The 2019 Brazilian GP had a lot in store to entice any F1 fan. This fantastic race started with a Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel front row, with Lewis Hamilton completing the top three on the grid.
The race start got our attention. Hamilton got past Vettel whilst Leclerc made his way through the field with some cracking overtakes. McLaren's Carlos Sainz also made some good progress from starting P20 on the grid.
A late divebomb made by Daniel Ricciardo, trying to get past Kevin Magnussen, saw the two midfield drivers have their races hampered with a front wing change needed for Ricciardo and Magnussen spinning and rejoining the track in P18.
Max vs Lewis
This was going to be a good race. With Vettel dropping back by about five tenths per lap, Hamilton had only Verstappen to overtake for the race lead. Hamilton gained on the young Dutchman by a substantial amount as Verstappen continued to struggle for grip.
This battle lasted for a long time, including the time when Max pitted for a new set of Medium tyres and got tangled up in a unsafe release by Williams. This put Max behind Lewis as the Brit pitted a lap earlier. This was the great moment where we saw these two talented drivers battle it out for the race win.
The moment all F1 fans had been dreaming about finally unfolded on the main straight when Hamilton got DRS and passed Max into Turn 1. From this moment we knew that the fight was on. Max immediately got past again and the top two seemed to be decided - or was it?
Ferrari seemed to be on the back foot going into Sunday. Vettel had qualified P2 and was suspicious of Red Bull's straight line speed. Leclerc however, had it all to do starting from P14 due to an engine penalty. Vettel's chance of getting past Verstappen on the opening lap was tarnished when Hamilton went round the outside of Vettel, leaving the German driver to defend P3.
Vettel had absolutely no race pace as he could not get close enough to the top two while his teammate was setting purple sectors as the Monegasque scythed his way through the grid. The chances of a win for the Scuderia were slipping away until a safety car was brought out by the retirement of Valtteri Bottas due to over consumption of engine oil.
The whole grid was bunched up and Leclerc was two places behind his German teammate who was ready to defend from both his teammate and Alexander Albon. With Leclerc on fresher tyres however, this would be an easy podium finish.
Albon got the better of Vettel on the restart and left Vettel vulnerable to attack from his 22 year old teammate. Charles got past Sebastian but that wasn't the end of the tragic tale of the Brazilian GP. The German driver got a good run out of Turn 3 and had DRS on Leclerc who was unable to defend. Vettel took him on the outside but he clipped his rear left tyre on the front wing of his teammate and they both suffered cataclysmic retirements.
This revealed a new low in the relationship of the Ferrari pair.
Lewis vs Max again? Potential Albon and Gasly podium?
This second safety car brought out by the two Ferrari drivers tempted Mercedes to pit Hamilton leaving him to re-enter in P4, with Verstappen, Albon and Gasly completing the top three. Lewis had the freshest tyres out of the contenders for the win and was looking good for a potential win.
When the safety car period ended, Verstappen flew away and was untouchable for the rest of the remaining laps. Hamilton was on a mission. He tried to dive it down the inside of Alex Albon but he spun Albon around and lost a position to Gasly.
The top three shifted to Verstappen, Gasly and Hamilton. Hamilton tried and tried to get that P2 finish but featured in a photo-finish chase to the line with Gasly finishing under a tenth in front of the five-time world champion.
The chequered flag saw Verstappen take his 8th win and his third of 2019.
Maiden podiums for Gasly and Sainz!
Who would have guessed it would have been a Toro Rosso in P2? And on top of that, Sainz classifying P3 after Hamilton received a five second time penalty?
After the rough start to the season and being demoted to Toro Rosso, Pierre Gasly has been on full form since he rejoined the Red Bull sister team. His post race radio featured a lot of screaming - this just shows you how much this meant to the Frenchman. Here is what he had to say about his first F1 podium:
Post race controversy
Yes. You read that correctly. Carlos Sainz, in his 101th F1 race, took his maiden podium after a five second penalty was awarded to Lewis Hamilton for causing a collision regarding the shock incident with Alex Albon.
McLaren haven't had a car inside the top three since Jenson Button Kevin Magnussen clinched P3 and P2 at the 2014 Australian GP. Kimi Räikkönen finished in 4th and Antonio Giovinazzi took his highest ever finish in F1 with 5th. Renault's Daniel Ricciardo classified a wonderful P6 even after being given a time penalty as well as an impromptu front wing change.
Celebration time for McLaren!