F1 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix result: Hamilton reigns supreme to win in Brazil

PUBLISHED: 19:16 13 November 2016 | UPDATED: 21:48 13 November 2016

Lewis Hamilton won the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix [Picture: Daimler AG/Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton won the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix [Picture: Daimler AG/Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton reigned supreme in the wet to win a rain-lashed 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo.

The 31-year-old Mercedes F1 star from Hertfordshire took the chequered flag with a brilliant drive in the penultimate race of the 2016 season from pole position to keep alive his world title hopes.

Hamilton comfortably won for the first time in Brazil ahead of Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg, with 19-year-old Max Verstappen third.

It was Lewis’ ninth of the season so far and he has now won at 24 different circuits.

“I’ve dreamed of winning in Brazil ever since I started watching Ayrton Senna when I was a little boy,” said Hamilton.

The victory was Hamilton’s 52nd career win in F1, relegating Alain Prost to third on the all-time list.

“I was generally just chillin’ up front,” said Hamilton after another masterclass in the rain. When it rains it’s usually a good day for me. I want to say thanks to the team.”

After a seventh Silver Arrows 1-2 of the season, Rosberg (367) now leads the championship standings by 12 points from Stevenage-born Hamilton (355) with just one race to go.

An incident-packed Brazilian GP started behind the Safety Car, and was twice red-flagged on a wet track at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace today (Sunday).

The Safety Car was deployed again on lap 49 when home hero Felipe Massa crashed at the first corner in his final Brazilian GP.

At that stage three-time world champion Hamilton was leading the race from Mercedes rival Rosberg, with Max Verstappen – the only driver on inters on a wet track – down in fifth place.

However, the Red Bull racer pitted under the Safety Car, with the tyres clearly not suited to the conditions.

That stop dropped him down the field. However, the Dutch teenager superbly battled back over the closing laps to claim a podium position, finishing third behind the Silver Arrows pair.

The 2016 FIA Formula One World Driver’s Championship will now be decided at the final race of the season – Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg will be crowned champion for the first time if he finishes third or better in Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time.

Hamilton said: “I’m glad that it’s come down to the last race. All I can do is focus on being as strong as I have been in these past few races.

“If I can do that, I’ll know in my heart what I’ve achieved this year.”

The grand prix was dominated by the weather, with a consistent, light rain prompting a start behind the Safety Car for the first seven laps.

Thereafter, the race was run behind the Safety Car following Marcus Ericsson’s accident, restarted and red-flagged following Kimi Raikkonen’s heavy crash on the start/finish straight, restarted, and red-flagged for a second time as the rain worsened, run behind the Safety Car once more after Felipe Massa spun and crashed.

On today’s result, Hamilton said: “I’ve just won my first Brazilian Grand Prix! I remember watching Ayrton win back in 1991 and thinking ‘one day, that’s what I want to do’.

“I shared his emotion that day and now I can finally understand how he felt. It’s the 44th Grand Prix here as well, so it’s a really special one for me.

“To win on Senna’s turn in front of that crowd... it’s a moment I’ll never forget and I genuinely can’t believe it’s finally come.

“It’s crazy – all these years it’s been so hard to win this race and then today was one of the easiest wins I’ve had.

“Of course, in those conditions I could easily have made a mistake at any point.

“But I was generally very relaxed out there today and felt completely in control. I love driving in the rain.

“It must come from years of racing around the UK as a kid. It’s all in the mind – keeping your cool, not making mistakes, having great reactions and knowing where to put the car.

“It was one of those races where I was able to focus purely on driving.

“That one set of tyres just kept going and going, I didn’t have any problems at all and the car was really fantastic.”

Hamilton also paid tribute to the Mercedes team. “I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone back at both factories who have worked so hard to give us such an incredible car. This result is all down to them.

“Every week we’re making another piece of history and we’ve out-and-out proven that we’re the best team by far, in every area.

“Our hospitality is the best, our food is the best, our guys in the garage are the best, the guys back in the factory are the best, our cars are the best... it’s so rare to see every area so spot on and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

After taking second place, Rosberg has one hand on the title. He graciously congratulated Hamilton on his victory though.

Nico said: “Lewis did a better job today and deserved the win, so I must be happy with P2.

“Max [Verstappen] also did a good job. We knew that the Red Bull would be very strong in the wet but he drove a great race.

“Now I look forward to Abu Dhabi, where I have good memories from last year. I will be going all out for the win there.”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, was delighted to claim a 1-2 in Brazil.

“To come away with such a result in a race like that is really quite something,” said Hamilton’s team boss.

“You simply can’t expect a 1-2 in such conditions. It’s a rare achievement and the whole team is to be congratulated for that. I’m very happy with the result.

“When you consider the circumstances, it’s maybe the best result of the season.

“It was a faultless drive from Lewis, with easily the best pace of the field, while Nico showed his strength to stand firm in P2.”

Wolff added: “Now, we have a showdown in Abu Dhabi – just as Bernie would have ordered it. Our job is simple – give both drivers the cars they need to fight to the flag on track.”

Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe described the result as “absolutely mind-blowing”.

He said: “To get a 1-2 from a day like that is really incredible. Most of the credit for that must go to the drivers, who kept their heads in very difficult conditions.

“It was great to see such a thrilling race in the end too for the crowd at this iconic circuit. Such difficult weather makes it tough to run a safe race and their dedication must be applauded.

“In the end we had a lot of exciting racing, so I’m happy for them.

“From a technical point of view, to us it was clearly a full wet race all afternoon. Twice, others gambled on the intermediate tyre – but we resisted that temptation as the data simply didn’t support it and neither did the drivers.

“On both the initial start and the two re-starts, that proved to be absolutely the right call. Credit to the team and the drivers for making those choices, which won the race for us today.

“Congratulations to Lewis on becoming the second most winning driver in Formula One history. We now take the Championship finale to the final race in Abu Dhabi, which is a perfect outcome for the sport.”

While there was another double podium for the Mercedes team, Fernando Alonso salvaged McLaren Honda a single world championship point after a truly chaotic race in Brazil.

It was at the final restart, on lap 55, that Alonso dropped out of the top 10 after spinning at Turn 13.

His combat drive from the back of the field was stunning, netting 10th position on the penultimate lap.

“I think we were aiming for something better today,” said Alonso.

“I started 10th and finished 10th, and there were some retirements in front of me, so we definitely didn’t take some of the opportunities that presented themselves out there.

“The conditions were extremely difficult today. Sometimes it was just enough to keep the car on track. There was very poor visibility and the drainage on the circuit wasn’t great – I had some aquaplaning which made it hard to push the car and close the gap ahead.

“In the end, we scored one point. Hopefully, in Abu Dhabi we can finish the season on a high.”

Jenson Button struggled in the conditions, still unhappy with the balance of his car following yesterday’s qualifying sessions.

Regardless of whichever tyre he chose, he couldn’t get the rear-end to work, and finished 16th.

Button said: “After today’s race, we need to go back to the factory and work out what it is that’s wrong with the car.

“During Friday practice, it was working really well; I was comfortable with the car and in the high-speed corners we had a strong rear-end.

“Yesterday, it wasn’t working, and today it was further exaggerated by the conditions.

“In terms of the restarts, those were very difficult conditions in which to judge what’s right and what’s wrong, but nobody was injured – and that’s the most important thing.

“Finishing last is unusual for me in conditions like these – so there’s definitely something wrong. I don’t think I’ve forgotten how to drive in the wet.”

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