Brazil’s iconic Interlagos Circuit always delivers thrilling racing, the São Paulo amphitheatre an old-school driver challenge.
And 2018 was no different with Lewis Hamilton taking one of his luckiest wins, with the Brit profiting from his rival’s misfortune for his 10th victory of the season - sealing Mercedes fifth-straight constructors’ title.
At lights out, Hamilton led into Turn 1. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel locked up – and was passed by Valtteri Bottas for second. Vettel was followed by Kimi Räikkönen and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman was up to third on Lap 4, having passed both of the Ferraris on successive laps. And took second on Lap 10, passing Bottas at Turn 1… with the two Ferraris and Daniel Ricciardo trailing in close quarters.
Hamilton, struggling on the supersoft tyres, pitted for mediums on lap 19, releasing Verstappen – with the Brit dropping to seventh.
The Dutchman pitted from the lead on Lap 35, for the softs, and dropped to third behind Hamilton – with Ricciardo out front until his stop on Lap 39, when Verstappen passed Hamilton for the lead at Turn 1.
But just four laps later, disaster struck - when Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon tried to unlap himself from Verstappen at Turn 1, with the pair making contact and spinning at Turn 2…
For which, Ocon was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for his part in creating the collision with the race leader.
That meant that Hamilton inherited the lead in an incredible stroke of luck, ahead of Verstappen and Räikkönen, who got past Bottas for third. While Ricciardo was fifth, having passed Vettel at Turn 1 on Lap 45.
Verstappen, with a now damaged floor, again went in pursuit of Hamilton, who was struggling on old mediums.
… while Ricciardo passed Bottas for fourth on Lap 59, with the Australian making an ambitious move on the inside of Turn 1.
Verstappen closed to within 1.3 seconds of Hamilton, but traffic gave the British driver some breathing room and his second Brazilian win.