Brazilian GP: Mad Max, first podiums and Sao Paolo's last hurrah

From Max Verstappen's cruise to victory to two new names gracing the podium, here are the highs and lows of the craziest race of the year at Sao Paulo

Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly on the podium at the Brazilian GP.   -  Getty Images

Max Verstappen loves Sao Paulo and Sao Paula loves Verstappen! The 22-year-old Dutchman fought off multiple threats from world champion Lewis Hamilton to win a high-on-drama Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

For the first time this year, no driver from Mercedes or Ferrari made it to the podium. Two new faces did though -  Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and McLaren's Carlos Sainz. This was also the first Honda-powered one-two since the days of Ayrton Senna.

Here's a look at some of the most important moments from the race.

READ : Verstappen wins thrilling Brazilian Grand Prix as both Ferraris crash out

Verstappen avenges 2018 Sao Paulo heartbreak

This is Verstappen's third win of the season after successfully clinching the Austrain GP and German GP.

His third win this season was also a redemption of sorts. At this very venue in 2018, the Dutchman had his heart broken when he looked certain to win before a late accident wrecked his hopes of victory.



Vettel-Leclerc bitterness continues, both drivers fail to finish race

With less than five laps to go, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc used an inside advantage to gain ground on teammate Sebastian Vettel. In an attempt to fight back, Vettel pressed towards Leclerc. However, the car came in contact as a result. While Vettel suffered a left-rear puncture and the force of the impact broke Leclerc’s front suspension, the focus was on the heated exchanges heard on the team radio.



First podium eludes Alexander Albon, Hamilton ensures

It was looking like a good day in the office for the Red Bull crew with Verstappen leading the pack as the race headed towards its final few laps. Alexander Albon too managed to pass Ferrari's Leclerc and Vettel to cruise comfortably in second place, putting pressure on Hamilton.

Eventually, when Hamilton tried to race ahead of Albon, he clipped him, sending the Red Bull driver spinning. Albon dropped from third to 15th place, an incident Hamilton was penalised for after the end of the race. Having finished third, the penalty stripped the Briton of his place on the podium handing it over to Seinz instead. For Albon, the wait to finish on the podium continues.



First podium for Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Frenchman Gasly, replaced at Red Bull mid-season by Thai driver Alexander Albon, held off Hamilton after a wild finale to cross the line ahead of him by just 0.062 seconds and score his first podium finish.



That the penalties for Hamilton came after the podium celebrations robbed Seinz of his moment with the other winners, leaving fans on Twitter disappointed. This didn't stop the McLaren team from stealing a moment for posterity.

 


Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

It was a dangerous moment out there in the pits when Max Verstappen exited the pitlane only to find Williams driver Robert Kubica dangerously released ahead of him, pushing Verstappen into the walls of pit lane and forcing him to slow down and complete the entire stretch of the lane.



While initial questions were raised about the Williams pit crew taking its time to release the driver, the stewards ruled that Kubica was released in good time but he got away slowly, straying into the path of the Red Bull driver - earning a penalty for the same.

Daniel Ricciardo was also given a two-point penalty on his license and a five-second time penalty during the race for colliding with Kevin Magnussen, one the stewards held him principally responsible for.

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Engine fails Bottas, Bottas fails to finish

Going decently strong for much of the race's first segment, Bottas was riding hassle-free. Soon after, gentle plumes of smoke were seen from the back of Bottas' car. Despite being careful about pit stops, the Finn ciouln't stop the engineer failure, thereby sitting out the game.



Sao Paulo's swansong?

If this is the last edition of the legendary grand prix racing enthusiasts get to see here in Sao Paulo, this edition of the race was the perfect curtain call. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said that the race was to move from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro next year. Apart from the history of Interlagos, names like those of Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa headline the racing list from this city and its last hurrah was easily one of the best races of the year.