Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace today after starting the race from pole. The German took a record 5th pole in a row yesterday, and capitalised on it to take his second win a row. He won last year’s Grand Prix, starting that from pole as well.
The Mercedes pair almost made contact in the first lap, but Rosberg pulled ahead and did not relinquish his lead throughout the race.
The podium was rounded off by Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari, who ended the race just as he began – in third. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen had been in third for a significant portion of the race, with Vettel making a move on the Finn halfway through to take and hold P3. It is the 4-time world champion’s 13th podium of the year.
Raikkonen himself finished in P4 after engine problems earlier in the day saw his engine replaced by an older model ahead of the race.
20 laps int the race, with Hamilton taking a slightly longer pit stop than usual, several spectators and pundits began speculating about a conspiracy to deliberately hold the Briton back – with no credence to these claims, although Hamilton himself said he had felt the Mexican Grand Prix had been ‘gifted’ to teammate Rosberg after he was called in for a late pit-stop.
Both Mercedes and the Ferrari of Vettel opted for a 4-stop strategy, starting off with the soft compound that quickly degraded, with most drivers switching to mediums quickly.
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull qualified in 9th, but following a 10-place grid penalty for an upgraded engine, he began in 19th. The Australian managed to make up 7 places to finish in 12th. His teammate Daniil Kvyat managed a points finish, ending the race in 7th.
Williams sealed third place in the constructors’ championship today for the 2nd year in a row, and are the first team to finish in 3rd without actually winning a race. Valtteri Bottas managed 5th behind Raikkonen, with his teammate and home favourite Felipe Massa also finishing in the points in P8.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg finished in 6th behind Bottas, using a 3-stop strategy.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen was involved in some aggressive wheel-to-wheel racing as he managed to finish in P10 with a single point at the race. His teammate Carlos Sainz did not even begin the race, unable to move with engine trouble. His retirement brought out double yellow flags in Sector 2 at the early stages of the race.
Although neither McLaren finished in the points, both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished the race, with the Briton in P15 and the Spaniard in P16; this is especially significant after Alonso’s retirement from qualification and Button being unable to leave Q1.
Drivers now move to the Yas Marina circuit for the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight.