Sao Paulo - Max
Verstappen underlined his potential as a champion of the future on
Sunday with a commanding victory for Red Bull in an astonishing and
crash-hit Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
The 22-year-old Dutchman twice passed newly-crowned six-time world
champion Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling contest that had two safety car
interventions and saw the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles
Leclerc clash and retire, before clinching the eighth victory of his
His third win this season also made up for his disappointment in last
year's race in Brazil when he looked certain to win before a late
accident wrecked his hopes of victory.
He made the most of pole position and finished a dominant winner
ahead of his former Red Bull team-mate Pierre Gasly, now with Toro
Rosso, as they delivered a Honda-powered one-two for the Japanese
company for the first time since the heyday of local hero Ayrton Senna.
Frenchman Gasly came home 0.062 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who
finished third for Mercedes but was demoted to seventh following a
post-race stewards' investigation after crashing with luckless Thai
driver Alexander Albon, the man who replaced Gasly at Red Bull, in the
Hamilton's demotion gifted McLaren's Carlos Sainz his first Formula One podium.
"Lewis was very quick," said Verstappen.
"So I had to keep pushing
all the time. He pitted early so we had to be on top of our pit-stops
and we had a good move on him.
"I could control the race with the tyres I had, so, for me, it was
unbelievable. It was a lot of fun out there and great to win the race."
He said his decisive
second overtake of Hamilton was achieved thanks to his superior speed in
the rarefied atmosphere of the 700-metre altitude Interlagos circuit.
"I was behind so I was pushing flat out on my out lap," he said. "We
knew we had great top speed the whole weekend - but that was a guess -
and I'm very happy to have got past him!"
Gasly screamed with delight at his good fortune on his slow-down lap.
"This is my first podium in F1 and, for sure, I will never forget it," he said. It's such a special moment. So emotional...
"Toro Rosso have given me such a fantastic car since I came back.
This is an amazing day... I was praying for the engine to give
everything it had - without Honda, it would not have been possible."
Hamilton was handed a five-second penalty and two points on his racing licence.
"I fully accept it was my fault and I accept the penalty," said the Mercedes driver.
"I was the driver behind and it was my mistake. I apologise massively
to Alex - the gap was there, but it closed pretty quickly. It was
completely my fault and I hold my hands up."
Albon, who looked certain to finish on the podium, came home 15th.
Sainz finished fourth on the road for McLaren ahead of the two Alfa
Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, seventh-placed Daniel
Ricciardo of Renault and Lando Norris in the second McLaren.
Sergio Perez of Racing Point finished ninth and Daniil Kvyat was 10th
in the second Toro Rosso.
Brazilian Grand Prix results on Sunday:
1. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1hr 33mins 14.678secs, 2.
Pierre Gasly (FRA/Toro Rosso) at 6.077sec, 3. Carlos Sainz Jr
(ESP/McLaren) at 8.896, 4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing) at
9.452, 5. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing) at 10.201, 6.
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Renault) at 10.541, 7. Lewis Hamilton
(GBR/Mercedes) at 11.139, 8. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren) at 11.204, 9.
Sergio Perez (MEX/Racing Point) at 11.529, 10. Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro
Rosso) at 11.931, 11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas) at 12.732, 12. George
Russell (GBR/Williams) at 13.599, 13. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Haas) at
14.247, 14. Alexander Albon (THA/Red Bull) at 14.927, 15. Nico
Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) at 18.059, 16. Robert Kubica (POL/Williams) at 1
Best lap: Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:10.698
Did not finish: Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari), Charles
Leclerc (MON/Ferrari), Lance Stroll (CAN/Racing Point), Valtteri Bottas
World championship standings:
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 387 pts (champion), 2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN)
314, 3. Max Verstappen (NED) 260, 4. Charles Leclerc (MON) 249, 5.
Sebastian Vettel (GER) 230, 6. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 95, 7. Carlos Sainz Jr
(ESP) 95, 8. Alexander Albon (THA) 84, 9. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 54,
10. Sergio Perez (MEX) 46, 11. Lando Norris (GBR) 45, 12. Kimi Raikkonen
(FIN) 43, 13. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 37, 14. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) 35, 15.
Lance Stroll (CAN) 21, 16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 20, 17. Antonio
Giovinazzi (ITA) 14, 18. Romain Grosjean (FRA) 8, 19. Robert Kubica
1. Mercedes 701 pts, 2. Ferrari 479, 3. Red Bull 391, 4. McLaren 140,
5. Renault 91, 6. Toro Rosso 83, 7. Racing Point 67, 8. Alfa Romeo
Racing 57, 9. Haas 28, 10. Williams 1