Hamilton gifted win in Brazil after Ocon incident

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix.
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Max Verstappen labelled Esteban Ocon a “f****** idiot” after the Red Bull driver was robbed of a brilliant victory following a sensational collision at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car followed by team-mate Valtteri Bottas, in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car followed by team-mate Valtteri Bottas, in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was in complete control of the race after passing both Mercedes and both Ferrari cars in a superb performance at the Interlagos circuit.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who claimed the 10th victory of his championship-winning campaign, after Verstappen was taken out of the lead when attempting to lap Force India’s Ocon.

Ocon, running way down the order, bizarrely raced wheel-to-wheel at 200mph with the leader before banging into the right-rear of Verstappen’s car through the Senna Esses.

The force of the hefty impact on lap 43 sent Verstappen into a spin, and with the Dutchman facing the wrong way, Hamilton sailed by to resume the lead.

Verstappen was now five seconds down on Hamilton, and –with a wounded car – he was unable to claw the Mercedes back in before he finished in second.

Ocon was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, the most severe punishment available to the stewards, but it will come as little consolation to a furious Verstappen.

Kimi Raikkonen finished third for Ferrari, but it was not enough to stop Hamilton’s Mercedes team from winning their fifth consecutive constructors’ championship.

Hamilton started from pole position and made no mistake from his starting blocks as he won the race to the uphill opening left bend.

Behind, Sebastian Vettel got a decent getaway, too, but locked up his front-left tyre and lost second place to Valtteri Bottas.

It would be the precursor to a rotten afternoon for the German after he finished only sixth.

It was not long before Verstappen, the winner in Mexico a fortnight ago, was on the move from fifth on the grid.

On lap three, Verstappen launched a charge down the inside of Raikkonen at Turn 1 before producing the same move on Vettel a little over 60 seconds later.

The Red Bull star was on a flyer, and it did not take him long to get the better of Bottas, sailing past the Silver Arrows at Turn 1.

Hamilton’s lead was steady, a little more than two seconds clear of Verstappen, but the British driver was the first of the frontrunners to stop for fresh tyres, boxing for new rubber on lap 19.

Verstappen took the lead of the race but – despite failing to build up enough of a margin to leapfrog Hamilton during his change for tyres – the Dutchman did his talking on the track, comfortably dashing past Hamilton on the main straight with 31 laps to go.

That looked to be that, but just four laps later, the result dramatically turned on its head when Verstappen was swiped out from the lead by Ocon.

Verstappen was furious and he yelled over the radio: “What a f****** idiot.”

“I don’t know what to say,” the Red Bull driver said after the chequered flag.

“I hope I can’t find him now in the paddock,” he added, followed by a series of bleeped-out expletives. Despite a brave fightback from Verstappen, Hamilton picked up the pieces to triumph for a second time in Brazil, and a decade on from winning his first of five championships.

Daniel Ricciardo took fourth for Red Bull ahead of Bottas and Vettel.

Fernando Alonso will contest the Indianapolis 500 next year as he bids to complete the ‘Triple Crown’.

Britain’s Graham Hill remains the only man to have won the big three – the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and the race in Indiana.

Alonso, 37, was agonisingly denied a shot at winning the Indy 500 on debut last year when his Honda engine blew up in the closing stages. The Spaniard, who is retiring from Formula 1 after the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi later this month, will contest next year’s famous race at the Brickyard in a McLaren car.

“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” Alonso, who won Le Mans earlier this year, said.“I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there.

“I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren.

“This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they are.”