Brazil GP: Verstappen wins at Interlagos from Gasly in a chaotic end
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen took victory in F1 Brazil GP ahead of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
It was a solid start from pole-sitter and Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen in F1 Brazil at Interlagos to lead the grand prix but Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was undone by a solid move from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton going into Turn 1, who took second from the German.
Vettel was third with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in fourth, Red Bull's Alexander Albon fifth and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly sixth. The Top 10 had Haas' Romain Grosjean, Alfa Romeo Racing's Kimi Raikkonen, Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was the man on charge after having started from 14th due to penalty as the Monegasque soon found himself inside the Top 10, picking up on his rivals one by one. He managed to move up to sixth within few laps.
There was drama behind, meanwhile, as Renault's Daniel Ricciardo and Magnussen came into contact at Turn 4 as the Australian tried a move on the inside of the left-hander but instead collided with the Dane, sending him into a spin on the run-off.
Magnussen managed to continue on despite some damage, while Ricciardo had major damage which forced him to pit for a change. The Brazil GP FIA stewards blamed him for the incident as he was handed a five-second time penalty for causing a collision.
Things got heated up at the front with Mercedes opting to pit Hamilton on Lap 21 as he remained on the soft compound, thereby committing to a one-stop strategy. Red Bull had no choice but to pit Verstappen on Lap 22 to cover the British racer.
The Dutchman, however, came out behind after having to evade the Williams of Robert Kubica, who was released in front of Verstappen. The Red Bull driver didn't waste any time and got through Hamilton at Turn 1 to retake the lead of F1 Brazil GP.
The Polish driver was handed a five-second time penalty for unsafe release. The race settled down though with Verstappen leading, Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Albon and Leclerc. Behind them, it was Gasly as the best of the rest from Raikkonen.
The other Alfa Romeo of Giovinazzi was ninth with Racing Point's Sergio Perez rounded out the Top 10 midway in the Brazil GP. The talk around the wind started to pick up as majority of the drivers complained of changed direction affecting their cars.
Mercedes, meanwhile, jumped early on the two stop with Bottas switching from hard to medium on Lap 43. Teammate Hamilton came in on Lap 44 to change from soft to medium as he managed to keep off the Albon threat. Verstappen then pitted on Lap 45.
He also switched from soft to medium as Verstappen managed to stay ahead of Hamilton but the gap was trimmed down. He was back in lead after Vettel pitted on Lap 50 as Bottas was stuck far too long behind Leclerc which overheated his car.
He eventually was forced to retire due to loss of power. The safety car was deployed and Red Bull decided to pit Verstappen with Mercedes asking Hamilton to do the opposite. Vettel was third with Albon fourth and Leclerc fifth as Gasly was best of rest in sixth.
The Top 10 then had Grosjean in seventh ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz and the two Alfa Romeo cars of Raikkonen and Giovinazzi. The re-start worked well for Verstappen as he made his move around the outside stick to take the lead in Brazil GP.
Teammate Albon had the better of Vettel to move to third with Leclerc in fifth. The best of the rest was Gasly in sixth as Sainz was seventh with Raikkonen eighth, Giovinazzi ninth and Ricciardo in 10th. Grosjean lost the most positions to drop outside the Top 10.
At the front, Verstappen checked out Hamilton with the British racer under some pressure from Albon. The Thai racer though had Vettel and Leclerc behind him and the German tried a move at Turn 1 as well, but couldn't make it stick just yet.
In all this, Leclerc made a move on Vettel and got fourth but the German came back on the Monegasque as they touched with Vettel's rear right touching slightly Leclerc's front left as both suffered punctures, with the safety car deployed to clear the cars.
Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton which helped Gasly to third with Verstappen leading Albon. Replays showed Racing Point's Lance Stroll having a front right suspension failure to retire as well as Sainz complained about debris affecting his car.
The re-start worked for Verstappen as he led Brazil GP but Hamilton cleared Gasly soon to take second. However, he made contact with Albon which sent the Thai racer into a spin as Gasly retook second with the move put under investigation.
Amid all the chaos, Verstappen held on to win the F1 Brazil GP as he led Gasly, who secured his first-ever podium finish to complete a Honda 1-2. He ended up just 0.062s ahead of Hamilton in third, with Sainz finishing fourth.
Should the British racer be penalised, it will put Sainz on the podium. The Alfa Romeo drivers had a superb finish as well with Raikkonen fifth and Giovinazzi sixth - the Italian registering his best result in F1. Renault's Ricciardo finished seventh then.
McLaren's Lando Norris ended up eighth with Perez ninth as Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat rounded out the Top 10 with Magnussen 11th ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, but the German dropped to 15th after a five-second penalty for overtaking before the white line.
It helped Williams' George Russell to be 12th with Grosjean 13th ahead of Albon, with Kubica in 16th. The Thai racer was close to his maiden F1 podium but for the late spin. There are multiple cars under investigation and the results could yet change.
DNF: Vettel, Stroll, Leclerc and Bottas
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This report was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]