Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has won a thrilling Brazilian F1 GP 2019 ahead of Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) for whom this is his first Formula 1 podium. Lewis Hamilton finished third after a brush with Alex Albon in the last lap which ruined the race of the Thai driver. But the Briton of Mercedes recieved a 5 seconds penalty and he ‘dropped’ to seventh position.
Finally, Carlos Sainz was the other hero of the day, taking third position. The driver from Madrid has comeback sixteen positions from twentieth, matching the best result of his Formula 1 career. The Spaniard has made the delight of fans with his collection of passes, of which one stands out, the great maneuver that he performed on the Racing Point of Checo Pérez. The #55 is now sixth in the standings -same points (98) than 98 Gasly and 8 more than Albón, eighth.
All in all, an extraordinary race, with countless showdowns and battles in and out of the garages. On top of that, there has been two safety cars in the final stretch of the race. After his sensational performance, Verstappen is third in the standings with 260 points, eleven more than Leclerc.
Talking of Ferrari, the reds have suffered another of their usual disasters. Both SF90s have crashed near the end with Vettel brushing against one of Leclerc’s wheels which has resulted in punctured tires for the two teammates.
Exit: Max holds on to the pole
Max held on to his pole position on exit at Interlagos. Vettel, on the other hand, lost his second place on a head to head with Hamilton in the first corner. After the Vettel came Bottas (Mercedes), Albón (Red Bull) and Gasly (Toro Rosso). Another of the main players during the first laps was the other Ferrari. Leclerc climbed from the fourteenth to the ninth position in just four laps.
Copying the young Monegasque, Sainz raised from the twentieth to the fifteenth place. At the lead, Max had opened up a 2,448-second distance with Hamilton, who found himself unable to follow the rhythm of the blue missile. Behind came Vettel, Bottas and Albón, fifth. By the seventeenth lap, Leclerc had already positioned himself in sixth.
Things heat-up: First pit stops
As Hamilton was unable to pass Max on the track he attempted to undercut him by going for his first pit stop on lap 21st. Red Bull reacted immediately emulating Mercedes’ move. Verstappen went to boxes a lap after that. The Dutch rejoined the track behind the Briton but, in a sensational stint, he regained the lead in just one lap.
The battle continued for a few more laps with both machines making the most of their fresh soft tires. Halfway through the race and Hamilton just couldn’t keep up with the Black Tulip but, what about Leclerc? He was sixth and devouring anyone on his way with ease.
An excellent stop from Red Bull
In an attempt to deal with the obvious weakness of their Silver Arrows, Hamilton was sent to pits again on lap 44. A slow stop of 3.3 seconds, however, ruined any chance of a victory for the Briton. Max replicated the move on the following lap with an ultra-fast 1,9-second pit stop. The lightening change of tires gave Verstappen a key advantage as Vettel, who had inherited the lead, also went in for fresh tires.
Bottas, left behind by the team strategy, was stuck in the sixth position behind Albón when his W10 started to smoke, breaking down and triggering the first safety car on lap 54. Verstappen and Leclerc took advantage of the situation to perform a free extra pit stop. Hamilton, on the other hand, stayed on the track and took the lead of the race. Albon, Vettel, and Leclerc took the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Crash between both Ferraris
Positions seemed set with five laps left for the chequered flag. Max was first with a 2,291-second advantage over Hamilton. Albon had taken third followed by Vettel (4th), Leclerc (5th) and Gasly (6th).
But Ferrari was in for another disaster. Leclerc was ahead of Vettel when the latter, notoriously clumsy in the short distances, brushed the left rear wheel of his car with the right front one of the Monegasque’s.
The two red cars were left out of action as a result. Things have reached breaking point in Ferrari where rumors are that Mattia Binotto’s too-soft approach cannot straighten the performance of his two prancing horses.
The second and decisive safety car
Very much to everyone’s surprise, the safety car was called out for the second time. Hamilton pitted again for a final go at the fight for the lead with fresh soft compounds. The safety car left the track with just two laps remaining to the end.
In the end, Verstappen, the absolute monarch of the race, took his eight Formula 1 victory ahead of a sensational Gasly and Hamilton, who finished third before the 5 seconds penalty. Shortly before that, the Briton had stolen the third step of the podium from Albón.
Gasly, despite having been downgraded from Red Bull to the considerably inferior Toro Rosso, took his first Formula 1 podium and the second of the Faenza team after Germany 2019. Only one place behind entered Sainz. An epic performance from the Spaniard Madrid who started last to finish fourth, after a spectacular comeback.
Images of ‘Brazilian F1 GP 2019’: Red Bull.