Winner – Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly’s future in F1 looked in the balance after he was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso mid-season, but the Frenchman has since rediscovered his form and his confidence.

Gasly reached new heights in Brazil though, rising through the order to claim a shock second place finish after late drama knocked four cars out of contention.

Gasly went side-by-side with Lewis Hamilton all the way to the finish line, winning the drag race by 0.062 seconds to secure second place and his first F1 podium. He later called it “the best day of my life”, shaking off a tough year.

Loser – Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton may already have the drivers’ championship won, but he could not add to his tally of 10 race wins for 2019 in Brazil, throwing away the opportunity through the closing stages of the race.

Hamilton was closing on race leader Max Verstappen before the Safety Car was called, with a strategy slip-up from Mercedes leaving him unable to attack again on the restart.

Hamilton got another chance to pit for fresh tyres ahead of the last two-lap sprint, but spun Alexander Albon out while trying to overtake for second place, resulting in a five-second time penalty that dropped him to seventh.

It was a clumsy error that Hamilton took the blame for, but one he will hope to learn from.

Winner – Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has waited 101 races for his first Formula 1 podium – and it came in the most unpredictable fashion possible in Brazil.

After an issue in qualifying left him last on the grid, Sainz rose through the order with a bold one-stop strategy, leaving him fourth at the chequered flag following the late-race drama.

But when Hamilton was slapped with a five-second penalty, it promoted Sainz onto the podium, sparking wild celebrations. It marked McLaren’s first F1 podium for more than five years, as well as securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship for the British team.

Loser – Alexander Albon

It may be a little unfair to put Alexander Albon in the losers category after such a brilliant display, but will have left Interlagos knowing a first F1 podium was just a couple of laps away.

Albon fought past Sebastian Vettel at the first Safety Car restart before jumping Lewis Hamilton when the Mercedes driver pitted, putting him on course for second place with two laps to go.

As Albon’s worn tyres cost him time, Hamilton tried passing at Turn 10, only to hit the Red Bull driver and send him into a spin that dropped him to the back of the field.

Albon crossed the line out of the points, but can take plenty of confidence from a strong display. A first podium will surely arrive in a matter of time.

Winner - Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen was at his dominant best in Brazil. Twelve months on from the clash with Esteban Ocon that cost him a surefire victory, Verstappen took matters into his own hands this time around by crushing the field.

Even with mid-race hurdles such as Kubica’s unsafe pit release and the late Safety Cars, Verstappen kept cool, passing Hamilton twice for the lead at Turn 1 en route to the win.

As the rest of the field lost their cool behind, Verstappen kept his, delivering one of the most dominant performances of his Formula 1 career to date.

Loser - Ferrari

Big questions will need to be asked by Ferrari after Brazil as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel came to blows on-track, causing them to both retire from the race.

Leclerc and Vettel touched while going side-by-side into Turn 4. Both drivers were angry over team radio over the incident, but kept tight-lipped after the race, with team principal Mattia Binotto calling it a “silly action”.

An inquest will follow at Maranello, but it only strengthens the case for Ferrari to have established team orders to prevent repeats of this incident in the future.

As for the championship, Leclerc is now 11 points behind Verstappen in the race for third – a big gap to make up in Abu Dhabi.

 

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