Lewis Hamilton may have finally won the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the race will be forever remembered for numerous delays, spectacular crashes and an epic drive by Red Bull Racing superstar Max Verstappen.
With one race left in the season Hamilton now trails his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by only twelve points in his bid for a fourth driver's title. Hamilton's win means that for the second time in three years the driver's championship will be decided at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.
While Hamilton's win may have been overshadowed by many of the dramatic moments on Sunday, he nonetheless drove a flawless race in very difficult conditions.
"I was generally just chilling up front," Hamilton said during the post-race podium interview. "It was kind of interesting to hear along the race how many people behind were spinning, but I didn't have that problem so I'm really happy about it."
A win in Brazil would have sealed the deal for Rosberg, but the German was content to take the points and head to the desert.
"It didn't go my way with a win - Lewis just did a great job," said Rosberg. "It was very difficult conditions out there, and I can live with second today for sure."
The foul São Paulo weather claimed it's first casualty before the race even started. Romain Grosjean, who was confirmed earlier in the weekend to be returning to Haas for 2017, crashed on his way to the grid. It was a bitter disappointment for the Frenchman, who was going to start the race in seventh position after equalling his best qualifying result of the year.
Grosjean's shunt was the first of many on the afternoon. The race was twice red flagged and there were a number of drivers including Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen who had big accidents.
Räikkönen's accident came just seconds after the race had been restarted after several laps behind the safety car that was deployed for Ericsson's crash. As the Finn put the power down exiting Turn 15 he lost the back end of the car as he drove over the grid markings. Räikkönen spun several times before coming to stopping next to the pit wall, and narrowly avoided being hit head-on by Manor F1's Esteban Ocon.
The barriers also claimed Williams' Felipe Massa, who was driving in his very last Brazilian Grand Prix. The popular Massa broke down in tears, but was given a standing ovation by the fans and pit crews as he walked back to the Williams garage.
Without a doubt the drive of the day went to 19-year-old Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. Verstappen qualified well in fourth position, splitting the Ferrari duo of Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel and out-qualifying his teammate Daniel Ricciardo by just under a tenth of a second.
Verstappen was probably the only driver who felt the conditions were suitable for racing. He made several remarkable passes during the race including one on Nico Rosberg, who he passed on the outside of Curva do Sol.
While Verstappen's performance in the wet was one of the best seen in recent years, he narrowly avoided being claimed by the same walls that knocked Ericsson and Räikkönen out of the race.
"Maybe I clipped a little bit of curb. [I] had a massive moment and locked all four wheels," said Verstappen. "I managed to keep it out of the guard rail and continue still in second."
Lightning quick reactions and a little good luck for Verstappen may have kept him in front of Rosberg, but he was forced to pit shortly thereafter for a set of wet tyres. The timing of the pit stop was unfortunate for Verstappen, who re-emerged from the pit lane in 16th position.
But this is where it got fun.
On fresh tyres and with more grip than anyone else in the race, Verstappen carved his way through the field with ruthless precision and courageous passing. By the time the race was over Verstappen had pulled his way up to third position, drawing worthy comparisons to the late Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher in the process.
With a challenging and dangerous Brazilian Grand Prix now in the books the attention now turns to the final race of the year at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit in two week's time.
Hamilton still has a chance to snatch the championship away from Rosberg in Abu Dhabi. Even if Hamilton wins the race Rosberg will win the championship as long as he finishes no lower than third position.
"I'm going to go and give it everything I've got," said Hamilton. "Abu Dhabi is generally a good track for me."
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