Sao Paulo: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won his fifth race of the Formula One season at the Brazilian Grand Prix to all but secure second place in the driver’s championship.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas took second place while Kimi Raikkonen claimed third in his Ferrari at the Interlagos circuit on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Lewis Hamilton, who clinched his fourth world title in Mexico last month, finished fourth in his Mercedes.
“Initially I had a very good getaway and then I had a bit of wheel spin,” Vettel said on the podium.
“So I thought ‘ah I missed my chance’ but I think Valtteri was struggling even more off the line. So I really had a chance to squeeze down the inside and I think I surprised him a bit. It was obviously very crucial. After that I think we were pushing for, after the safety car, the remaining 65 laps flat out.”
Bottas began in pole position but was overtaken by Vettel on the first corner and was unable to get back in front of the German.
The safety car was deployed almost immediately after Haas driver Romain Grosjean bumped into the side of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes were all but dashed shortly after when his Red Bull Renault veered off the track following a crash that ended the race for Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen.
Revelling at the front of the pack, Hamilton did not give Bottas a chance to pass him, but the contest further back was intense.
Hamilton rekindled memories of his effort here in 2009, when he recovered from 17th to secure third. The Briton could not quite replicate that effort, though he will not have been displeased after skilfully weaving his way past most of the field.
Australian driver Ricciardo also showed great dexterity to come back to sixth.
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In his farewell Grand Prix in front of his home crowd, Williams driver Felipe Massa took seventh place, drawing a thunderous reception from the fans as he crossed the line.
The next and final face of the Formula One season will be in Abu Dhabi on November 27.
Hamilton has an unassailable lead at the top of the driver standing with 345 points, followed by Vettel (302 points), Bottas (280 points) and Ricciardo (200 points).
–With IANS inputs