Mercedes have worked through the night to rebuild Hamilton’s car, new engine package along with new gearbox and front and rear suspension with new floor; it’s a new WO8 Mercedes F1 car that sat awaiting Hamilton in Brazil for the race, but with all the new parts, Hamilton starting the race from the pit lane.
Pit lane start maybe the best place for Hamilton to be starting from, with clear skies there is always the chance of contact between the cars into the first corner and Hamilton can avoid this with his pit lane start today.
Ricciardo takes a 10 Place Grid Penalty in the Red Bull, as does Hartley in the Toro Rosso while his team mate Gasly takes 25 Place Grid Penalty, while Ericsson in the Sauber and Stroll in the Williams both take 5 Place Grid Penalties all for engine changes this weekend.
Felipe Massa has already been crying as he drove to the grid, but a point’s finish in the top ten today will be a great way to end his F1 career for the second time in front of his home crowd.
A fast warm up lap lead by Bottas the F1 car lined up on the grid waiting for the five red lights to go out the Brazilian Grand Prix is go.
Vettel gets passed Bottas into turn one and leads the way towards turn three, but Magnussen puts the squeeze on Vandoorne who clips Ricciardo breaking his front suspension in the exit to turn two, that results in Ricciardo spinning, but coming back on track, as Vandoorne limps and stops on track, retiring the McLaren bringing out the Safety Car.
Turn seven as Vandoorne stops the McLaren, Ocon in the Force India and Grosjean in the Haas are side by side, neither giving an inch, but the Safety Car sign is to late for Ocon as Grosjean spins, losing grip in the wake of the Force India running so close beside him, both cars spin out, but the Force India has two punctures and its race over for Ocon.
Magnussen also has damage from that first corner touch with the McLaren and also retires from the race as Hamilton is now up to P14 as he missed all the action starting safely from the pit lane.
The safety car leads the F1 pack through the pit lane while the McLaren is cleared away and Ricciardo stops for tyres.
Lap six and the race restarts with Massa passing Alonso for P5, the crowd go wild and hopes of a top five finish briefly tease the Brazilian crowd.
Lap 9 and Hamilton is on the move up to P10 and then lap 12 its P8 while Ricciardo moves into P12.
Hamilton is flying with only Perez in the Force India putting up a fight with him on lap 14, but works Mercedes engine, fresh for the race is turned right up and Hamilton is now free to close in on Alonso and Massa.
Lap 20 Hamilton passes Alonso then the next lap passes Massa for P5, Hamilton is flying and a podium finish maybe on the cards, from last place to P5 in twenty-one laps, a stunning performance from the World Champion.
Grosjean is awarded a 10 Second Time Penalty for causing a Collision with Ocon and is not told until he takes his pit stop later in the race and then lets loose a verbal battering of frustration.
Lap 28 and Bottas makes his pit stop followed in the next lap by Vettel and then Raikkonen and Verstappen. With the top having stopped, it’s Hamilton leading the race.
Vettel stop was perfect with him re-joining the track, less than half a second ahead of Bottas, but within the lap, Vettel had pulled out a 1.5 second gap and kept on building the gap to hold a 3 second lead over the chasing Mercedes.
Bottas, was unable to match or close the gap to Vettel, while Raikkonen seems unable to close the gap to Bottas with the top three all within eight seconds it was going to be close finish.
Hamilton leading the race and three seconds in front of Vettel finally pitted for fresh tyres on lap 44, returning to P5 and closed up on Verstappen in the Red Bull passing him on lap 59 for P4.
Clear air and Hamilton started setting fastest laps, lap after lap down into the 1.11 on lap 61 and then Verstappen came in for another set of fresh tyres and lap 65 set the fastest lap 1.11.044, even Hamilton had no answer for that time today.
Ricciardo brings the Red Bull up to P6, not quite as fast today as Hamilton, but just as impressive and surely a seat with Mercedes for 2019 could be on the cards for the smiling Ricciardo.
With the closing laps of the race, Stroll in the Williams locked up his brakes and the front tyre starts to delaminate, right down to the carcass of the tyre and he pits for fresh tyres with two laps to go.
Vettel wins the race in Brazil, Bottas second with Raikkonen in third and Hamilton just behind in P4.
Massa is slow, but Alonso cannot find a way passed the Williams with Perez in the Force India also trying to get passed both of them as they head up to the finish line for final time, Massa holds onto P7 just ahead of Alonso who crosses the finish line a nose ahead of Perez in the Force India.
Celebration begin for Ferrari and Vettel, but Alonso, Hamilton and the remaining F1 drivers await Massa to enter the pit lane and applaud him as he park’s up the Williams F1 car and is given a hero’s welcome by the Brazilian crowd, yes tonight the party to attend is in the Williams camp as Massa crying says Goodbye to F1 in his home.
Vettel may have won today, but the four times World Driver’s Champion, Lewis Hamilton gave an outstanding display today in the Mercedes WO8 F1 car, smiling and happy after the race and just missing out on a podium spot due to the tyre wear, Hamilton gave a masterclass in F1 driving. Awarded driver of the day and just missing out on fastest lap which went to Max Verstappen, the relaxed Hamilton is clearly enjoying himself, with one final race in two weeks’ time in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton will be hard to beat, but Vettel is determined to finish the season with a win, its going to be close in the desert final F1 battle of 2017.
Meanwhile, here are the results,
Colin Logan for In2Motorsports.com