Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton wins after Max Verstappen hits backmarker
Verstappen loses lead after hitting backmarker Esteban Ocon; Mercedes win Constructors' Championship
Last Updated: 16/11/18 2:01pm
Lewis Hamilton won a wild Brazilian GP after Max Verstappen spun out of the lead in a clash with backmarker Esteban Ocon.
In an extraordinary moment at Interlagos which robbed the Dutchman of a deserved victory, Verstappen and Ocon collided when the Red Bull tried to lap the Force India.
The pair then became embroiled in an ugly post-race shoving match before being pulled apart.
The Red Bull driver had been in sublime form at Interlagos and his move on Hamilton looked to have been race-defining after earlier moves past Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.
The collision - for which Ocon was punished by the stewards - enabled Hamilton to reclaim the lead just moments after the world champion had been overtaken by a charging Verstappen.
Courtesy of Hamilton's victory, his 50th of F1's current turbo-hybrid era in 99 races, Mercedes were crowned constructors' champions for a fifth successive year.
"We've just won the World Championship for the fifth time so that's real history in the making for the team and if I was to retire today, for example, Mercedes would always remember this day and that I was a part of it," said Hamilton.
But the post-race focus remained Verstappen, Ocon, and a race which lived up to Brazil's billing as the race where anything can happen.
What happened in the Verstappen-Ocon clash?
Verstappen was surging clear of Hamilton with 20 laps remaining when he hit Ocon.
Although replays showed that the Red Bull squeezed the Force India, Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle instantly concluded: "The leader is entitled to expect clear passage."
The stewards agreed, blaming Ocon for the clash and meting out a 10-second penalty against the youngster.
Hamilton, though, later suggested that Verstappen could have been cautious as he attempted to round the Mercedes junior.
"I wasn't surprised by it or anything like that," said Hamilton. "I saw them racing but they weren't racing for the same position. In my mind, I would have been in a different frame of mind."
A livid Verstappen threatened retribution against Ocon and the pair were filmed shoving each other in the weigh-in room before being separated by FIA officials.
Verstappen said: "We are passionate, l am a winner and to be taken out like that, l was not happy."
After being summoned to the stewards, Verstappen was found guilty of acting inappropriately and punished with two days of public service.
Hamilton wins Verstappen's race
Red Bull had expected to be on the periphery of a race forecast to be a straight fight between Mercedes and Ferrari.
But an aggressive Verstappen served early notice of his intent when he passed Raikkonen on the second lap and then pulled off an identical move on Vettel shortly afterwards.
The Red Bull was briefly held up by Bottas but their fight, with the Finn desperately struggling to stay ahead, confirmed that Mercedes were struggling for pace relative to the Red Bull.
Although Hamilton managed to keep Verstappen at arm's length, both Mercedes cars had to make early pit-stops before putting on the long-lasting medium tyres. Verstappen, having also started on the supersofts, carried on for another 15 laps before slotting on the softs.
Hamilton reclaimed track position over Verstappen when the Red Bull stopped, but was quickly reeled in and passed.
That looked to be the race's crunch moment. But the Verstappen-Ocon clash changed all that, enabling Hamilton to inherit a victory which he celebrated with euphoria as a 21-year-old raged on a contrasting day of celebration and confrontation.
Brazilian GP race result
|1) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:27.09.066|
|2) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.469|
|3) Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+ 4.764|
|4) Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||+ 5.193|
|5) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 22.943|
|6) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 26.997|
|7) Charles Leclerc||Sauber||+ 44.199|
|8) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 51.230|
|9) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 52.857|
|10) Sergio Perez||Force India||+ 1 lap|
|11) Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap|
|12) Carlos Sainz||Renault||+ 1 lap|
|13) Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+ 1 lap|
|14) Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||+ 1 lap|
|15) Esteban Ocon||Force India||+ 2 laps|
|16) Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||+ 2 laps|
|17) Fernando Alonso||McLaren||+ 2 laps|
|18) Lance Stroll||Williams||+ 2 laps|
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