton passed Verstappen around the outside on the run to Turn 4 with 12 laps to go.

    But the Englishman’s bid for a storming podium came to an end when, having caught Raikkonen, he locked-up heading into Turn 1. That forced him to drop back and he could not attack the Ferrari before the race's end.

    Despite missing out on the podium, and finishing just 5.4s behind winner Vettel. Hamilton was delighted with his day’s work which, he said, reminded him of his early days in karting.

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    "It was reminiscent of when I first started racing as a kid,” he smiled. “We had not a great go-kart and we started from the back and had to make our way through to the front.

    "That's how it felt today, except obviously I had a good car and I was able to do something special with it.

    "I was quickest all weekend. I probably would have been on pole, and pole to finish first, but this made it a more enjoyable race for sure," Hamilton said afterwards.

    "I was quicker than everyone today by a long way. That's the real positive to take from it. I had good pace on the long runs on Friday, particularly on the soft, I think I was almost half a second quicker than everyone.

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    "And I had an old engine and a different aero package, so I had pace. But today I was 110% the whole way, I had to bring up a little bit extra. Kimi was right there, but my tyres just let go and I had nothing left."

    Verstappen, who struggled with his tyres in the closing stages, pitted for super-softs with just a few laps remaining — despite his team advising him to stay out — and proceeded to set a new lap record. The young Dutchman finished fifth ahead of Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo.

    Massa held off Alonso to take seventh in his final Brazilian Grand Prix, and penultimate race of his F1 career, while Force India’s Sergio Perez took ninth, crossing the line right behind Alonso. Nico Hulkenberg scoring Renault's first point since Singapore with 10th.

    F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos), Sao Paulo. Result:

    1. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 71 laps

    2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +2.7s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +4.6s

    4. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +5.4s

    5. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer +32.9s

    6. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer +48.6s

    7. Felipe Massa BRA Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +1m 08.8s

    8. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +1m 09.3s

    9. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India-Mercedes +1m 09.5s

    10. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport F1 +1 lap

    11. Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Renault Sport F1 +1 lap

    12. Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    13. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap

    14. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber-Ferrari +1 lap

    15. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +2 laps

    16. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes +2 laps

     

    Retired:

    Brendon Hartley NZL Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault

    Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India-Mercedes

    Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari

    Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda

    Related: Verstappen wins Mexico GP as Hamilton takes title

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    Jim McGill

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