Hamilton puts in masterclass in São Paulo to take dominating Brazilian GP win

November 15, 2021

The seven-time World Champion charged from P10 to victory, brushing aside the Red Bull challenge.

Lewis Hamilton took home the Brazilian Grand Prix with relative ease after being involved in another epic duel with his championship rival Max Verstappen, charging from P10 to take the win.

Hamilton, who started P10 after taking a five-place grid penalty for engine changes, drove a near-perfect race to take a win that is not only crucial for his Championship battle, but for his team’s tussle with Red Bull for the Constructors’ Championship as well.

Verstappen did his best to hold on to second place, while pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas rounded up the podium places to ensure Mercedes held the lead in the Constructors’.

Sergio Pérez finished fourth ahead of the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, while the lone remaining AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly took seventh place ahead of his fellow countryman, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, whose teammate Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris rounded up the points places, with the latter putting in an impressive drive to finish in the points after being last at the end of the first lap.


Bottas seemed to have gotten away well off the line, but his front-row starter, Max Verstappen, did what the Finn had done in the Sprint — taking the lead from P2. Both the Red Bulls seemed to have strong pace as Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Pérez, attacked Bottas as well to take second place.

By the time the race headed into the first corner, we had a Red Bull one-two. Just as the Red Bull cars were making gains up front, Hamilton, who started tenth, had an even better start, breezing past Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo to take sixth, just behind the Ferrari of Sainz.

The Ferrari wasn’t in front of Hamilton for too long, though, as the Brit eased past Sainz with tremendous speed. The following lap, he took down Sainz’s teammate Leclerc to go fourth, and by Lap 4, he had already halved his deficit.

Hamilton was on the tail of his teammate now, and Bottas played the perfect team game to let the Englishman overtake him.

Just as Hamilton was beginning to attack Pérez for second place, the race saw its first safety car. Further down the grid, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda had come together with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, with the rookie Japanese driver losing his front wing as a result.

The safety car came in on Lap 10 and racing resumed, but just two laps in and the virtual safety car was out as there was debris on the track.

As racing resumed the following lap, McLaren’s Lando Norris, who had taken an early pit stop after suffering a left rear puncture in the opening lap that resulted in him falling to the bottom of the grid, managed to weave his way to P15.

Norris’ compatriot Hamilton did manage to overtake Pérez on Lap 17, but the Mexican used the DRS to fight back and retake the second place on Lap 18. Hamilton, though, made the move stick at the end of the 18th lap as he charged at Pérez’s Red Bull on the main straight and roared past him at the end of the Senna S.

Twenty laps in, and Hamilton had no one in between him and Verstappen; the seven-time World Champion had his eyes set on the Dutchman.

Hamilton was the first amongst the top three to pit, coming in on Lap 27, and he rejoined in sixth place on a hard set of tyres. The following lap, both the Red Bulls reacted to the Mercedes call and came into the pits, and with Leclerc pitting too, Hamilton eased past Ricciardo to take third behind Verstappen. Mercedes left Bottas out in an attempt to back Verstappen up into Hamilton or at least slow him down. Given the pace Hamilton was showcasing, it didn’t look like a bad strategy.

The virtual safety car came out once again on Lap 30 and with the drivers running on reduced speeds, Bottas took the opportunity to get a smart pit stop done and re-emerged in third. Verstappen now led from Hamilton, but the Dutchman just had little over a second over him, and it was only a matter of time before the Brit caught up with him.

Verstappen came into the pits once again on Lap 41 and Hamilton made the most of this opportunity to not just simply take the lead, for by the time the Red Bull driver rejoined the track, the Brit was a good 20 seconds ahead of him.

The next lap saw Bottas come into the pits, answering to Verstappen’s call, while Pérez came in the following lap as well. Hamilton was the last of the top four to come in for his second stop, which he eventually did on Lap 44 and then rejoined in second place, just under three seconds behind Verstappen.

Within a lap’s time, Hamilton brought down that lead to less than two seconds. He was attacking Verstappen every lap, coming within tenths of the Dutchman.

On Lap 48, Hamilton went around Verstappen off the back straight to just edge ahead, but Verstappen, in a desperate attempt to keep his position, pushed Hamilton off the track but himself ended up off-track as well.

While the teams did put their views across to the race stewards, surprisingly, the stewards decided that it was legal and no action was necessary, much to the agony of Mercedes. Hamilton quipped sarcastically on the radio to his team and knew that he had to get this done on the track and on pure merit.

Further down the grid, Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo both retired due to mechanical and technical issues on Laps 50 and 51 respectively.

After riding in DRS range for almost ten laps, Hamilton finally swept past Verstappen on Lap 59, making Verstappen defend on the inside going into Turn 1 and then attacking on the outside at Turns 2 and 3 before zooming past his championship rival at Turn 4.

Hamilton had gotten pole on Friday, was disqualified on Saturday, had charged to fifth place for the Sprint, had taken a five-place grid penalty to start P10, and had yet managed to brush aside his competition to take the lead.

As Hamilton took the lead, the reaction of the crowd showed it all. Interlagos was on its feet and roaring for the World Champion. Lewis Hamilton had just put in a drive that showcased why he has seven titles.

Once Hamilton took the lead, he distanced himself from Verstappen. Mercedes’ boss Toto Wolff was on the radio to the other Mercedes driver, asking Bottas to attack Verstappen and limit the Dutchman’s points from the weekend. Although Bottas tried, the Finn just didn’t have enough laps to get close to Verstappen, and by the time the chequered flag fell on the 71st lap, Bottas was three seconds off the Red Bull driver.

Verstappen’s teammate finished fourth, ahead of the Ferrari duo, which saw the Scuderia take a 31.5-point lead in the Constructors’ fight with McLaren. Only one McLaren saw the finish line, taking home a solitary point.


Gasly’s lone fight for P7 meant that AlphaTauri somehow managed to stay tied with Alpine on points, but the Italian team know that if they want that fifth place in the Constructors’, it’s going to take both of their drivers to get that position.

Hamilton’s sensational drive means he is only 14 points behind Verstappen, and a double podium for the German team sees them take an 11-point lead in the Constructors’ Championship. Verstappen and Red Bull might speak about damage limitation in Brazil, but the signs are ominous for the Austrian team.

Interlagos was a circuit where Red Bull should have had the edge, but not only did they get smashed by Mercedes, Hamilton and Mercedes now have the momentum going into Qatar and, more importantly, they seem to have found some much needed speed.

The final triple header of the season comes to an end next weekend at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix, and as Formula One heads to one of its newest circuits, it is definitely advantage Mercedes, and it will be Red Bull and Max Verstappen playing catch-up if they want to remain in the title fights.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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