Hamilton takes fight to Verstappen with thrilling win in Brazil

The battle between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes took another twist this weekend

Monday, 15th November 2021, 10:36 am

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen bump fists after nearly bumping wheels at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday

The F1 title battle took another twist in Brazil this weekend as Lewis Hamilton hunted down Max Verstappen to claim a sensational victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Hamilton was the star of the weekend but suffered 25 positions of penalties over the course of the event - 20 places for an illegal rear wing for Saturday’s sprint race, and a further five for a new engine component for Sunday’s race proper - leaving him to start from 10th spot. Slashing through the field quickly though, he was soon on the tail of race-leader Verstappen, who took the lead off the start from Valtteri Bottas.

The Mercedes man sized up the Dutchman for a few laps before making a brave move around the outside of Descida do Lago, only for Verstappen, on the inside, to force the pair wide and off the track, somehow escaping penalty.

Hamilton though was not to be denied as he made a move stick at the same corner a few laps to romp to a 10-second victory, closing the gap to the Red Bull man to 14 points in the championship with three races to go.

“I knew today would be difficult, but I did everything I could, we were just lacking a little bit,” said Verstappen afterwards. “At least it was a fun race, of course I would have liked to have won but realistically I think this was a good result.

“ Lewis and I were fighting for position on multiple occasions, I think it was hard racing but good racing and that’s how it should be. I was hoping for a little bit more performance but this result is definitely the maximum we could do.

“Top speed wise it was tough to defend, you can clearly see when they take a fresh engine that it gives them a bit more power, so hopefully that will die down over the coming races. There are three races coming up that will be completely different again, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull car came home in fourth spot, having lost out on a certain podium with an ill-timed virtual safety car period. The Mexican was running second and did his best to delay Hamilton’s charge by a few laps, but when making gains on Bottas, who was yet to make his second stop, the VSC slowed the field, allowing the Mercedes man to make his stop without losing his position.

Perez said: “It was close today and it was fun, but I am not here to have fun, I am here to deliver.

“It was very difficult to hold Lewis back, I tried my best to hold onto him but I couldn’t, he was flying! Then we were ahead of Bottas by two seconds, we had the position and we had the podium but two laps later the virtual safety car came in.

“That timing was extremely unlucky for us and it worked perfectly for him, he managed to do the undercut and then pull five seconds away from us. It is a bit of a shame we lost the podium”