Ocon must really want that Mercedes deal…

Date published: November 11 2018

Esteban Ocon: ruins Max Verstappen's race

The Brazilian Grand Prix should have belonged to Max Verstappen, but Mercedes man Esteban Ocon gifted the victory to Lewis Hamilton and the Constructors’ champions.

Here is how race day unfolded in Brazil...

A couple of home favourites in Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa conducted the pre-race interviews on the drivers’ parade.

But not before Lewis Hamilton fuelled some Renault rumours…

The drivers’ title race may be over, but there was still plenty of excitement in the grandstands.

The Honey Badger then struck again…

There was 40 per cent chance of rain throughout the race, with the possibility of a thunderstorm. We had everything crossed.

At the start of the race, Ferrari took a while to get going on those soft tyres, with Bottas stealing a march on Vettel…

Verstappen, meanwhile, was on a real charge, overtaking Vettel and Bottas within the opening 10 laps and in hot pursuit of race leader Hamilton.

The Renault duo of Carlos Sainz and Niko Hulkenberg didn’t do themselves any favours, coming into contact with each other in the opening stages.

Mercedes made a bit of history at the end of Lap 16…

Before both Mercs were the first of the big boys to pit and fit the medium tyres on a one-stop strategy.

Shortly after, there was heartbreak for Marcus Ericsson. After a career-best qualifying and starting P6, he was the first retirement of the race. The Swede lost part of his diffuser on the formation lap, making his car pretty much undriveable.

With Hamilton pitting on lap 19 for the mediums, Verstappen made his supersofts last until lap 35 before switching to the softs.

Could Hamilton hold off the Dutchman until the end? It was going to be a tall order.

Hamilton could only keep Verstappen at bay for five laps before the Red Bull driver sailed past.

It should have been a walk in the park for the Verstappen, but backmarker Esteban Ocon ruined his afternoon.

Ocon’s punishment was a much deserved 10-second stop/go penalty.

Verstappen, with damage to his bodywork, tried his very best to close down Hamilton again, and almost got him. But was forced to settle for P2.

Christmas has come very, very early for the five-time World Champion, who has helped clinch a fifth consecutive Constructors’ title for Mercedes.

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