Verstappen wins, Gasly P2 and Heartbreak for Albon - 2019 Brazilian GP Review
Oh. My. Goodness. That was a race...
The Brazilian Grand Prix was not at all interesting for the majority of the 71 laps, but the end of the race was something that would never have been expected. Let's take a look at the race.
After Max Verstappen's second official pole position, things were looking good for the young Red Bull driver as he pulled away from the pack at the start of the race. Lewis Hamilton went around the outside of Sebastian Vettel into the first corner and the race settled from there. The midfield was chaos; with the main drama being between Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen who collided at Turn 3 and resulted in a 5 second penalty for Ricciardo.
The rest of the field were battling with each other in the pits too, with the undercut being the favourable strategy. Charles Leclerc did a great job to work his way up the field due to his 10 place grid drop from a power unit change. Carlos Sainz did an incredible job to finish P4 after starting from the very back - but P3 may still be possible following events I will discuss later...
Verstappen and Hamilton were in a league of their own; and it was Hamilton that pitted first in an attempt to undercut the former. Verstappen responds to this, but loses the position after being blocked by Kubica in the pitlane; however, it doesn't take long for Verstappen to get the place back from Hamilton due to the incredibly fast middle sector that the Red Bull is capable of. Hamilton was locked into the two-stop, and wasn't happy on his second set of softs, so he switched onto the medium tyres - followed by Max.
The race continues and action becomes rather quiet. The twist occurred when Bottas retired from an engine failure, thus bringing the safety car out. Verstappen pitted and Hamilton opted to stay out on his mediums. Verstappen's third stop went smoothly and the soft tyres allowed him to soar past the Brit on the restart. Alexander Albon was ahead of both Ferraris and sat in P3. Charles Leclerc passed Vettel in an incredible fashion into Turn 1, but there was contact as Vettel passed him on the straight towards Turn 4.
I cannot exaggerate how minor the contact was. Vettel misjudged the distance between his teammate and only tapped the front wing. Leclerc's whole suspension snapped and Vettel had a rear tyre failure, resulting in both Ferrari retiring and promoting Gasly's Toro Rosso to P4.
This brought the safety car out again and Hamilton pits for softs. The Sky commentators couldn't believe their eyes as it looked like the race would end under safety car. But the race gets underway again with Verstappen leading, Albon in second, Hamilton third and Gasly in fourth. Hamilton can't get passed Albon at the start of the penultimate lap and sees an opportunity into Turn 9. Alex left space which Hamilton took, resulting in the Thai driver spinning and losing his first podium. Personally, I think it was a racing incident; but it allowed for Gasly to move into second and finish in his best position ever.
Hamilton and Gasly were almost neck-and-neck at the line, and Gasly's screams suggest how happy the Frenchman was. Carlos Sainz took the P4, but this may be promoted to third if Hamilton receives a penalty. Lance stroll also retires from the race with a mysterious suspension failure.
EDIT: LEWIS HAMILTON HAS RECEIVED A PENALTY FOR HIS INCIDENT WITH ALBON.
Overall, the race was a 7.5 out of 10 for me. The middle of the race wasn't very exciting; but the end of the race was a moment where we didn't know who would win with 5 laps to go...
What did you think of the race? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you for reading! The results of the race can be found below. If you want to see more from me, click here to see my profile. Why not check out my recent quiz - 'Can you guess these car silhouettes?' by clicking here.
Image: BBC Sport.