Hamilton wins in Brazil, Mercedes takes constructors' title

Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates with members of the Mercedes Benz team after the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton won the race helping his team to take the constructors' title. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates with members of the Mercedes Benz team after the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton won the race helping his team to take the constructors' title. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car chased by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, during Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car followed by Mercedes Valtteri Bottas, of Finland , Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, during Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, leads the race after the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

SAO PAULO — Ten years after securing his first Formula One title at Interlagos, five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday and helped his Mercedes team take the Formula One constructors' title for the fifth straight year.

It was Hamilton's 10th victory of the season, finishing 1.4 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

But it could have been a very different outcome for the British driver, who struggled with engine problems and medium tires as he waited for rain that never came.

Hamilton's second win in Sao Paulo was only possible after Force India's backmarker Esteban Ocon refused to let then leader Verstappen pass on lap 44, causing both cars to spin. At the time, the Red Bull driver led Hamilton by five seconds.

"That (incident) put us back in contention," Hamilton said after the race. "Max is that go-getter guy and every now and again it bites you. But I am really, really proud here, I don't care about anybody else."

Off the track, the 21-year-old Dutchman later confronted — and pushed — former Formula 3 rival Ocon, who refused to apologize despite the stop-go punishment he was given during the race. The Force India driver finished 15th.

Verstappen managed to stay in the race after the incident and get closer to Hamilton in the final laps, but it wasn't enough for his second consecutive victory.

"I hope I can't find him in the paddock now," Verstappen said of Ocon.

After catching up with Ocon, Verstappen was given an unusual punishment for the pushes and insults he aimed at Ocon — he will have to perform two days of public service at the direction of motorsport governing body FIA within six months.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium. His teammate Sebastian Vettel, who is second in the overall standings, finished sixth.

Hamilton celebrated his win and his team's fifth title with samba dancers on the podium, as Verstappen left still fuming.

"This is what everyone works for, we really pulled together as a unit this year," Hamilton said. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finished fifth.

Mercedes now has an insurmountable 620 points against Ferrari's 553.

It was Hamilton's 72nd victory in Formula One, a much celebrated one after all the problems he faced during the race.

"We were managing that in the last part of the race, we were losing some power," the British driver said.

In the first part of the race Hamilton kept the advantage he acquired by taking his 10th pole position of the season. Bottas overtook Vettel for second place, and for a moment it seemed Mercedes had the race in the bag already.

Verstappen, the winner of the Mexican GP two weeks ago, started in fifth and quickly overtook the two Ferraris, conquered Bottas on lap 10 and showed he would challenge Hamilton for the win.

After the world champion pitted on lap 19, it appeared Mercedes had made the wrong decision by giving Hamilton fresh tires before his rivals. Verstappen only stopped 16 laps later.

With 31 laps to go, Verstappen successfully challenged Hamilton and started building a lead before clashing with Ocon.

The British driver initially opened a lead of five seconds over Verstappen. But the Dutchman started climbing back on every lap, thanks to Hamilton's engine problems and medium tire deterioration.

The race at Interlagos marked the first time with no Brazilian drivers on the grid since 1970. Still, attendance was higher than last year's race when Felipe Massa bid farewell driving a Williams. The race's organization said around 150,000 fans had been at the track over three days, 10,000 more than last year.

Massa, who lost the 2008 title to Hamilton and is now a TV pundit, was sorry for Verstappen, but impressed with Hamilton's luck on Sunday.

"We are both huge fans of Ayrton Senna, who nailed some lucky wins every now and then. Only true champions like Hamilton nail wins like this, when all seems lost," the Brazilian said.

The final race of the season is at Abu Dhabi on Nov. 25.

___

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

People also read these

Russia rallies for gold in rhythmic gymnastics...

Aug 21, 2016

Russia rallies for gold in rhythmic gymnastics group final

Earnhardt Jr. said lingering symptoms kept him...

Sep 4, 2016

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is pointed toward getting healthy and returning to Hendrick Motorsports ins 2017

Hamlin finally wins a pole; will start first at...

Sep 10, 2016

Denny Hamlin has won the pole for Friday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at...

Astros keep up playoff push with victory over Cubs

Sep 11, 2016

Houston rookie Alex Bregman continued his hot streak with a homer that helped the Astros beat the...

Capitals thrash Flyers 5-0, Wild edge Blackhawks...

Jan 16, 2017

Justin Williams and Matt Niskanen each scored two goals and Philipp Grubauer stopped all 24 shots...

About Us

The World Insiders brings you exclusive coverage from across the globe in a timely, easy to consume format sourced directly from our regional media partners.

Contact us: sales[at]theworldinsiders.com

Subscribe Now!