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Lewis Hamilton wins Sao Paulo GP after overtaking Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton WINS a thrilling Sao Paulo Grand Prix after starting 10th on the grid as Mercedes driver reignites title battle with Max Verstappen as he closes championship gap on Red Bull rival to 14 points

  • Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in a thrilling, dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix
  • Max Verstappen finished second, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas ending up third
  • The defending champion overtook his title rival with a superb move late on 
  • Briton Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying ahead of the Sao Paulo race
  • The British driver’s rear wing was found to have broken technical regulations 
  • Follow this link for the latest Formula One news, including live action and results

Lewis Hamilton drove brilliantly at the Brazilian Grand Prix – taking a superb victory to narrow his world championship deficit to Max Verstappen to a tantalising 14 points.

The defending champion, chasing his eighth world title, blasted up from 10th on the grid after an engine penalty, using every bit of BHP in his super-powered Mercedes to best advantage. He has rarely driven better.

For huge junks of the 71-lap race the two rivals for the biggest prize in motor racing scrapped it out, mano a mano. Barely a second, often less, separated Hamilton and Verstappen, the Dutchman who led for most of the afternoon. 

Lewis Hamilton has won the Brazilian Grand Prix after a dramatic overtake of Max Verstappen

The Mercedes star hails the crowd after the race, who supported him and cheered his overtake

Sir Lewis unfurled a Brazilian flag to the adoring masses after securing the win in Sao Paulo

Hamilton is doused in champagne by Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas after his victory

Hamilton came within a whisker of passing the Red Bull on lap 48. They arm-wrestled through the open bends, only for Verstappen to move across and run Hamilton out of room on the left-hander Turn 4.

The incident was noted but race director Michael Masi deemed that no action was necessary. Hamilton was told of the non-investigation and said sarcastically: ‘Of course not. Of course.’ 

Hamilton was soon again all over Verstappen like a rash. He pinned his foot to the floor and passed the 24-year-old, who was unable to resist the onslaught. Hamilton zoomed by with some comfort on lap 59. 

The stands stood in awesome wonder.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the race for a long time but could not resist Hamilton’s advances

Verstappen pushed Hamilton wide of track but the Red Bull escaped any punishment

The defending champion emerged victorious from their enthralling game of cat-and-mouse

Only a lap earlier Verstappen had weaved all over the shop in trying to shrug Hamilton off. He was awarded a black-and-white flag – the one-more-and-you’re-out warning. Quite right.

Hamilton, who zipped past seven rivals as if they were bollards in the opening five laps, has now seized the momentum on a weekend that has chucked a lot at him. 

First, the engine penalty and then being relegated to the back of the sprint race for having an illegal rear wing.

Three races remain: in Qatar next week and then in Saudi Arabia on December 5 and Abu Dhabi on December 12. Seventy eight points are up for grabs. 

Pianist Joao Carlos Martins played the Brazil national anthem on track before the race began

Want to relive proceedings from a dramatic Grand Prix in Brazil? Follow live coverage from Sportsmail‘s MAX MATHEWS below, including build-up, all the lap-by-lap updates and results.  

Host commentator

Here’s Sportsmail’s race report!

Aaaand breathe.

Thanks for following everyone, I need a lie down in a dark room after all that action.

The title race continues – see you next time!

Against all odds, Lewis Hamilton has overcome all obstacles and won the race here in Sao Paulo. 

Astounding drive from the Brit – the title race is very much alive! The crowd are loving it too!

It looks like Hamilton will win today.

But will Mercedes rue the Brit not picking up three points for winning the sprint yesterday?

Will we see any more drama?

Hamilton is now up four and a half seconds on Max…

Max Verstappen’s response to being given a black and white flag for weaving on the straight.

I wouldn’t complain too much, son, you got the rub of the green earlier today!

It’s sarcasm city out there today.

Disqualified from qualifying, back of the grid, up to fifth. Back to tenth after a penalty.

And now he comes through into first. What a wonderful turnaround from Lewis.

Storming through the field!

Toto Wolff, chest puffed up, urges Valtteri Bottas to overtake Max Verstappen!

Could we get an unlikely Mercedes one-two?

Flipping hell, what a race.

From last to first! Lewis ducks around Max Verstappen and takes the lead!

The crowd go wild!

…that Verstappen ran Hamilton off the road.

He’s a lucky boy not getting a penalty there!

Hamilton is FUMING on team radio.

He sarcastically responds to being told Verstappen is not being investigated.

Wow.

FIA decide Verstappen did NOT do anything worthy of a penalty in that incident.

Hamilton and Wolff will have something to say about that!

From the race, not the sport. Lance Stroll exited earlier too.

Lewis Hamilton NOT happy with that move from Verstappen.

Did the Dutchman try to turn the corner or did he deliberately push them both off track to maintain the lead?

I reckon Max could face a penalty here…

Lewis Hamilton looks like he’s going to overtake but Max Verstappen runs him super wide!

They both go off the track! Almost made contact AGAIN there.

Stewards have made a note of that…

This is the closest Lewis has been to Max!

He has DRS and the slipstream too! Is an overtake coming?

Martin Brundle says it’s now or never…

Hamilton wanted the medium tyres (weaker but quicker), but Mercedes put him on the hard tyres (more resistant to degradation).

Bottas says: ‘I think we just threw away an easy one-two,’ with their two-stop strategy.

Ouch.

So no more pit stops for the Mercs or Red Bulls.

Verstappen has a one and a half second lead, but his tyres are three laps older.

This will be Hamilton’s last pitstop.

Verstappen is 18 seconds back, and it takes about 22 for a pit stop. 

Bottas isn’t sure about that – it basically guarantees he will be behind Max Verstappen for the whole race, and can’t have a say in slowing down the Dutchman.

Perez into the pits also!

It’s a decent pit stop for Red Bull, who have made their second and probably final stop.

They want to stop another Mercedes undercut, like what happened first time.

But that will slow him down! He comes out JUST behind Nicholas Latifi…

As Martin Brundle points out on commentary, if Hamilton overtakes Verstappen into first, it will be a 14-POINT swing.

Hugely important for the title race, if it wasn’t clear already.

And Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas and Perez are miles ahead of the rest of the field. These are clearly the best two cars.

You’d bet that will be the top four come the end too – but in what order?

Hamilton’s less than a second away from the leader, meaning he is now in DRS range and can pick up Verstappen’s slipstream…

But the Dutchman is driving into clean air, and Hamilton is struggling with his dirty air whenever he gets close. 

This is a real ding-dong battle.

Bottas pits during the virtual safety car, meaning he saves time, as all the other cars have an enforced speed limit while the virtual safety car is out.

He comes out in third, behind Verstappen in first and Hamilton in second.

More debris on track… but a quick safety car, it’s ending already.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who hasn’t pitted yet, leads from Verstappen and then Hamilton in P2 and P3.

Is Bottas there to slow Verstappen down and let Hamilton catch up to the Dutchman? We shall see…

So Verstappen’s gap to Hamilton, which was four seconds before their respective pit stops, is now down to a second and a half.

Hamilton delivers the fastest lap of the Grand Prix too!

And in response Max joins the pits too!

An aggressive strategy from Hamilton, pitting fairly early, and Hamilton comes out in sixth after a nice clean stop.

The fans are loving this in Brazil!

Red Bull reckon all that fighting with Sergio Perez will have cooked Lewis Hamilton’s tyres.

They could have the advantage in the middle sector of the track, too, despite Hamilton’s super straight-line speed.

Now, Hamilton is in clean air, with title rival Verstappen in his sights. First v second, Red Bull v Mercedes, the young pretender v the defending champ.

It’s all the drama, Mick, I just love it.

Scenes.

Perez, having lost the position to Hamilton, jumped on the DRS and IMMEDIATELY got second place back!

What a move!

Verstappen’s team-mate has got a real job on his hands to prevent Hamilton getting second…

BUT HAMILTON GETS HIM!

Oof, Hamilton is actually a fair way back from Sergio Perez in P2. Was the Mexican keeping to those speed limits under the safety car?

Good question, reader.

Verstappen, Perez, Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc, Sainz, Vettel, Gasly, Ricciardo, Ocon.

Virtual rather than corporeal this time, there’s a car part on the track.

Another chance for Hamilton in P3 to close on Perez in P2!

And the Mercs are right up on the Red Bulls now!

Lewis Hamilton is pumped up! 

‘Tell Valtteri, let’s go, let’s get these guys’.

Mercedes v Red Bull, Hamilton v Verstappen. We love this drama.

More good news for Hamilton – there’s a lot of debris on the track so there’s a safety car out.

George Russell and Lance Stroll pit opportunistically.

‘Thank you Valtteri,’ says Hamilton after the Finn lets his team-mate overtake into third.

So Norris had to go round nearly the whole track with a possible puncture, but he nursed it round carefully. 

He went into the pits and has been sent out again with some running repairs. He did well not to write off the car – but he is now, of course, last.

Hamilton up to third!

Lando Norris in trouble! He tried to squeeze around Carlos Sainz on the outside on the start, they clashed wheels and Lando was forced off the track! Could be a puncture there…

 

The Brit has already made up five places! That was quick!

Dear oh dear, Valtteri Bottas’ lead from pole lasted about… four seconds.

Verstappen overtook him at the first corner, then Sergio Perez overtook him shortly after to make it a Red Bull one-two. Not ideal. 

But…

I don’t believe this! Max Verstappen leads! Already!

Bottas on pole, Max in second, Hamilton in 10th.

Could the World Championship title be decided today? Let’s find out!

71 laps to come. Two minutes to go before we start…

…which means lights out is not far away!

Bottas, Verstappen, Sainz, Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Gasly, Ocon, Vettel, Hamilton the top 10.

Ready for battle.

Not long to go now… you excited? I know I am.

This is apparently now the third race in a row that Red Bull have made a change to the rear wing. 

Toto is fuming… Red Bull boss Christian Horner denies they’ve made changes though.

World-famous pianist Joao Carlos Martins – who plays with bionic gloves after being attacked by thugs – just performed the Brazilian national anthem to a rapturous reception.

The fans erupt when he’s done, with a real carnival atmosphere inside Interlagos.

Tough question, isn’t it. Yes, rules are rules, but it seems like the rules aren’t being applied evenly, which is the source of frustration for Mercedes.

A very nuanced issue. Wolff, and doubtless Hamilton, know it’s time to stop complaining. Time to settle your grievances on the track.

Stay tuned for more Duran Duran puns.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is NOT happy after Hamilton’s disqualification. He points out the wing was damaged during qualifying, and claimed it was only out by 0.2mm and only on the right side.

He also said according to typical F1 rules on damaged parts, the team should have been allowed to fix it without penalty – and compared the situation to Red Bull repairing cracked wings in Mexico last weekend without punishment.

I think the reaction to the whole saga was, let’s say, mixed.

Hamilton said he was devastated, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said ‘f*** them all’, while Max Verstappen STILL remains suspicious.

He said: ‘We have our suspicions, and I still think there is something going on with the main plane (of the rear wing) giving them top speed. There is clearly something going on.’

Hmm.

Hamilton was DISQUALIFIED for that rear wing breach, putting him dead last for the sprint race on Saturday. Ouch.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas won the sprint race and will start today on pole, with Verstappen second and Hamilton racing up the field to finish fifth.

Taking into account his five-place penalty for the engine change, Hamilton will start in 10th, eight places behind Verstappen. A crushing blow to his title hopes.

First, Hamilton picked up a five-place grid penalty after Mercedes decided to change his engine again. So far, so reasonable.

The Brit then took pole position for the sprint race – but was put under investigation for a rear wing infringement after Red Bull complained…

THEN Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was slapped with a fine after breaking rules to inspect Hamilton’s car.

What DIDN’T happen in qualifying is probably the more pertinent question. It was Yasmina Reza-levels of carnage.

So let me give you a recap…

The clock is ticking for Lewis Hamilton. There are only three races left in the calendar after today, in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

His title rival Max Verstappen leads him by 21 points. That’s a big gap. Can he make some of that up today? 

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, let me bring you up to speed.

Emma Raducanu is a Grand Slam champion, Arsenal are good again (?) and we have had one of the most dramatic Formula One seasons in YEARS.

No longer does Lewis Hamilton totally dominate, and the campaign – and the sport – has been more exciting for it.

It is looking absolutely gorgeous in the south-eastern Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

The time there is 1pm and it’s ultra-sunny too. If any readers of this blog want to start a petition to send me out there to cover the race, you won’t find me complaining.

Good afternoon!

Gather round, ladies and gentlemen, because in one of the best World Championship title races in years, the Formula One circus has come to town in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

There promise to be plenty of twists, turns, thrills and spills today. Don’t go anywhere!


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