Hamilton wins stunning Brazilian GP to slash Verstappen championship lead

Lewis Hamilton put in one of the great Formula One performances in Sao Paulo, as he made a quite remarkable recovery to secure victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of title rival Max Verstappen.

Just 24 hours earlier the Englishman found himself in dead last heading into Saturday's sprint, however an impressive showing there saw him gain 15 spots to finish fifth.

This, alongside his grid penalty saw him start Sunday's race in 10th, but he went on to prove just why he is a seven-time world champion, as he flew past the rest of the field to secure one of his great victories, keeping up the pressure on Verstappen at the top of the drivers' standings.

It was Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who started in pole in Sao Paulo, and as the lights went out it seemed the Finn had started well – but not as well as Verstappen.

Coming from second the Dutchman managed to squeeze his way into top spot, and he was then followed by teammate Sergio Perez, as he took advantage of Bottas taking turn two wide to pip him into second.

Meanwhile Hamilton – like his remarkable sprint showing – flew out of the traps and following lap one he was able to climb from 10th into sixth as he looked to make the ground lost through his five-place penalty.

The Englishman knew that if he was to keep himself in the title race a big performance in Brazil was more than required, and it seemed he was more than in the mood in the Sao Paulo sun.

By the end of just the second lap the seven-time world champion had already forced his way into a podium spot, as he made up seven places to move into third in just two laps.


Six laps in the safety car occurred due to debris across the race track after Yuki Tsunoda lost part of his front wing.

With the safety car still out on the track Hamilton was overheard on the radio telling his team: "Tell Valtteri to follow me for the restart – let's get these guys" and it seems the Englishman was a man of his word.

By lap 18 the seven-time world champion finally had his title rival in his sights, as he breezed past Verstappen’s teammate Perez to ensure the pair at the top of the standings were the pair leading the race.

As Hamilton and Verstappen began their battle both drivers reported to their teams that they were losing grip on their rear tyres, and it was Mercedes who were the first to bite the bullet as the Englishman returned into the pits for a change.

Two laps later Red Bull also followed suit as the Dutchman headed in for his tyre change, however this allowed the Englishman to cut down his advantage to just under a second by the halfway stage.

Verstappen continued to just edge out Hamilton throughout the midway point of the race, but it was the Dutchman who was called in for a second tyre switch first, 40 laps in allowing Hamilton to battle his way into top spot for the first time.

However as is to be expected Hamilton made his way back in on lap 42, surrendering his lead but reappeared for the business end of the race with tyres that were two laps fresher than his title challenger.

The race was turning into one of the great battles of the season and after beginning deep into the grid in 10th, Hamilton looked to make his first strong move to overtake the Dutchman on lap 46.

This led to Verstappen looking to defend his all-important lead in controversial style, as he forced Hamilton – and himself – wide off the track leading to a steward review.

The FIA later confirmed that no investigation was necessary meaning if Hamilton was to pip Verstappen he was going to have to do it off his own merit, rather than with the help of a possible five-second penalty.

But it seemed the seven-time world champion didn't need the assisted help as he finally slipped ahead of his title rival on lap 59 to the delight of the Brazilian crowd, who let out the biggest cheer of the weekend.

If there had been any doubt about Hamilton's credentials in recent weeks, he was no doubt putting those to bed in Sao Paulo.

Having found himself dead last for Saturday's sprint, the world champion now remarkably found himself the man leading the race with just 10 laps to go.

Following his quite brilliant overtake the Englishman held on to cap off one of the great Hamilton – and Formula 1 – performances in recent time.

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