A brilliant performance by Max Verstappen catapulted him from pole position to his third win of the 2019 season in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

But all eyes were on the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel who collided dramatically with just six laps to go.

The split-second contact sent Leclerc and Vettel limping into red-faced retirement.

Red Bull’s Alex Albon was looking good to take his first F1 podium.

But with two laps to go when the race restarted, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton tagged Albon, leaving the Thai driver to finish P14.

Rosso’s Pierre Gasly meanwhile  was able to hold off Hamilton in a drag race to the finish line to claim his first podium in Formula 1, with the stewards later handing Hamilton a five-second penalty for his part in the Albon incident.

A power unit failure for Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, saw the Finn retire from the action on Lap 52, marking Mercedes’ mechanical retirement since Austria 2018.
Frenchman Gasly was ecstatic after the race.

“It’s the best day of my life,” he said.

“As a kid, you dream of being in F1 and when it happens, it becomes the best day of your life. Then you dream of your first podium.

“When I came back to Toro Rosso, I just kept working on myself, I tried to push the team as much as much as I could, and I’ve been careful to make the best of all my opportunities.

“Today just came to us, we had a strong race before that. All weekend the car has felt good and I was controlling the gap to the guys behind.

“When started to battle first with the Ferrari, I thought okay, this looks similar to Bahrain 2018 when we took P4. Then it was quite an intense finish and incredible to get my first podium in F1.”

In the aftermath of the race, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said he would reserve judgement on who was to blame for the incident.

It was with a lump in his throat that Leclerc admitted: “Everything happened very quick”.

“From my side I overtook in Turn 1, I enjoyed this overtake – and then in Turn 3 I [was] too close because I was aware that Seb would try again, and he did – he went round the outside where there was little space,” added the 22-year-old.

“And I left the space, which he took, and then towards the end of the straight he started to squeeze me a little bit to the inside and we were very close… and as soon as he went to the inside we touched and I had a puncture.

“And I left the space, which he took, and then towards the end of the straight he started to squeeze me a little bit to the inside and we were very close… and as soon as he went to the inside we touched and I had a puncture.

“I haven’t seen Seb yet but I’m pretty sure we are mature enough to put that behind us at the moment we feel extremely sorry for the team, this is the end result: both of the cars didn’t finish and that’s very disappointing. For the future we’ll put that behind us and continue to work together.”

No word from Aussie Daniel Ricciardo or the Renault camp.

The next and final race for the season is the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 1.

POS NO DRIVER CAR LAPS TIME/RETIRED PTS
1 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 71 1:33:14.678 25
2 10 Pierre Gasly SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 71 +6.077s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 71 +6.139s 15
4 55 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT 71 +8.896s 12
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 71 +9.452s 10
6 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 71 +10.201s 8
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT 71 +10.541s 6
8 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT 71 +11.204s 4
9 11 Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 71 +11.529s 2
10 26 Daniil Kvyat SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 71 +11.931s 1
11 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 71 +12.732s 0
12 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 71 +13.599s 0
13 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 71 +14.247s 0
14 23 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING HONDA 71 +14.927s 0
15 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 71 +18.059s 0
16 88 Robert Kubica WILLIAMS MERCEDES 70 +1 lap 0
17 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 65 DNF 0
18 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 65 DNF 0
19 18 Lance Stroll RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 65 DNF 0
NC 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 51 DNF 0

* Provisional results

Note – Hulkenberg received a post-race, 5-second time penalty for overtaking under safety-car conditions.

 

 

CHECKOUT: Ricciardo winds it off the clock

CHECKOUT: Six and shout — Hamilton crowned F1 champ (again)

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.