Hamilton reaches another milestone while Verstappen excites the crowd in Brazil
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News November 13, 2016 Updated: 4:45 PM
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took his 60th career victory becoming 2nd on the all-time wins next the great Michael Schumacher after a soaked Brazilian Grand Prix where he finished ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.
“I’ve just won my first Brazilian Grand Prix! I remember watching Ayrton win back in 1991 and thinking “one day, that’s what I want to do”. I shared his emotion that day and now I can finally understand how he felt. It’s the 44th Grand Prix here as well, so it’s a really special one for me. To win on Senna’s turn in front of that crowd… it’s a moment I’ll never forget and I genuinely can’t believe it’s finally come,” said Hamilton.
The title will go down to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. The wet race was stopped twice by red flags with five safety cars with many drivers having mixed feelings rather or not to continue.
“Up the hill there was heavy aquaplaning and a lot of drivers went off the track. I had a bit of a moment when I spun at one point but luckily this wasn’t at high speed, so I was able to catch the car again. Lewis did a better job today and deserved the win, so I must be happy with P2,” said Rosberg.
After the last restart, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen stole the show with a incredible comeback drive to take third after a questionable pit stop cost him second place.
“I think the word for today is ‘Exciting’,” Verstappen said. I overtook Nico around the outside of turn 3 which was really fun to do, I just seemed to find a bit more grip out there. I then started chasing Lewis which resulted in me having a massive moment in the final sector, I was really lucky to keep it out of the guard rail. After that scare my pace was still good and I held onto P2. The rears then started to lose grip and I was told Daniel had pitted for Intermediates and was going fast so I followed that plan.”
With all the chaos, Hamilton was in control keeping a 11.4s margin over his teammate. Verstappen had gotten ahead of Rosberg under the second safety car, but his team gambled and lost when switching him to intermediate tyres resulting in him dropping to 16th during the final safety car where Verstappen was then forced to work his way back up the grid.
Verstappen continued: “There was no way we could carry on so had to pit again for wets. From there on the race was really good fun, plenty of overtakes around the outside because if you stay behind them there’s too much spray, I had to find another line. I just kept my head down and managed to get past quite a few cars in the remaining laps.”
Drivers struggled even on the wet tyres on the slippery surface. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had a spin on Lap 11, while Sauber’s Ericsson aquaplaned and crashed into a barrier on Lap 13 triggering the second Safety Car period.
The Safety Car was back out for the final time when Williams’ Felipe Massa, in his last home race before retirement, had an unfortunate spin and crashed on Lap 49 near the pit lane entry.
An emotional Massa walked to the paddock holding up his home country’s flag to the applause up and down the pit lane, including from his former team Ferrari.
“It’s impossible to explain my feelings from today, for everything that has happened. So much love. We couldn’t finish the race. I wanted to finish in the right way, with the flag on the top. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, but I think God knows what to do. I was just walking, in front of my people, with this amazing reaction.
Not just from the fans but from all the people in Formula One coming out to clap their hands for me. It’s impossible to explain these emotions. I never expected this in my life, I don’t think I deserved as much as this. The minimum I can say is thank you very much to everyone, all the people I’ve worked with, all of the fans. I will never forget this day,“ said Massa.
There are now 12 points difference between Hamilton, Rosberg and the title which will now go to the final round, meaning a third place podium or better would secure the championship for Rosberg in Abu Dhabi, as to where it is a must win for Hamilton, and the hope Rosberg finishes fourth or lower.