Sebastian Vettel has won the Brazilian Grand Prix from polesitter Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The German set up his win by getting ahead of Bottas into Turn 1 on the opening lap, despite the Mercedes getting a better initial getaway. He fended off the best advances of Bottas, with Mercedes trying the undercut on lap 28 and although close, Vettel remained ahead for the rest of the race.
Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen, although close to Bottas, didn’t have the pace to challenge his fellow Finn. Under attack from Lewis Hamilton towards the end of the race, he was able to just hold the Mercedes off in the final laps to retain the final podium position.
Hamilton rose to fourth place after starting in the pit lane due to his qualifying accident. He had a series of early overtakes on Lance Stroll, Marcus Ericsson and Pierre Gasly, making his way into the top 10 by lap 8. As he got ahead of a battling Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, he was 16 seconds down on Vettel by lap 21.
Hamilton’s only pit stop was on lap 44, which brought him out behind Max Verstappen. As the Red Bull driver was struggling with his tyres, he got ahead of the Dutchman on lap 59. Overcoming Raikkonen was too much though, despite only being a handful of seconds behind Vettel at the line.
Battling at the front of the field for most of the race, Verstappen’s tyres went away from him at the end of the race. With a large gap behind him to his team-mate, it gave him a free pit stop and let him have some fun by taking the lap record, but it was only for fifth.
Like Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo had to make a recovery drive after his engine penalty saw him start 14th. It was hampered even more at the start when he collided with Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen in Turn 2 on the opening lap. He then made some stunning overtakes, some which didn’t even look possible in the dry and mirrored Hamilton’s strategy but wasn’t anywhere near the same pace.
Behind the Red Bulls was one of the biggest battles of the race for seventh. In his last grand prix in his homeland, Massa was able to keep Alonso behind him for the majority of the race, with an ever-advancing Sergio Perez in the final laps. Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.
The opening lap saw two accidents which brought out the safety car. An initial accident between Ricciardo, Magnussen and Vandoorne saw the Haas and McLaren retire in Turn 2, one which would be investigated after the race.
Romain Grosjean then collided with Esteban Ocon in Turn 6, wiping out the Force India. It was the first retirement in F1 for Ocon, with Grosjean picking up a ten-second penalty and two penalty points. The other retirement was Brendon Hartley, who was asked to stop by the team on Lap 42.