Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton's incredible drive wins Sao Paulo Grand Prix and cuts Max Verstappen's lead to 14

·2-min read
Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton's incredible drive wins Sao Paulo Grand Prix and cuts Max Verstappen's lead to 14

Max Verstappen's lead is down to 14 points with three races to go in the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Lewis Hamilton drove from 10th to first to win Sunday's Sao Paulo Grand Prix with a pass of Verstappen over the race's final stint. Hamilton scored 25 points to Verstappen's 18 for finishing second. Verstappen had a 21-point lead entering the race after finishing second in Saturday's sprint qualifying race and earning two points.

Hamilton finished fifth in that qualifying race after he started last. He had qualified first on Friday but was disqualified from the session after the DRS flap on his rear wing was deemed to be too large in post-qualifying inspection. Hamilton went from 20th to fifth in the 24 laps of the sprint race but had to start 10th due to a five-place grid penalty after Mercedes had put a new internal combustion engine in his car for the race weekend. 

Mercedes has been the fastest team in a straight line this season and that straightaway power was a big reason why Hamilton won and his teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third. Hamilton stalked Verstappen for the final two-thirds of the race and was able to overtake Verstappen with a fantastic move on lap 59 of the 71-lap race.

Hamilton caught up to Verstappen on the long front straight and forced Verstappen to defend entering the first turn. He stayed close through the Esses complex down the hill at Interlagos and then powered past Verstappen on the next straightaway. The move came laps after Verstappen and Hamilton drove off the track while Hamilton tried to pass Verstappen on the outside.

Verstappen flat missed the apex of the corner but F1 stewards deemed the racing incident was nothing more and didn't investigate the racing between the drivers. 

The win is Hamilton's 101st in F1 — the most of any driver. Verstappen dropped off Hamilton's bumper very quickly after he was passed for the lead, though his teammate Sergio Perez saved Verstappen another point on the final lap by taking away the fastest lap from Hamilton. Hamilton could have cut the deficit to 13 had Red Bull not pitted Perez for fresh tires at the end of the race.

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