F1: Hamilton wins in Brazil to keep title hopes alive

    The reigning world champion crossed the line 11.4 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg.

    Published On Nov 14, 2016 10:14:00 AM

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    F1: Hamilton wins in Brazil to keep title hopes alive

    Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix to take the Formula 1 title battle to a decider in Abu Dhabi.

    The reigning world champion crossed the line 11.4 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg and reduced his deficit to 12 points with 25 available.

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen pulled off a sensational drive - making up 13 positions in 16 laps to snatch third at Interlagos in a race that included two red flags and required the safety car on five occasions.

    Heavy rain delayed the start by 10 minutes, with the conditions so treacherous that Romain Grosjean, who was due to start seventh, crashed on the way to the grid.

    FIA race director Charlie Whiting elected to start the race behind the safety car, which stayed out for seven laps.

    Hamilton pulled out a big lead over Rosberg immediately at the start proper, with Verstappen passing Kimi Raikkonen into the Senna S to snatch third.

    Several drivers switched to intermediates but conditions remained tricky, as fifth-placed Sebastian Vettel proved by touching the white line at Juncao and spinning.

    The safety car was called back out when Marcus Ericsson aquaplaned into the wall after touching the kerb on the inside of the final corner.

    At the next restart on lap 20 of 71, Raikkonen aquaplaned on the main straight and slammed into the wall, prompting an almost immediate red flag.

    After a 35-minute delay, the race restarted behind the safety car only to be red-flagged again eight slow laps later as the conditions failed to improve, leading to boos from the crowd.

    It finally got back under way following a 27-minute stoppage and this time ran to the finish.

    As it resumed, Verstappen pulled off a sensational pass around the outside of Rosberg at Turn 3 to take second.

    The Dutchman also held a high-speed half-spin at the final corner without even losing a place to Rosberg.

    But soon afterwards Red Bull chose to switch to intermediates, first with Daniel Ricciardo and then with Verstappen.

    It proved the wrong call - Rosberg demonstrating how bad the weather still was as he had a half-spin out of Juncao without losing second - and when the safety car came out again following a crash for Felipe Massa, Red Bull chose to bring its drivers back in for wets.

    Massa was in tears as he walked back to the pits, a Brazilian flag draped around his shoulders, in what will be his final home race.

    The safety car came in for the last time with 15 laps to go, setting up a frantic finish as Verstappen fought his way up the field and the race finished just inside the two-hour limit.

    A series of outside-line passes brought Verstappen from 16th to the podium, while Hamilton pulled clear of Rosberg up front to seal a third-straight win.

    Sergio Perez finished fourth, followed by the recovering Vettel, who felt Verstappen pushed him off the track in the closing stages, and Carlos Sainz Jr.

    Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, ahead of Ricciardo and Felipe Nasr, who scored Sauber's first points of the season and moved the team ahead of Manor into 10th in the constructors' championship. Manor ran in the points with Esteban Ocon for much of the afternoon but he eventually slipped to 12th.

    Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 having been another spinner out of Juncao.

    RESULTS - 71 LAPS:

    POSDRIVERCARGAP
    1Lewis HamiltonMercedes3h01m01.335s
    2Nico RosbergMercedes11.455s
    3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault21.481s
    4Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes25.346s
    5Sebastian VettelFerrari26.334s
    6Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari29.160s
    7Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes-
    8Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault-
    9Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari-
    10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda-
    11Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes-
    12Esteban OconManor/Mercedes-
    13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Ferrari-
    14Kevin MagnussenRenault-
    15Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes-
    16Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda-
    -Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari-
    -Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes-
    -Jolyon PalmerRenault-
    -Kimi RaikkonenFerrari-
    -Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari-
    -Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari-

    DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

    POSDRIVERPOINTS
    1Nico Rosberg367
    2Lewis Hamilton355
    3Daniel Ricciardo246
    4Sebastian Vettel197
    5Max Verstappen192
    6Kimi Raikkonen178
    7Sergio Perez97
    8Valtteri Bottas85
    9Nico Hulkenberg66
    10Fernando Alonso53
    11Felipe Massa51
    12Carlos Sainz46
    13Romain Grosjean29
    14Daniil Kvyat25
    15Jenson Button21
    16Kevin Magnussen7
    17Felipe Nasr2
    18Jolyon Palmer1
    19Pascal Wehrlein1
    20Stoffel Vandoorne1
    21Esteban Gutierrez0
    22Marcus Ericsson0
    23Esteban Ocon0
    24Rio Haryanto0

    CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP:

    POSCONSTRUCTORPOINTS
    1Mercedes722
    2Red Bull/Renault446
    3Ferrari375
    4Force India/Mercedes163
    5Williams/Mercedes136
    6McLaren/Honda75
    7Toro Rosso/Ferrari63
    8Haas/Ferrari29
    9Renault8
    10Sauber/Ferrari2
    11Manor/Mercedes1

    Copyright (c) Autosport. All rights reserved.

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