Vindication for Verstappen after 2018 Brazilian disaster
A year ago, Max Verstappen was dealing with the F1 stewards after he shoved Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix. This year, he celebrated victory.
He looked on course to win easily at Interlagos in 2018 before Ocon, a lap down, collided with Verstappen at the first corner, handing the victory to Lewis Hamilton.
But after securing his first pole position on Saturday - his previous pole position in Mexico was taken away after a yellow flag infringement - he led from the front throughout. Even after an undercut move from Hamilton in the pits, Verstappen passed the world champion to reclaim the lead and take a comfortable victory as chaos unfolded behind him.
Team-mate Alex Albon looked set to join Verstappen on the podium but was taken out by Hamilton late on, and former team-mate Pierre Gasly took second spot. Hamilton received a penalty for his crash with Albon, dropping him from third to seventh, meaning Carlos Sainz claimed McLaren's first podium since 2014.
Speaking afterwards, Verstappen said: "It’s a great victory, after last year of course, but more for the way the race unfolded and how we all had to work together.
"Today and the whole weekend the car and Honda power unit have been working really well and we have made a step so thank you to everyone for that.
"It’s an incredible feeling right now and to win today was a huge team effort. It was a crazy race with a lot of action and fighting but luckily we always had the pace to counter back and overtake Mercedes in every scenario.
"It wasn’t easy out there but the team made all the right calls, especially at the end to pit for the soft tyres during the Safety Car which gave us the win today. As a team you always try and make everything perfect, I focus on my job and the team also try to do a perfect job in the pits and on the strategy and clearly today it worked out pretty perfectly.
"It is, of course, a massive shame that Alex could not be on the podium with me as it would have been an even better result for the team but it’s great for Pierre to be up here and for Toro Rosso and Honda.”