The 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix began with drama, the Mercedes rear wing and Max Verstappen being fined for breaking parc ferme regulations was like the pre-fight build-up between two WWE wrestlers. Hamilton’s weekend started with a looming grid penalty for an engine upgrade. And it ended with his Friday sprint qualifying pole being scrubbed from the timesheets after the FIA found the broken rear wing of his Mercedes was breaking a mandatory rule by 0.2mm. Hamilton raced to 5th in the sprint race, however, with the engine penalty finally added, he dropped to 10th for the race proper. So it was quite an eventful start to the weekend for team Hamilton.
However, Hamilton’s Mercedes was fast and by lap 5 he stormed to 3rd as pole-sitting teammate faltered back to 4th. A safety car was deployed on lap 6 which negated Hamilton’s weekend of frustration back to zero. By now it was clear Hamilton was on another level, clinical, totally hooked up, fast and focused.
Hamilton stormed into second by lap 18 with a move around the outside of Sergio Perez in the run-up to the Senna S. But Hamilton comprised his exit which allowed Perez to return the favour in the run-up to turn 4. But Hamilton wasn’t finished and was back into 2nd the following lap, again with a move on the outside in the run-up to the Senna S.
Hamilton then set about going after Verstappen, but the Red Bull had marginal pace equity over his Mercedes foe. At the first and second rounds of pitstops, Mercedes failed to undercut the Red Bull. By lap 34 the top two were separated by over 1.4 seconds. And by lap 48 Hamilton upped his pace and had the Red Bull in DRS range.
Hamilton made a move for the lead on lap 49 with a move on the outside in the run-up to turn 4. Hamilton had the corner but Verstappen made a desperate last-ditch braking maneuver, drifted wide, and forced both off track. Another attempt on lap 58 saw Verstappen mercilessly and pitifully defend against Hamilton.
But he got the job done on lap 59, Hamilton pressured Verstappen through the Senna S, Verstappen stumbled, lost traction and the Mercedes powered into the lead on the Reto Aposta straight despite Verstappen squeezing and weaving Hamilton for all his worth.
And with that Hamilton never looked back as he drifted ahead to secure a thrilling win from the jaws of what looked like a certain pre-race defeat.
Brazilian Grand Prix: Top 10 Results
1. Lewis HAMILTON
2. Max VERSTAPPEN (+8.667)
3. Valtteri BOTTAS (+14.204)
4. Sergio PEREZ (+17.931)
5. Charles LECLERC (+49.377)
6. Carlos SAINZ (+53.291)
7. Pierre GASLY (1 L)
8. Fernando ALONSO (1 L)
9. Esteban OCON (1 L)
10. Lando NORRIS (1 L )