LAP 66/71: Still, I think Hamilton has this covered. The real fight is for the final podium spot as Ricciardo homes in on Kimi Raikkonen’s gearbox.
LAP 65/71: Some backmarkers coming up in a Williams and Alonso for Hamilton and that means Verstappen can trim the gap to two seconds.
LAP 64/71: The top four are all covered by six-and-a-half seconds, although I think Hamilton will just have the edge on them all.
Bottas sets the fastest lap but he is fifth and over 23 seconds behind Ricciardo.
LAP 63/71: Hamilton is complaining about understeer but the gap is staying around 2.8 seconds to Verstappen.
LAP 62/71: But the fastest man on track is Daniel Ricciardo who sets a new fastest lap – he is just under two seconds behind Raikkonen now.
LAP 61/71: Well, the rain looks like staying away as we prepare to enter the final 10 laps. The gap between Hamilton and Verstappen is trimmed again to 2.8 seconds.
LAP 60/71: Ocon has served his penalty and drops to 17th. Only Fernando Alonso’s troubled McLaren is keeping off the back of the pack.
LAP 59/71: Finally Ricciardo gets the job done, passing Bottas for fourth place – he is 3.7 seconds behind Raikkonen and a podium place.
LAP 58/71: The gap at the front is now just over three seconds – the Dutchman could catch Hamilton but can he find the speed to get past. Not for me, Clive.
LAP 57/71: Vettel does get past Leclerc. Even with new super soft tyres he is still 25 seconds behind Ricciardo.
LAP 56/71: Ocon has been given a 10-second stop/go penalty for his antics in taking out Verstappen. That is the heaviest penalty a driver can face during a race aside from the black flag/disqualification. Fully deserved too, he looks like costing the Dutchman a deserved win.
LAP 55/71: Verstappen is still under four seconds behind Hamilton who is developing blisters on his front left tyres. A bit of a stalemate out in front.
LAP 54/71: Vettel takes a ‚free pit-stop‘ for super soft tyres, coming out behind Leclerc who won’t hold him up for long given their Ferrari links.
LAP 53/71: Bad news for Bottas, he has been told not to use the ‚overtake button‘, and that will only be music to Ricciardo’s ears in the battle for fourth.
LAP 52/71: Hamilton has concerns over his power unit though and has been told to turn down his engine. Still the gap hovers around four seconds though.
Ricciardo edges ever closer to the back of Bottas in P4 👀#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/a3l13MlPRl
LAP 51/71: And of Vettel? He is sixth, going nowhere and has just been given the hurry up by his team. ‚I’m going as fast as I can‘ is his resigned reply.
LAP 50/71: Behind those three, Bottas continues his role as a moving chicane today, with Ricciardo now trying to desperately find a way past.
LAP 49/71: But Verstappen is gaining. The gap is now four seconds, and interestingly Raikkonen is just a second behind the Dutchman…
LAP 48/71: Verstappen though does have floor damage, so it won’t be a simple pass if he does catch Hamilton like earlier. The gap is staying at five seconds right now.
LAP 47/71: I say ‚may‘ because Verstappen is only five seconds behind Hamilton, who has tyres blistering again.
LAP 46/71: The Ococn/Verstappen incident is now under investigation. I will be amazed if the Force India driver is not punished for that. Ridiculous driving and it may cost Verstappen the win.
LAP 45/71: Better news for Red Bull, Ricciardo passes Vettel for fifth place.
LAP 44/71: Madness! Esteban Ocon tries to unlap himself and punts Verstappen off the track into turn one! Max is furious shouting ‚what a f***ing idiot‘ over the radio.
He ha a point…
Verstappen leads but that gives Hamilton the lead again.
OCON HITS VERSTAPPEN! 😱
Esteban tries to unlap himself on his former F3 rival but spins out the race leader in the process! Verstappen drops to second…#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/qPj4Gnetld
LAP 43/71: Raikkonen though does try to pass Bottas on the straight and finally he gets the job done to move up to third.
LAP 42/71: What’s going on with Ferrari? They have never looked kike coming to life in this race, especially Vettel.
Raikkonen is still stuck behind Bottas – and has not looked at any point likely to get pas.
LAP 41/71: Hamilton is really struggling. Verstappen has, within one lap of passing the world champion, opened up a 1.8 second advantage on the Brit. At this point only rain can stop Max.
LAP 40/71: Not even a contest. Verstappen’s tyre advantage is so great he made the pass well before turn one. Ricciardo pits so the Dutchman leads. Ricciardo emerges sixth, a couple of seconds behind Vettel.
LAP 39/71: Verstappen is all over Hamilton as he latches on to the Brit going up the hill…
LAP 38/71: Still, don’t rule out rain. It continues to head towards the circuit as Verstappen sets a new fastest lap and gets within DRS of Hamilton who is coming up to lap a Wiilliams just to add to his troubles.
LAP 37/71: Verstappen takes eight tenths of a second out of Hamilton… and that is just in one sector. We don’t see Verstappen vs Hamilton often enough on track. I’m rather looking forward to this.
LAP 36/71: Verstappen pits, and it’s not even a contest. He is three seconds behind Hamilton but has put on the soft tyres.
Your mission Lewis is with much older and harder compound tyres to fend off a flying Dutchman…
Verstappen pits from the lead and opts for soft tyres
He comes out just behind Hamilton…. game on! 👀#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/1UvNeEOokT
LAP 35/71: Should Verstappen pit now, it will be touch-and-go if he retains an on-track advantage over Hamilton, who has just set a quicker lap.
Vettel has allowed Raikkonen to pass to try and make a pass on Bottas
LAP 34/71: So it’s a Red Bull one-two at the moment, with Verstappen 11 seconds in front of Ricciardo. No signs of Red Bull even thinking about a pit-stop.
LAP 33/71: Hamilton’s job is to match Verstappen. It’s not happening though as the gap between the race leader and third placed man increases to over 20 seconds.
LAP 32/71: Raikkonen now pits and he emerges in sixth just behind Vettel, which having already passed the German will annoy him.
LAP 31/71: Vettel is now up to seventh for Ferrari and like earlier in the race he is now just a couple of seconds behind Bottas.
LAP 30/71: Hamilton wants ‚more info‘ on what he needs to do. He is told to match Verstappen’s time but he sounds worried as Verstappen sums up his mood by now, cheekily telling his team that his ‚tyres are getting better‘!
LAP 29/71: Daniel Ricciardo, running in third, sets a new fastest lap as Verstappen creates a 20-second advantage over Hamilton.
Vettel’s turn to pit – he swaps his soft tyres for a set of mediums
He rejoins P9 behind the Haas of Magnussen#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/F7SffeLam0
LAP 28/71: Medium tyres for the Ferrari driver who is now ninth behind Kevin Magnussen and, a few seconds up the road Bottas.
LAP 27/71: Out come the Ferrari mechanics again – this time they do make a stop though as Vettel pits in from third.
LAP 26/71: Ferrari are not making much progress after Bottas’s pit-stop. Raikkonen is still just under three seconds in front of Vettel but is over eight seconds down on Verstappen in front of him.
LAP 25/71: The gap between Verstappen and Hamilton is now just under 18 seconds, indicating that the Brit would retake the lead should Verstappen pit. By the way it looks like it is raining in the distance…
📻: „I need to box… I cannot drive this“
Ericsson started this race sixth, but nothing has gone right since then 💔
The Swede retires from P20 with plenty of aero missing from his Sauber#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/CuO4whNAtv
LAP 24/71: Hamilton though with the fresher tyres and faster car passes Leclerc into turn one for fifth.
LAP 23/71: Hamilton’s charge is about to hit a slight wall though as he has latched onto the back of fifth placed Charles Leclerc.
LAP 22/71: Interesting. Hamilton sets the fastest lap, having passed Grosjean, – seven tenths quicker than Verstappen’s last lap.
And one lap later, in comes race leader Hamilton for medium tyres as well#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/rSp84L0b8F
LAP 21/71: New fastest lap for Verstappen as Ericsson’s troubles continue as he spins off the circuit – he is going to have to retire that car. There is just no balance in the Sauber as he pits to retire from the race.
LAP 20/71: Hamilton emerges from the pits in seventh behind Romain Grosjean – what can the ultra quick Verstappen do now. Both the Mercs are on the medium tyre.
LAP 19/71: In comes Bottas to release the bottle neck, as he emerges in ninth behind Kevin Magnussen. New fastest lap for Verstappen. Hamilton with blisters comes into the pits…
LAP 18/71: No stops for Ferrari though. Verstappen has eased off a bit in trying to pass hamilton – playing the waiting game as the Bottas train keeps on chugging, or sliding, along.
LAP 17/71: Bottas is over five seconds behind Verstappen now as Ferrari mechanics come into the pit-lane for what would be a very surprise pit-stop.
LAP 16/71: Bottas is also sliding around, and Raikkonen makes another desperate attempt to pass before once again having the door closed. This is hurting Ferrari big time.
RIC 📻: „Bottas is struggling – Max is past him, and Raikkonen’s on him“
These four are teeing up a mega scrap for the podium 👏#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/2w9Vo6W6cZ
LAP 15/71: Verstappen is noticing that Hamilton’s car is ’sliding around a bit‘. It looks like there are blisters forming on Hamilton’s Mercedes.
LAP 14/71: Ericsson, who started sixth, has now dropped to 14th but we hear he has a problem with his diffuser and has very little grip.
LAP 13/71: That gap is now 1.3 seconds. Verstappen is looking like the fastest man on the track right now. Bottas is struggling even more than Hamilton. Not only is he holding the Ferraris and Daniel Ricciardo up, but seventh placed Charles Leclerc is homing in too.
LAP 12/71: Verstappen is indeed faster than Hamilton – taking three tenths out of him on the previous lap with the gap now 1.5 seconds. Mercedes not that fast at this stage of the race.
LAP 11/71: Now the Ferraris are coming alive. Raikkonen tries to pass Bottas around the outside of turn four but the Mercedes driver just about fends off his Finnish compatriot.
‚The forecast says some serious rain is due. If I had a pound for every time I heard that at an F1 race I’d own the sport. But this time I believe it. Needs it. Max Verstappen is driving with plenty of get-up-and-go.‘
LAP 10/71: So of course one corner after I type that, Verstappen gets into the Mercedes slipstream and he makes a rather easy clean pass on Bottas for P2. Can he now haul in Hamilton?
LAP 9/71: Hamilton is just slowly pulling away from the chasing Red Bulls and Ferraris, with that gap now around two seconds. Verstappen’s charge through the field looks like it has stopped for now.
LAP 8/71: Verstappen makes a lunge on Bottas into turn one but he quickly aborts the effort, Ferrari are still off the pace on the soft tyres. Have they made a strategy error with those. They look duds right now in fourth and fifth.
LAP 7/71: While Ferrari had, rather curiously, no answer for the straight line speed of the Red Bull, Mercedes seem to have more of a defence for Verstappen.
LAP 6/71: Verstappen is all over the gearbox of Bottas as Hamilton pulls out a 1.8 second gap on his team-mate.
LAP 5/71: Both the Red Bulls are absolutely flying. Ricciardo now passes Charles Leclerc for sixth place and he is just over a second behind Vettel.
LIGHTS OUT IN BRAZIL!#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/g0MiWT6Zqs
LAP 4/71: And now Verstappen wants Vettel – and he gets him too! The Dutchman now eats Vettel down the inside of turn one. Next up the Mercedes duo…
Meanwhile Vettel locks up during the lap, allowing Raikkonen to pinch P4.
LAP 3/71: Just a second separate the top five as Verstappen gets a tremendous run on Raikkonen into turn one to move up to fourth having set a fastest lap.
LAP 2/71: Marcus Ericsson had started sixth for Sauber but he is tumbling down the order now as he drops to 10th behind Daniel Ricciardo.
LAP 1/71: Clean start at the front, and those tyres do harm Ferrari as Valtteri Bottas passes Sebastian Vettel around the outside of turn one. Lewis Hamilton maintains the lead.
Kimi Raikkonen was passed by Max Verstappen, but immediately hit back to reclaim fourth.
Lewis Hamilton, not least by being on pole, has a slight advantage over Sebastian Vettel at the start.
The Ferrari driver is on the soft tyre, which has slightly less bite and grip than Hamilton’s super soft tyre.
Esteban Ocon is told by his team that there is a potential for light rain, which is next to nothing for a car with its tyres fully heated.
Vettel is very slow off the grid, with struggles selecting gear, but he is away and will be able to retain his P2 slot.
‚Our forecast said the worst time was right now so I think it will be a dry race‘, Horner told Sky Sports.
Eyes on the skies with just 20 minutes to lights out 👀#BrazilGP 🇧🇷 #F1 pic.twitter.com/iuLpvTInrR
Will it rain? Will it stay dry? On pure pace you would always back Lewis Hamilton to rise like cream to the top on pure pace.
But rain does not come on request, and regarding pit strategy it will be interesting to see who would benefit and loses out.
We are getting too far ahead of ourselves though. There is only a 40 per cent chance of rain but that could come in a form of a thunderstorm.
Sunshine baths the track at the moment but rain is forecast later in the race. It will be worth keeping an eye out for Daniel Ricciardo today starting 11th. He has free reign of tyre choice and could end up benefiting from his grid penalty.
Fire up and go as we head to the grid. 👊 #BrazilGP 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/1Bf4hP8Mnf
Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone with some additional facial hair is back in the paddock as is 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
It’s a welcome back to the paddock for local lads, Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello who have been the heroes for fans to worship – especially in their Ferrari days.
Massa was fortunate to win the race twice, but Barrichello had dreadful luck around the circuit, most notably when he somehow ran out of fuel in 2003 while leading the race.
Or more specifically, Interlagos. The Sao Paulo track has hardly changed since it was reintroduced in the early 1990s and it almost always delivers a thrilling race.
It has produced some of the modern day classic races including THAT 2008 title finale with Hamilton, and THAT 2007 finale with Kimi Raikkonen coming out on top.
Never forget the chaos of 2003 too – arguably the best of the lot.
The threat of rain is often a factor (including today) so it seems sad that next year could be the final running at Interlagos. For the good of the championship, let’s hope not.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix after narrowly escaping a 150mph crash on the very piece of tarmac that helped define his life.
It was at the final corner – on the final lap of the season’s final race of the 2008 season – that the Briton unforgettably passed Timo Glock’s Toyota in the rain to snatch his first world title.
Read more here
The track parade with the drivers was probably a few seconds behind schedule before the race, Lewis Hamilton had a fair few autographs to sign…
But there is still much to play for in the pit-lane, with Mercedes hoping to now win their fifth straight constructors‘ championship with two races to spare.
A win for pole man Lewis Hamilton would get the job done but he has never won a race in a season after being confirmed world champion. Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Half the job has already been done for Lewis Hamilton, who won his fifth world championship last time out in Mexico, as he looks to help Mercedes claim a fifth straight constructors‘ championship.
The Brit is on pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and victory would end Ferrari’s hopes of clinching their first title since 2008.
Hamilton starts alongside Sebastian Vettel on the front row at Interlagos heading into the penultimate race of the season. Follow all the action as it happens here.
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