Hamil­ton wins in rain, forces ti­tle show­down with Nico Ros­berg

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Three-time se­ries cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton won yes­ter­day's rain­de­layed Brazil­ian Grand Prix, forc­ing a show­down for the sea­son ti­tle with Mercedes team­mate Nico Ros­berg in Abu Dhabi in the fi­nale in two weeks.

The race was stopped by two crashes in driv­ing rain dur­ing the first 28 of 71 laps. All but a half­dozen of the early laps were run be­hind a safety car with driv­ers strug­gling to see through the tire spray.

The sec­ond half was less event­ful, but still was slowed by an­other crash and an­other spell un­der the safety car.

Ros­berg could have claimed his first F1 ti­tle by win­ning in Brazil on Sun­day, but came up short. The Ger­man fin­ished sec­ond but still leads the sea­son over­all stand­ings with 367 points to 355 for Hamil­ton.

"I was chill­ing up front," Hamil­ton said. "When it rains, it's usu­ally a good day for me."

"I'm hunt­ing," Hamil­ton added. "All I can do is what I'm do­ing now. Abu Dhabi is usu­ally a good track for me."

Hamil­ton led from start to fin­ish through all the starts and stops. The vic­tory was his first in Brazil, but the 52nd of his ca­reer to push him one ahead of Alain Prost as the No. 2 racer in vic­to­ries. Michael Schu­macher leads with 91.

Ros­berg is still in com­mand at 12 points ahead. That means even if Hamil­ton wins the last race, Ros­berg can claim his first sea­son ti­tle by just fin­ish­ing sec­ond or third.

"I can live with sec­ond today," Ros­berg said.

The race was run be­hind a safety car for the first seven laps with rain­ing pound­ing down and driv­ers try­ing to nav­i­gate through spray and pud­dles.

It didn't take long for prob­lems to arise as soon as the safety car pulled off.

On the 13th lap Mar­cus Eric­s­son of Sauber went into a spin and crashed, forc­ing the safety car to come out again.

The safety car stayed on un­til the 20th lap. But just sec­onds af­ter it pulled off and rac­ing re­sumed, Kimi Raikko­nen of Fer­rari lost con­trol in a spin. This time the race was stopped un­der a red flag.

Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, talk­ing on his ra­dio, said con­di­tions were too dan­ger­ous. He sug­gested the crashes could have been worse un­der the treach­er­ous con­di­tions.

"We need to stop the race," he said. "It doesn't work. How many peo­ple do you want to crash?"

Hamil­ton led through the first 20 laps, fol­lowed by Ros­berg, Max Ver­stap­pen of Red Bull, which was the fi­nal fin­ish.

The race re­sumed af­ter a 30minute de­lay. But again it didn't last long. Af­ter eight laps, of­fi­cials stopped the race un­der a red flag, seem­ing to anger Hamil­ton.

"It's not even that wet now," he said on the ra­dio, adding th­ese were "nor­mal" wet con­di­tion.

Brazil­ian fans seemed to agree, with thou­sands in the stands giv­ing the thumbs-down sign as the race was stopped again.

The race re­sumed af­ter an­other 20-minute stop­page.

Com­pared to the first third, the sec­ond two-thirds was tense but smoother as the rain kept com­ing.

The safety car ap­peared for the fi­nal time on the 48th lap in a crash by home­town hero Felipe Massa.

Massa, who is leav­ing F1 at the end of the sea­son, walked off the track with a Brazil­ian flag wrapped around his shoul­ders in his fi­nal race at home.

Lewis Hamil­ton sprays cham­pagne af­ter his vic­tory yes­ter­day

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