Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has shrugged off his world championship defeat – winning the Brazilian Grand Prix for the third time ahead of polesitter, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who didn’t have the pace to respond after being passed into the first corner.
Vettel retained the lead, despite an opening lap safety car for a collision between Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Haas’ Romain Grosjean, and Bottas’ undercut attempt at the stops.
It was the German's 46th career win, and his fifth this season – his first since Hungary in July.
“Initially, I had a very good getaway and then I had a bit of wheelspin so I thought I missed my chance,” Vettel said.
“But I think Valtteri was struggling even more off the line. I really had a chance to squeeze down the inside, I think I surprised him a bit, which obviously was very crucial after that. After the safety car, for the remaining 65 laps, flat out. I was really trying to give everything to pull out a little gap, control the race from there.
“I’m really happy, especially for all the guys in the team back home in Maranello. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, but nice to get it.”
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium, despite a late race charge from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton - who started from the pit lane, but fought back to fourth, the Brit struggling with his supersoft tyres in the end, unable to make the final pass for the podium.
The sport now heads to Abu Dhabi for the final round on November 26.
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||71||+32.940s||10|
|6||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||71||+48.691s||8|
Here’s how the 2017 FORMULA 1 BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:
The drivers’ and constructors’ championships may have been sewn up, but there’s plenty to play for in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas starts from pole for the third time, the Flying Finn picking up the pieces for the Silver Arrows after now 4-time F1 World Champion crashed on his first flying lap in qualifying Q1, his Mercedes bottoming out at Turn 6 and sliding into the barriers. But Bottas has it all to do, with both Ferraris behind him and breathing down his neck - Sebastian Vettel sitting alongside on the front row, Kimi Raikkonen third. And both drivers hungry for a top result, with Vettel’s title campaign falling apart and 2018 looming and some confidence into the off-season needed.
Starting from P4, it’s Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen - whose Renault-powered RB13 lacked the real grunt to challenge for pole, dropping around half a second to the frontrunners. Can he challenge for the victory today? He’ll need a strong start and go all out into Turn 1 to be able to dictate the pace.
Force India’s Sergio Perez starts fifth, the Mexican looking forward to a race without team orders - the team now secure in fourth place in the constructors’ championship. Behind him, it’s Fernando Alonso - who starts today’s race in his highest grid slot, P6, since rejoining McLaren in 2015.
There’s lots of penalties mixing up the grid, with additional power unit components for Daniel Ricciardo dropping him 10 places (starting in P14), Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley 10 places (starting on the back row in P18), his teammate Pierre Gasly 25 places (starting P19). Williams’ Lance Stroll and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson were penalised five grid places for installation of an additional gearbox. While Hamilton is required to start from the pit lane due to a gearbox change and switch to new-spec power unit elements while under parc ferme conditions.
Strategically, it looks like a straightforward one-stop dry race but doing that requires some tyre management towards the end. An aggressive two-stop enables a far stronger finish, but that requires overtaking - so makes sense for Hamilton, who starts from the pit lane. The heat, though, with ambient temperature of 27 degrees Celsius and track of 60 degrees will likely skew performance towards Ferrari - whose SF70H does better in the warmer weather.
Incredibly, Ferrari had some last-minute issues on the grid on Raikkonen’s car. The Finn is in the car, but it seems there were some issues with his telemetry system - so should ensure no issues stopping him early on.
The majority of the grid starts on the faster supersoft tyres, the top-nine all used sets. Ricciardo (P14), Ericsson (P17), Gasly (P19) and Hamilton (pit lane) all starting on softs for a long first stint.
Vettel got away slowly from the dummy grid, but no issues there it seems. The German needs to outscore Bottas today, with just 15-points separating them in the standings - and second in the championship at stake.
Vettel gets a great start and takes the lead into Turn 1, ahead of Bottas and Raikkonen. Verstappen stays ahead of Alonso, while Ricciardo spins out at Turn 3 after being squeezed by Magnussen and Vandoorne. Ocon and Grosjean collide at Turn 6, as the safety car is deployed. The Frenchman out of the race with two punctures, pushing to stay ahead of Grosjean on the outside.
Ricciardo pits, but the order is Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Alonso, Massa, Perez, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Gasly, Ericsson, Hartley, Stroll, Hamilton, Wehrlein, Grosjean, Ricciardo. Magnussen and Vandoorne are out, joining Ocon as the retirements on Lap 1.
Replay of the start shows Bottas got a good start, but Vettel out-accelerated into Turn 1. Ricciardo squeezed by Magnussen and Vandoorne, forcing him into a lurid spin.
We’re still under the safety car here, with Hamilton already up to P14 from a pit lane start. Gasly is in P10, flying up from last on the grid. Grosjean and Ocon incident has been noted by the stewards but yet to be investigated.
The safety car is still out, and is in this lap. Grosjean and Ricciardo, who both had crashes - are in P16 and P17 respectively.
Vettel keeps his lead, as Massa passes Alonso for P5. Hamilton is in P13, having passed Grosjean. He’s also passed Hartley for and has his sights on Stroll now.
Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:13.666, he’s pulling out a gap out front - now 1.5 seconds. Hamilton passes Stroll for P12. Ricciardo passes Wehrlein for P15 into Turn 4.
Vettel sets another fastest lap, a 1:13.649 - he’s now 1.3 secs ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen is 1.1 seconds behind his compatriot. Hamilton has passed Ericsson for P11 into Turn 1. Alonso in P6 is still chasing Massa, and hasn’t given up on getting that place back.
Hamilton passes Gasly for P10, he’s into the points. Ricciardo is past Hartley for P14. Vettel has a 1.6 second lead over Bottas. Raikkonen is in DRS range of Bottas, but can he get past to leave the Mercedes behind? Hamilton in P10 is all over Sainz, 0.4 seconds the gap.
Hamilton takes Sainz for P9 down the main straight - and is now after the sister Renault, Hulkenberg. Ricciardo in P14 is chasing down Stroll, 0.5 seconds the gap. Hartley is seeming to have radio problems.
Verstappen remains in P4, unable to move up given Renault’s power unit restrictions. Ricciardo passes Stroll for P13 into Turn 1, then Ericsson for 12th into Turn 4. powerful move there. Hamilton passes Hulkenberg for P8 into Turn 4.
It’s Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, and Massa for the top-five here. Raikkonen has dropped away from Bottas for the moment, 1.5 seconds the gap there.
Hamilton in P8 is chasing down Perez, less than half a second the gap. Ricciardo passes Gasly into Turn 1 for P11.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.2 seconds, Raikkonen 1.9 seconds adrift in P3. Hamilton passes Perez round the outside into Turn 1 for P7, the pair duel down the back straight but it’s all done by Turn 4.
Ricciardo in P11 is chasing down Sainz, 0.4 secs the gap - and the pass is made into Turn 1. The Australian up into P10 and the final points’ paying position. Verstappen says he’s faster than Raikkonen ahead, but is stuck.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2-seconds flat. Alonso in P6 is still in touch with Massa, less than a second the gap there. Hamilton is approaching this battle though, 2.2 seconds the gap.
The top-5 is covered by 13-seconds, the top-10 by 23 seconds - and the field to P17 covered by 37 seconds. Hamilton is clawing down the gap to Alonso, just 1.7 seconds now. Raikkonen told his rear tyres are getting hot, will it force him into an early stop?
Vettel leads Bottas by 1.7 seconds, the gap coming down there. Verstappen remains P4, 1.1 seconds the gap to Raikkonen - who could become an ever-easier target with overheating rears.
Hartley can hear his engineer now, the team’s radio issues are solved. Hamilton in P7 is now 0.5 seconds behind Alonso, and it looks like only a matter of time. Ricciardo passes Hulkenberg for P9 into Turn 1.
Vettel leads Bottas - both doing 1:13.7s. Raikkonen one tenth slower on that last lap. Hamilton passes Alonso for P6 into Turn 1.
Bottas does the fastest lap, a 1:13.626, the gap to leader Vettel is now 1.7 seconds. Hamilton is chasing down Massa for P5, and closing. He passes him for P5 into Turn 4.
Hamilton is only 17 seconds off the lead in P5. Vettel leads Bottas by 1.6 seconds. Verstappen complains that he’s struggling on the rear tyres. Grosjean handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision with Ocon at the start. Alonso in P7 is coming back on Massa.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:13.485 - four tenths up on Vettel’s last lap, 0.8 faster than Verstappen ahead who is 9.6 seconds up the road.
Top-four all setting mid to high 1:13s. The pack behind in the low 1:14s.
The Saubers are fighting for P15, with Ericsson on the radio to get past. Up-front, Vettel leads Bottas by 1.8 seconds. Stroll in P13 is 0.5 seconds behind Gasly.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap again, a 1:13.320 - and says that the supersofts, which his competitors ahead are on, look good.
Vettel leads Bottas by 1.5 seconds, the pair trading personal best laps. Hamilton in P5 sets another fastest lap, a 1:13.124 - 1.5 seconds faster than Verstappen ahead. The Dutchman wants to pit, but needs a decent gap to come back into.
Bottas pits, 2.7 second stop - fits the softs. He’s the first mover up front to try the undercut. Ferrari highly likely to respond to cover off. Massa pits as well.
Vettel pits, as does Verstappen from P3. Vettel switches to softs, 2.1 second stop. He JUST manages to stay ahead of the Mercedes at the pit exit. Ricciardo passes Perez for P5 into Turn 1.
Raikkonen now pits from the lead, promoting Hamilton to the top-spot. The Ferrari switches to softs, 2.4 second stop - he returns in P4, ahead of Ricciardo. So it’s Hamilton yet to pit, ahead of Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen. Ricciardo is P5, ahead of his teammate - with the Australian yet to stop.
Hamilton leads, but Vettel sets the fastest lap - a 1:12.996 - he’s now 1.4 seconds up on Bottas. Ricciardo told not to hold up Verstappen on fresher tyres behind, team order there.
Top-five is Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Ricciardo. Bottas struggling on his softs, unable to challenge Vettel ahead - the gap now 1.9 seconds.
Verstappen passes Riciardo for P5 into Turn 1. Raikkonen told options are holding up, and Hamilton a podium chance despite his tyres blistering.
Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, a 1:12.945 - half a second up on Bottas ahead, 4.8 seconds the gap there.
Hamilton yet to stop leads Vettel by 3.7 seconds, Bottas, then Raikkonen make up the top-four. Sainz passes Ericsson for P13 into Turn 1. Bottas struggling on these softs, he’s the slowest of the top-five.
Verstappen in P5 sets the fastest lap, a 1:12.864, but he’s 5.4 seconds behind Raikkonen. Perez pits. Hamilton leads, but will have to stop - he’s going long, with a set of softs said to last for 45 laps, how far will he go?
Bottas in P3 has upped his pace, he’s done a 1:13.3 - to match Raikkonen behind.
Sainz passes Wehrlein for P13 into Turn 4. All the field is now on the softs. Ricciardo says he can wait a while longer for his stop.
Hulkenberg passes Gasly for P10 round the outside of Turn 1, great move there.
Verstappen in P5 again sets the fastest lap, a 1:12.763. He’s 4.4 seconds behind Raikkonen ahead. Hamilton is out front, but could he back Vettel into Bottas to give him an advantage?
Stroll passes Grosjean for P15, but the Frenchman gets past into Turn 3. Hamilton is beginning to go through traffic.
Hamilton leads Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Massa, Alonso, Perez, Hulkenberg for the top-10. Hartley told to retire the car. Could it be another power unit failure for the New Zealander, and another for Renault? Hamilton is worrying about losing time to Vettel through traffic.
Hamilton leads Vettel by 2.7 seconds, Bottas in P3 is 1.8 secs behind. Raikkonen in P4 is 1.9 seconds adrift. Verstappen has 3.1 seconds to make up in P5. Now 16 runners in this race, with Stroll in last place.
Hamilton pits, fits supersofts - 2.7 second stop. He drops down to P5. Ricciardo pits for supersofts as well, he comes back out in P7.
So it’s Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, and Hamilton - after the pit stops have been completed. Hamilton is 9-seconds behind Verstappen, in clean air on fresh tyres. Can he get the Dutchman for P4?
Stroll passes Grosjean for P13 with a move into Turn 1. Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:12.423. The gap to Verstappen is now 7.7 seconds.
Hamilton sets another fastest lap, a 1:12.012 - the gap down to 7.1 seconds. 1.1 seconds bitten out of Verstappen’s gap ahead. Ricciardo passes Massa for P6 into Turn 1, but is 23 seconds behind Hamilton so will be in his own race from here on in.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.5 seconds. Gasly passes Stroll for P13, with an aggressive move into Turn 1. Hamilton is passing more traffic, in clawing down the gap to Verstappen.
Vettel sets a personal best lap, three tenths up on Bottas’ last lap. He’s the only one in the 1:12s.
The field has now been lapped up to P11, Sainz the last one on the lead lap. Vettel leads Bottas by 3.1 seconds. Grosjean is in the pits, serving his penalty.
No drivers are within 1-second of another. Hamilton in P5 is now 6.2 seconds from Verstappen - and can see the Dutchman on the track now. Bottas told the team is not concerned about his tyre wear, so can turn up the pace to challenge leader Vettel.
Vettel leads Bottas by 3-seconds, Raikkonen 2-seconds behind in P3. Hamilton has his sights set on Verstappen in P4.
Raikkonen in P3 has set a personal best lap, a 1:12.7. Only the Finn and Hamilton are the only ones in the 1:12s.
Stroll complaining of the balance with a flat-spot. Vettel is in P1, 2.9 seconds ahead of Bottas - both drivers doing low 1:13s. He looks comfortable in the lead.
Verstappen says his tyres feel like rocks, they’re so stiff. The team tells him to change some settings. Hamilton in P5 is just 2.7 seconds behind now. Vettel and Bottas up front have both just done personal best laps.
Alonso in P8 is in DRS range of Massa now, the Mclaren now back in contention. Grosjean given two penalty points with his time penalty for crash with Ocon on Lap 1.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.8 seconds, the gap stable with both on similar pace - both trading laps.
Hamilton in P5 is in DRS range of Verstappen now, with the Dutchman suffering on the softs it should only be a matter of time. Just 0.6 seconds the gap now.
Hamilton tries a move on Verstappen into Turn 1, but can’t make it stick - the Brit getting past for P4, blasting past on the run down into Turn 4. Can he nab Raikkonen for the final podium place? It’s not impossible, with 4.6 seconds the gap to Raikkonen ahead.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.2 seconds, ahead of Raikkonen, Hamilton and Verstappen. 12 seconds covering the top-five. Ricciardo is in his own race, 33 seconds behind his teammate and 45 seconds behind the leader.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap ever at Interlagos, a 1:11.932 - an incredible lap, he’s got a fresh engine so using all of the engine modes to pull out the pace.
It’s Vettel and Bottas - separated by 2.1 seconds. Raikkonen in P3, chased by Hamilton 3.2 seconds the gap. Verstappen asks to pit, the team refutes the idea.
Hamilton sets another fastest lap, a 1:11.918. He’s 2.7 seconds adrift of Raikkonen. Verstappen pits for supersofts, with a free pit stop in hand. He’s now dropped back 29-seconds from Hamilton, remains in P5.
Hamilton sets another fastest lap, a 1:11.845 - he’s just 1.9 seconds behind Raikkonen and looks ominous for the podium but has to make the pass happen.
It’s Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen and Hamilton just 1.5 seconds behind the Finn. This is the late race battle we wanted! Verstappen sets the fastest lap, a 1:11.044 - a new race lap record, for which he’ll get a bonus from his team.
Hamilton is within DRS range of Raikkonen now, 0.9 secs the gap. The Finn will have to defend hard in the closing gaps.
The top-four are covered by 4.9 seconds on track. Hamilton cost himself on that last lap, locking up into Turn 1.
Hamilton is struggling on his supersofts, looking unable to take the fight to Raikkonen as he needs to.
Hamilton locks up again into Turn 1. Stroll has a left-front tyre delamination on his softs.
Raikkonen and Hamilton are sliding through the end of the lap - but the Brit doesn’t look like he has the pace just yet. He’ll have to go hard on the final lap, if he can respond.
Lap 71 - FINAL LAP:
Hamilton can’t get past Raikkonen, his supersofts cooked after some incredibly quick laps earlier on - the Brit staying fourth. Massa stays strong against an irrepressible Alonso, who is all over his rear wing on the last lap - to stay seventh! Vettel takes his third win in Brazil, his fifth win for the year - and first since Hungary.
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||71||+32.940s||10|
|6||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||71||+48.691s||8|
|9||11||Force India Mercedes||71||+69.500s||2|
|12||10||Toro Rosso||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||9||Sauber Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||94||Sauber Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||8||Haas Ferrari||69||+2 laps||0|
|16||18||Williams Mercedes||69||+2 laps||0|
|NC||31||Force India Mercedes||0||DNF||0|