Max wins crazy Brazilian Grand Prix: 'Great to win the race'

Published on 17 November 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen took the win gloriously home in a spectacular Brazilian Grand Prix. The Dutch Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-driver, who started the race from pole, kept the lead at the start. Max lost his lead to Lewis Hamilton twice after a pit stop, but both times Max was able to very quickly overtake the Mercedes-driver. Both Ferraris came into contact with each other with still six laps to go, triggering a safety car on track. Max had a great re-start and took the chequered flag magnificently, his third win this season. Pierre Gasly snatched second place for Toro Rosso, while Carlos Sainz came in third fastest in his McLaren.  This meant the first time both gentlemen were on the podium in their Formula 1-career.

“It was incredible. It was a lot of fun out there and it is great to win the race”, says a very happy Max after the race. “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing”, Max continues. “We did a great job as a team. Lewis pitted all the time one lap earlier, so we really had to be on top of our pit stops. Two times we had a good move on him, so that brought us back into first all the time. From there onwards I could control the race.”

After his first stop Max lost the lead, but that was just for a brief moment: “We could have prepared the first stop better. I was behind Lewis when I got back on track, so I was pushing full speed ahead in my outlap to get as close as I could behind of him. Lewis had some traffic, so that worked out well for me. In the final corner I knew I had to overtake Charles Leclerc, if not, Lewis would have taken off. I braked very late and got DRS. I also got full power. We knew that the whole weekend we had good top speed and I didn’t think Lewis expected me, because he reacted very late. I was very happy to get by. After that, the stint was very good. We maintained the same pace and he wasn’t able to get close.”

During the first safety car-phase, Max dropped back to second again behind of Hamilton due to a pit stop. Lewis Hamilton didn’t make a stop. And also this time he was able to make short work of the Briton at Turn one: “When the safety car emerged on track, the team made a good strategic call to put me on the softs. At the re-start Hamilton took off very early which benefitted me very well. It was a super nice move and he left me enough space. Then we had a fight at Turn four, but here as well I managed to come out on top.”

With the 25 points for his win and both Ferraris dropping out, Max has a firm grip on the third spot in the championship. Max is determined to retain his third place with just one more race ahead: “We are third in the standings and eleven points up, while we were fourteen points down when we got here. So that is also very good and we need to try and keep hold of that.”

Max gets to start the race from the best possible position after having displayed a dominating performance during qualifying where he took pole position. Verstappen gets well off the line from pole and maintains the lead entering the first corner. At the end of the first lap, Max is a-second-and-a-half up on his immediate competitor, Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel is by then third fastest.

On lap eight, Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen come into contact with each other at Turn four. The Dane spins and is able to continue on, while Ricciardo has suffered damage to his front wing and needs to pit to have it replaced. The Ozzie also gets slapped with a five-second time-penalty for causing a collision. Max is by then a comfortably running 2,5 second ahead on Hamilton.

In the laps following, the gap between Verstappen and Hamilton remains steady. The Briton stops on lap 21 and changes his softs for a new set of the soft compound. After a flawless stop, Max is hindered by Robert Kubica’s Williams as he exits the pits. The causes him to lose a spot to Hamilton. Verstappen and Hamilton both overtake Leclerc who hasn’t made a stop yet. Max then continues to immediately overtake Hamilton on the straight. On lap 27 Max takes back the lead when Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas as well do their stops.

Hamilton does a second stop on lap 44, while Max follows suit a lap later. Verstappen swaps the softs for the medium compound tyre in his 1,9 second lasting pit stop and rejoins in second. Some six seconds behind of Vettel. The Dutchman is gaining massively on the front runner Vettel on his fresh tyres. The German stops on lap 50 and hands back the lead to Verstappen.

On lap 52, Bottas becomes the first drop out of the race. The Finn is forced to park his car trackside with some technical issues. The safety car is triggered, giving Verstappen the chance to do his third stop. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-team strap on a fresh set of the softs on the RB15 and Max rejoins in second. Behind of Hamilton, who didn’t stop.

When the safety car period ends on lap 60, Max immediately overtakes Hamilton with a bold move on the outside of Turn one and takes back the lead. Team mate Alexander Albon follows suit with a same move on Vettel to claim P3.

The Ferraris battle it out on lap 65 and come into contact with each other on the straight before Turn four. Leclerc destroys his right front tyre while Vettel’s right rear is in shambles. Both drivers drop out as the debris is scattered on the track. This brings out the safety car once more. Hamilton then does his third stop. This results in Alexander Albon move up to second fastest and Pierre Gasly to P3. With still two laps to go, the safety car heads back in. Hamilton immediately overtakes Gasly and also tries to make short work of Albon. The two tangle which sends Albon spinning and Hamilton damaging his front wing. Gasly sees his opportunity and passes Hamilton again. On the final lap, Hamilton mounts the pressure on the Frenchman and the two of them charge to the finish line side by side. The Toro Rosso-driver manages to keep his lead on Hamilton by a very small margin, taking the flag in second. The ecstatic Gasly manages to score his first ever Formula 1- career podium.

Max Verstappen takes his third win of the season very dominantly. This also puts him third in the standings. Hamilton crosses the line third fastest but is handed a five-second time-penalty after the race because of the skirmish with Albon. The Mercedes-driver drops back all the way to P7, which gets Carlos Sainz promoted to third fastest. This is also the Spaniard first ever Formula 1-career podium finish. Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo finish fourth and fifth, while Daniel Ricciardo takes the flag in P6. Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat round up the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Brazil:

posdriverteamlapstimepoints
1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda711:33:14.67825
2Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda71+6.077s18
3Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault71+8.896s15
4Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari71+9.452s12
5Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari71+10.201s10
6Daniel RicciardoRICRenault71+10.541s8
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes71+11.139s6
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault71+11.204s4
9Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes71+11.529s2
10Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda71+11.931s1
11Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari71+12.732s0
12George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes71+13.599s0
13Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari71+14.247s0
14Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda71+14.927s0
15Nico HulkenbergHULRenault71+18.059s0
16Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes70+1 lap0
17Sebastian VettelVETFerrari65DNF0
18Charles LeclercLECFerrari65DNF0
19Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes65DNF0
0Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes51DNF0