Honda Wins 1-2 at 2019 Brazilian GP!
The 2019 Brazilian GP was one of the most exciting races of the 2019 Formula One World Championship and also a momentous event for many of the teams and drivers.
Max Verstappen won the race to mark Red Bull Racing and Honda’s third victory of the year, followed — remarkably — by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly after an incredible turn of events. Lewis Hamilton was third across the finish line but received a five-second time penalty, which promoted Carlos Sainz Jr to the podium instead.
As a result, the race finished with Honda’s first 1-2 result in F1 since 1991, Gasly and Sainz’s first-ever podiums, and even McLaren’s first podium since 2014. Unfortunately, the decision over Hamilton’s penalty had not been decided before the ceremony had ended, so Sainz was unable to taste his first podium champagne.
The race had started innocently enough, with Verstappen leading Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel throughout the first half of the race in part thanks to his sheer pace and to two blistering, sub 2-second pit stops from the Red Bull pit crew (including a record 1.82-second stop).
But when Valtteri Bottas’ engine failure forced him to retire by the track and bring out the safety car, the race was energized in a way no one could have predicted. Verstappen pit for fresh rubber, leaving Hamilton in first but on used tires. Behind them were the two Ferraris and Verstappen’s teammate, Alexander Albon.
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At the restart, Verstappen immediately overtook Hamilton while Albon got past Vettel, leaving the Ferraris to duel each other as Red Bull and Hamilton fought over the lead. But the Ferraris made contact with each other and both of their tires virtually disintegrated, putting them out of the race and triggering another safety car.
At this point, the race order had been significantly shaken up and inexplicably, though there were only a few laps left to go and the race risked finishing under the safety car, Mercedes opted to pit Hamilton for fresh tires. When the race restarted with only two laps to go, he had three cars ahead of him, all Honda-powered: Verstappen leading, followed by Albon and Gasly.
Hamilton made quick work of Gasly, but was overly optimistic in his lunge to get past Albon and caused the latter to spin, ruining Albon’s race and ultimately earning him that aforementioned five-second penalty. Hamilton had only been momentarily slowed down by the contact, but enough for Gasly to get past him again — and the Toro Rosso driver then managed to hold off the 2019 champion over the final lap, their duel culminating in an epic drag race to the finish with the Honda engine prevailing over Mercedes.
It was a great race with an incredibly exciting finish and another reminder that the Brazilian GP has more than demonstrated why it should be the final race in the F1 calendar. As it is, we’ll see the final grand prix of 2019 take place in Abu Dhabi in just under two weeks.
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Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.