Max Verstappen won the Brazilian Grand Prix as the Red Bull driver tasted his third win of the year in an eventful race.
The Dutchman took the win for the MK-based team, with the Red Bull starting from pole and overtaking Lewis Hamilton on track twice.
The win was redemption at Interlagos for the Dutchman, who was cost victory after a collision with Esteban Ocon at the Brazil race last year. In a big turn of fate, he was joined by Pierre Gasly, who finished second for a first career podium, and a second overall for Toro Rosso in 2019.
There was late heartbreak for his teammate Alex Albon. The Brit-Thai driver looked on for a first career podium in the final stages, but was tapped from behind by Lewis Hamilton and spun round. He finished 14th, with Hamilton later given a five second time penalty for the incident.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen praised his team for getting strategy calls right.
He said, “It’s an incredible feeling right now and to win today was a huge Team effort. It was a crazy race with a lot of action and fighting but luckily we always had the pace to counter back and overtake Mercedes in every scenario. It wasn’t easy out there but the Team made all the right calls, especially at the end to pit for the soft tyres during the Safety Car which gave us the win today.
“As a Team you always try and make everything perfect, I focus on my job and the Team also try to do a perfect job in the pits and on the strategy and clearly today it worked out pretty perfectly. It’s a great victory, after last year of course, but more for the way the race unfolded and how we all had to work together.
“It is of course a massive shame that Alex could not be on the podium with me as it would have been an even better result for the Team but it’s great for Pierre to be up here and for Toro Rosso and Honda.”
Albon admitted disappointed at missing out. The driver had a lively battle with the Ferraris before the two took each other out, only for Hamilton to crash into him in the latter stages.
He said, “Of course I’m frustrated but I’m not angry, I’m just upset. I wanted that podium and we deserved it as it was on merit. At the Safety Car restart we had some fun and I enjoyed battling with the Ferraris, the overtake felt good! Obviously Lewis had good grip once he pitted and I think he would’ve got me eventually into Turn 1, but I thought worst case scenario we had P3. I had a good gap to Lewis and I wasn’t worrying about him.
“I went into the corner deep just to cover him so he didn’t get any ideas, and then there’s a blind spot and obviously we made contact. Of course he didn’t do it on purpose, it’s just one of those things and today wasn’t meant to be. It’s done now and we’ll focus on the positives before the next race.
“Congratulations also to Max, he drove really well and deserved the win.”
There was double points for Toro Rosso. Gasly landed 2nd after an eventful afternoon and late fights with Albon and Hamilton, while a late few moves from Dany Kvyat saw him pick up 10th place.