Lewis Hamilton accepts victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix came as a welcomed surprise after seeing Max Verstappen spin out of the lead after clashing with the lapped Esteban Ocon while he also battle late engine issues.

The newly-crowned 2018 Formula 1 world champion helped secure the constructors’ crown for Mercedes with victory at Interlagos in a race which looked to have gone away from the British driver following Max Verstappen’s initial charge through the pack before using a stronger tyre strategy to claim the lead.

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But at the start of Lap 44, Verstappen collided with Ocon – as the Force India driver attempted to unlap himself at Turn 2 – which sent both drivers into a spin and hand Hamilton the lead.

“It was definitely a bit of a surprise to me,” Hamilton said. “I was in the lead, the pit stop was pretty premature and then they passed us on fresh tyres and there was nothing I could do, plus the engine was turned down.

“That was difficult to give up the lead at that point but then I was able to stay with him and he must have been just managing, clearly, with the pace that he had at the end.

“And then that crash happened at Turn 2 and I came through the middle of these two guys who were both facing me and I was like ‘ahh nice, this is great’. I wanted to hold on to that and after that I heard he came back on track and was still quite close behind so I pushed as hard as I could to try to manage the gap but I couldn’t match his times with the power loss that I was having.”

Hamilton has duly paid tribute to Mercedes for securing its fifth consecutive F1 world constructors’ title.

“I’m very proud of everyone’s hard work and proud that I could be a part of it and contribute to them winning their fifth world title,” he said. “It is just astonishing and I want to continue to try to elevate Mercedes and make them the most successful brands of all time.”

 

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