Brazilian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton at scintillating best to take victory despite starting in tenth

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Brazilian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton at scintillating best to take victory despite starting in tenth
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Lewis Hamilton produced a sensational drive to take victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix and keep his title hopes alive.

After being disqualified from Friday’s qualification session and then having a five-placed grid penalty after the sprint on Saturday, the Mercedes driver started the race in tenth position.

But Hamilton capped off a dramatic weekend in style, making his way through the field before overtaking title rival Max Verstappen with 12 laps remaining of the race.

The two both went off the track a few laps earlier as Hamilton attempted an overtake, but the Dutchman quickly slammed the door.

However, Verstappen could do nothing when the Mercedes closed in again, and had to settle for second in the race.

Valtteri Bottas completed the podium, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez produced the fastest lap of the race right at the death to secure an extra point.

Hamilton’s extraordinary drive means he cuts the gap to Verstappen to 14 points, with just three races remaining this season.

“Wooo, yes, come on guys,” roared a jubilant Hamilton on the radio. “Thank you so much, let’s keep going, let’s keep pushing.”

Hamilton, starting down the order following a combined 25-place grid penalty, gained four spots on the opening lap to move up to sixth before roaring past Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc on successive laps.

And by the start of lap five, the world champion was up to third after pole-sitter Bottas, passed by both Verstappen and Perez on the opening lap, was ordered by his Mercedes team.

Hamilton thought he had got the job done at the start of lap 18 after gliding past Perez on the start-finish straight only to see the Red Bull driver race back past at the left-hander fourth corner.

However, the seven-time world champion got his man the following lap, and this time Perez could not fight back.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Verstappen was 3.6 seconds up the road before Hamilton was the first to blink for new rubber. He stopped on lap 26 with Verstappen following suit the next time around.

On lap 48, Hamilton drew alongside Verstappen on the 200mph drag to the fourth corner.

The championship protagonists went wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton fractionally ahead and holding the racing line going into the corner.

But Verstappen stamped on his brakes later and both drivers ran off the track, with Hamilton kicking up turf as he rejoined the track.

“Lewis, apparently there is no investigation necessary for running you off the track,” said Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington.

“Of course not, of course,” came Hamilton’s sarcastic reply.

Would Hamilton get another chance? The answer arrived on lap 58 with Verstappen weaving from one side of the track to the other in a desperate attempt to stop Hamilton from getting through.

It worked, but only for one lap as Hamilton out-dragged his Red Bull rival before the braking zone for the fourth corner with a dozen laps remaining. Verstappen had no reply.

Hamilton kept his composure to cross the line 10.4secs clear and claim his first victory since the Russian Grand Prix in September and only his second since the summer break.

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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