Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton delivered a spectacular drive on Sunday to take home victory at the 2021 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix held at Sao Paulo's Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
The reigning champion started the race at 10th on the grid but, thanks in part to a new power unit, was able to fight his way up and overtake current championship favorite Max Verstappen. The Red Bull Racing driver went on to secure second place, approximately 10.5 seconds back, while fellow Mercedes driver and polesitter Valtteri Bottas came in third, 13.5 seconds behind the winner.
There was trouble for Hamilton right from the start of the weekend, with the Mercedes driver's Friday qualifying result for Saturday's qualifying sprint race disqualified due to a breach of the regulations concerning his rear wing's drag reduction system. This meant he had to start Saturday's qualifying sprint race from the back of the pack. Despite this, he managed to fight his way up to fifth at the finish of the short race. However, his new power unit brought a five-place grid penalty, so Hamilton ultimately started Sunday's race at 10th on the grid.
When the lights turned green, both Bottas and Verstappen made good starts from the front row but Verstappen was in the lead by the second corner. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez also vaulted from fourth on the grid and was in second place by the end of the first lap, behind Verstappen. Meanwhile, Hamilton charged up the order, with Bottas making way for his teammate. Hamilton was able to pass Perez on lap 19 and finally had his sights on Verstappen and the lead spot. Perez got some revenge later on by setting the fastest lap of the race, denying the bonus point for Hamilton.
2021 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix
Verstappen was able to hold off Hamilton for much of the race. The first stops took place around lap 25 and then Verstappen made a second stop on lap 41 and Hamilton three laps later. Hamilton then challenged Verstappen, and was pushed wide on lap 48 going into Turn 4, a move the stewards noted but didn't investigate. Hamilton again tried to pass Verstappen at the same corner on lap 58 but failed, though on the next lap, with DRS, he was finally successful.
Behind them came a lonely Bottas and then it was Perez in fourth followed by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to round out the top five.
Following the weekend's action, Verstappen still leads the 2021 Drivers' Championship with 332.5 points. Hamilton is second with 318.5 points and Bottas is third with 203 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 521.5 points, versus the 510.5 of Red Bull and 287.5 of Ferrari.
The next race on the calendar is a special Qatar Grand Prix filling in for the Australian Grand Prix. From 2023, the Qatari race will become a regular on the calendar.
Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2021 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix:
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing +10.496 seconds
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz AMG +13.576 seconds
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +39.940 seconds
5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +49.517 seconds
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +51.820 seconds
7) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +1 lap
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +1 lap
9) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +1 lap
10) Lando Norris, McLaren +1 lap
11) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +1 lap
12) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
13) George Russell, Williams +1 lap
14) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
15) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +1 lap
16) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +1 lap
17) Nikita Mazepin, Haas +2 laps
18) Mick Schumacher, Haas +2 laps
NC) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren DNF
NC) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin DNF