Lewis Hamilton drove brilliantly at the Brazilian Grand Prix – taking a superb victory to narrow his world championship deficit to Max Verstappen to a tantalising 14 points.
The defending champion, chasing his eighth world title, blasted up from 10th on the grid after an engine penalty, using every bit of BHP in his super-powered Mercedes to best advantage. He has rarely driven better.
For huge junks of the 71-lap race the two rivals for the biggest prize in motor racing scrapped it out, mano a mano. Barely a second, often less, separated Hamilton and Verstappen, the Dutchman who led for most of the afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton has won the Brazilian Grand Prix after a dramatic overtake of Max Verstappen
The Mercedes star hails the crowd after the race, who supported him and cheered his overtake
Sir Lewis unfurled a Brazilian flag to the adoring masses after securing the win in Sao Paulo
Hamilton is doused in champagne by Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas after his victory
Hamilton came within a whisker of passing the Red Bull on lap 48. They arm-wrestled through the open bends, only for Verstappen to move across and run Hamilton out of room on the left-hander Turn 4.
The incident was noted but race director Michael Masi deemed that no action was necessary. Hamilton was told of the non-investigation and said sarcastically: ‘Of course not. Of course.’
Hamilton was soon again all over Verstappen like a rash. He pinned his foot to the floor and passed the 24-year-old, who was unable to resist the onslaught. Hamilton zoomed by with some comfort on lap 59.
The stands stood in awesome wonder.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the race for a long time but could not resist Hamilton’s advances
Verstappen pushed Hamilton wide of track but the Red Bull escaped any punishment
The defending champion emerged victorious from their enthralling game of cat-and-mouse
Only a lap earlier Verstappen had weaved all over the shop in trying to shrug Hamilton off. He was awarded a black-and-white flag – the one-more-and-you’re-out warning. Quite right.
Hamilton, who zipped past seven rivals as if they were bollards in the opening five laps, has now seized the momentum on a weekend that has chucked a lot at him.
First, the engine penalty and then being relegated to the back of the sprint race for having an illegal rear wing.
Three races remain: in Qatar next week and then in Saudi Arabia on December 5 and Abu Dhabi on December 12. Seventy eight points are up for grabs.
Pianist Joao Carlos Martins played the Brazil national anthem on track before the race began
Want to relive proceedings from a dramatic Grand Prix in Brazil? Follow live coverage from Sportsmail‘s MAX MATHEWS below, including build-up, all the lap-by-lap updates and results.
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