Lewis Hamilton got a fortunate victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lost the lead in a collision with backmarker Esteban Ocon.
Verstappen was on course for a superb win when Force India’s Ocon left his car on the inside of the Red Bull at the Senna S and pitched it into a spin in a remarkable moment at Interlagos which robbed the Dutchman of a deserved victory.
Courtesy of Hamilton’s victory, his 50th of F1’s current turbo-hybrid era in 99 races, Mercedes were crowned constructors’ champions for a fifth successive year. They never looked like losing that as Ferrari’s challenge faded but the race win was another matter.
Although Hamilton managed to keep Verstappen at bay, both Mercedes cars had to make early pit-stops before putting on the long-lasting medium tyres. Verstappen, having also started on the supersofts, carried on for another 15 laps before slotting on the softs.
Hamilton reclaimed track position over Verstappen when the Red Bull stopped, but was quickly reeled in and passed.
That looked to be the race’s crunch moment. But the Verstappen-Ocon clash changed all that, enabling Hamilton to inherit a victory which he celebrated with euphoria as a 21-year-old raged on a contrasting day of celebration and confrontation.