As the title for the Drivers' Championship got decided in Austin, things turned south, both in terms of the map and on the track. The Brazil Grand Prix 2019 was a treat to watch, as the underdogs took their game to the next level. Elation, frustration and ‘wheel-to-wheel’ action, as the commentator put it, the Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace had absolutely everything.
Max Verstappen took the victory and propelled his tally to 260 points, with a meagre 11-point gap over Ferrari's young gun Charles Leclerc (249 points), to be fought out in Abu Dhabi. The Safety Car played a major factor with multiple restarts, owing to four DNFs in total. The race resulted in maiden podiums for both Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz, though the latter had to wait till after the Prize Distribution to have his result confirmed. Everything was not all glory, as Alex Albon was denied what would have been his first podium following an incident with Lewis Hamilton in the penultimate lap.
However, what made it special was the performance of the underdogs. As things spanned out, Alfa Romeo got their best result in 2019, with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finishing P4 and P5, respectively. Toro Rosso got their second podium of the season through Pierre Gasly after Daniil Kvyat in Germany, thereby closing the gap to Renault in the Constructor’s Championship. Toro Rosso are only eight points behind the French team, who haven't flourished this season.
Here are some of the reasons why the 2019 Brazil Grand Prix will live long in the memory of Formula 1 and motorsports fans.
#1 Redemption for Max Verstappen
Let’s be honest, Max Verstappen has been a podium contender in 2019, despite the pace shown by both Mercedes and Ferrari. While Spa, Monza, Suzuka and Mexico delivered poor results for the Red Bull driver this season, the Dutchman was raring to go all guns out in Interlagos, a circuit where he missed out on the top step of the podium in 2018 after an avoidable collision with Esteban Ocon that saw the handbags come out on the weighing scale.
After a flying qualifying session and with the Safety Car spicing things up, he dominated the race, well, mostly. That was because newly minted six-time World Champion, Hamilton got a head-start over Vettel off the line. Numerous overtakes between the two drivers meant Hamilton was constantly dogging Verstappen and waiting for one small gap. Overtaking Hamilton on the infamous Senna S curve, coming back from the pits to retake the lead, Verstappen had the most perfect race he could've imagined.