'Proper heartbreak' in wild F1 carnage
Max Verstappen is the king of Brazil after delivering a driving masterclass in the 2019 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen found himself in a heated scrap with champion Lewis Hamilton, but kept a cool head in a thrilling final dart to the line to claim the victory.
There was heartbreak for Alex Albon after he was torpedoed by Hamilton in the second final lap. The Red Bull was spun off the track from the contact and he could only watch on as his first ever podium finish slipped through his fingers. Hamilton was eventually handed a five second penalty after the race, which saw the Mercedes star stripped of his spot on the podium.
Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly was instead able to score his first podium, finishing second behind Verstappen.
Hamilton finished third but dropped back to seventh as a result of the late penalty after his Mercedes team appeared to make two disastrous race strategy gambles late in the race. He pitted during the last safety car stint, dropping him from second to fourth in a move that gave him just three laps to try and climb back ahead of Gasly and Albon.
Carlos Sainz finished fourth, but was promoted onto the podium after Hamilton's penalty.
Daniel Ricciardo recovered from an early penalty to climb back up to finish sixth. He had been dead last on lap 25 after being forced to come into the pits for a new front wing following contact with Kevin Magnussen.
Lewis Hamilton's day was bad. Mercedes' was even worse.
For the first time since the Singapore Grand Prix, neither Mercedes Driver finished on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix after Hamilton was slapped with a late five second penalty that saw him dumped from third to seventh in the official finishing order.
The late FIA punishment was announced more than half an hour after the race had finished.
Hamilton was penalised for a risky dive bomb move on Alex Albon. Hamilton's attempt to pass Albon on the second final lap of the Grand Prix saw Hamilton's Mercedes nudge out Albon and send the Red Bull spinning off the track.
It cost Albon his first ever podium finish.
"That is proper heartbreak for Albon," Sky Sports commentator David Croft said.
Hamilton immediately apologised to Albon after the race.
"I massively apologise to Albon," Hamilton said.
"Completely my fault."
Albon said after the race there was no need for Hamilton to try the risky move because he says there was enough time still in the race for Hamilton to overtake him on the final lap.
Hamilton was only forced into such a reckless move after his team bizarrely allowed him to call his own shots from the cockpit.
A frustrated Hamilton was given permission to pit on lap 66 - just five laps from the finish - when the collision between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc brought out a second safety car.
The decision meant Hamilton gave up second spot behind Max Verstappen and saw him re-join the field parked behind the safety car in fourth position behind Albon and Pierre Gasly.
He had just three laps to try and climb back up to second by the time the safety car left the track.
Hamilton admitted after the race the call that he advocated "didn't pay off".
It was a frustrated decision from Hamilton, who was clearly sick of seeing the rear of Verstappen's Red Bull without any way of challenging for the race lead.
Sky Sports expert Ted Kravitz said he "can't believe my eyes" when he saw Mercedes pit Hamilton when it was unclear if the safety car would even leave the track before the final lap.
Hamilton's race was further compromised by his team's bizarre decision to keep him out on the track with 15 laps to go when teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a DNF. Smoke was seen coming from the back of his Mercedes and he was eventually forced to park his care on the side of the track.
While Verstappen pitted, Hamilton stayed out to take the race lead, but was forced to limp to the finish line on older tyres.
He complained to the team he was a "sitting duck" while all the cars banked up behind him pitted for fresher tyres.
He was right.
Verstappen only needed three turns to snatch back the race lead.
In a year where Mercedes has looked invincible at times, Monday morning's grand prix was a reminder that the mighty world champions are very human after all.
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