Hamilton wins the Sao Paulo GP to reduce Verstappen’s lead to 14 with three races left in F1

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Lewis Hamilton took a pivotal victory as he attempted to clinch the Formula 1 championship with a magnificent performance at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Verstappen had extended his lead in the title race on Saturday when he finished second behind Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in the sprint qualifying race.

Hamilton saw Friday’s qualifying session result ruled out due to a DRS infraction, meaning he started the sprint race last, but moved up from 20th to fifth place, only for a five-place penalty. on the grid, which means he started tenth on Sunday.

Yet the reigning world champion delivered a memorable victory, climbing eight positions in the early exchanges before, on his third attempt, overtaking Verstappen with 12 laps to go.

Verstappen and Sergio Perez had gone on to score a Red Bull brace at the start, with Bottas unable to keep control of the race, but Hamilton made sure it was Mercedes weekend by cutting the Dutchman’s championship lead to 14. points.

The safety car was deployed in the early stages, with Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll colliding, while Lando Norris had a puncture on the first lap and was forced to pit immediately.

Hamilton had however made a brilliant start and his charge on the track saw him catch up with leader Verstappen on lap 48.

Verstappen did not open spaces at turn four, forcing Hamilton to widen, with both cars leaving the track before straightening up with Red Bull maintaining the lead.

To Mercedes’ frustration, the incident was noticed by the stewards, but not investigated. Hamilton tried again 10 laps later, once again found his path blocked by Verstappen, who set the straight on the straight.

However, he only delayed the inevitable, as Hamilton was lucky for a third time when he finally overtook his rival for the title before Turn Four on lap 59.

Verstappen’s frustration was compounded by a penalty for his previous lap, although Perez at least picked up the fastest lap to take away a point from Hamilton, with Bottas completing the podium.

WAS VERSTAPPEN LUCKY?

It was an all-powerful fight between title rivals at turn four on lap 48, with Verstappen just managing to maintain his lead.

Hamilton, who called the crash “crazy”, was sure there had been an infringement, but being unclear whether Verstappen had taken his counterpart off the track, the FIA ​​decided not to investigate, much to Mercedes’ chagrin.

HISTORY FOR HAMILTON

Hamilton has won 17 races in the Americas (seven in Canada, six in the United States, two in Brazil and two in Mexico).

It means he surpasses the legendary Michael Schumacher as the driver with the most F1 victories in the four nations.

TOP 10

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) + 10.496s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) + 13.576s
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) + 39.940s
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) + 49.517s
6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) + 51.820s
7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +1 LAP
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +1 LAP
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1 LAP
10. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1 LAP

CLASSIFICATION OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 332.5
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 318.5
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 203
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 178
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 151

Builders

1. Mercedes 521.5
2. Red Bull 510.5
3. Ferrari 287.5
4. McLaren 256
5. Alpine 112

What’s next?

Three races of the season remain, with the next Qatar, then a two-week break before the last two Grands Prix, which will see Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. The title race is going to the limit.

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