At the end of Japanese F1 GP on October 9, Lewis Hamilton was a dejected man. He had taken the third place behind his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The triple World Champion British driver had conceded a 33-point lead to Rosberg as he prepared for the US GP at the Circuit of Americas. But the brilliant Briton would not yield. He won the US GP on October 23, Mexican GP on October 30 and the Brazilian GP yesterday. All his three victories were preceded by top pole positions earlier in those racing weeks. Though Hamilton trails Rosberg by 12 points, he can still become the 2016 World Championship if he wins the season finale at Abu Dhabi on November 27. But such result could come only with a difficult condition. The race leader Nico Rosberg must finish fourth or lower. That is asking for too much since the German driver is in a great nick and he will win his first ever World Championship by merely finishing third even if Hamilton takes the top spot. But to his credit, Lewis Hamilton has managed to take the fight to the wire. It is a funny situation for Hamilton since the 12-point difference can only be wiped out if Rosberg delivers a poor performance. The other highlights of the Brazilian GP were incessant rain and treacherous track conditions that caused several high-speed accidents, two stoppages and brought out the safety cars five times. Whether or not Hamilton wins the 2016 World Championship, he recorded his first-ever victory at Sao Paulo and overtook the legendary Alain Prost in number of race victories. It was Hamilton’s 9th win of the 2016 and his F1 career’s 52nd. With that, Hamilton is now the second most successful race winner of all time. Only Michael Schumacher with 91 wins is ahead of the Briton. Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg also credited themselves with fourth and seventh positions at Sao Paulo after ensuring that Force India would finish fourth in the Constructors’ Championship in the 2016 F1 season.
In one of the most chaotic F1 races ever, the Brazilian GP at the Sao Paulo’s Interlagos Circuit took a long time to finish. It rained and rained even as the drivers prepared themselves for the start. Haas driver Romain Grosjean was so unlucky that his car crashed in the installation lap itself. That caused a 10-minute delay to the start. The track had plenty of water but the organizers couldn’t delay the start any further and they all got going at 4.12 PM local time. Lewis Hamilton led the pack but water spraying from the safety car was slowing him down. The safety car was still there at lap-3 but Hamilton did his best to keep himself in the lead position. This continued until lap-18 but rain intensified and safety car came back because the track had lot of debris. On lap-20, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen suffered a crash and went out of the race. That called for the safety car yet again and a restart. The race kept stopping for one reason or the other. It was very unlike what F1 lovers had seen any time.
Amid the chaos and drama, Lewis Hamilton produced a masterful performance. At each restart, he managed to scurry himself to the front. The Briton needed to win here because victory for Nico Rosberg would have made the German 2016 World Champion at Brazil itself. Hamilton’s poor starts earlier in the season had shifted the lead to Rosberg and it was Hamilton’s last chance to remain in the World Championship contention. Victories in USA and Mexico had helped him reduce his deficit to Rosberg and despite difficult conditions at Interlagos, the 2014 & 2015 champion didn’t want to give in without a fight. At one point, Hamilton had an 18-point lead over Rosberg but arrival of the safety car spoiled it. Regardless, Hamilton led all the way and his only trouble occurred when water seeped through his helmet visor earlier in the race. He changed the helmet at his first stop and kept enjoying the lead. Behind the winner, there was mayhem on the track in a crash-filled race that was twice stopped and re-started. There were five safety car periods and long delays after several cars got off track. Rosberg got lucky as he survived a half-spin of his own and managed to finish second. The third spot was taken by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of Force India driver Sergio Perez. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fifth, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr sixth, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg seventh, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo eighth, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr ninth and McLaren driver Fernando Alonso finished tenth.
After securing the fourth place in the Constructors’ Championships, Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg both had a great race in Brazil. While Perez missed the podium and finished fourth, Hulkenberg worked hard to take the seventh spot. Hulkenberg faced the debris from Kimi Raikkonen’s crashing Ferrari and later had a tyre puncture. That resulted in sending him to the 15th spot at one time but he managed to finish seventh in the end.
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