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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton closes gap to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after win at F1’s Brazil GP

Lewis Hamilton’s 101st Formula One career win saw him reduce the gap to Championship leader Max Verstappen to just 14 points despite taking 25 grid places worth of penalties.

Hamilton took an engine change before the weekend started, a five place penalty and was then disqualified from qualifying on Friday due to a DRS infringement which saw him start last on the grid for the start of the sprint qualifying on Saturday before he climbed up to fifth by the end of the sprint qualifying.

Hamilton’s title rival Max Verstappen was also subject to an enquiry from the stewards are going up to Hamilton’s car after qualifying, touching the Brit’s rear wing, something which is against Parc Ferme rules, an action which saw the Dutchman fined €50,000.

Valtteri Bottas started on pole position heading into Sunday’s race after finishing first in the sprint qualifying on Saturday, with Hamilton’s title rival and Championship leader Verstappen lining up alongside the Finn on the front row.

Hamilton started 10th on the grid due to his penalty and climbed up to fourth place within four laps of the start of the Grand Prix on Saturday and then the battle with Verstappen was well and truly on after passing Sergio Perez on the 19th lap.

On lap 48 Hamilton made his move with the Dutchman defending which ended up with both drivers going off the track. But after an investigation from the stewards no further punishment was necessary.

Hamilton then 11 laps later managed to pass Verstappen finally, faking a move down the inside at turn one and then overtaking him in turn four after a better exit. Hamilton held his lead for the rest of the race, with Verstappen finishing second, Bottas third and Perez, who took fastest lap off Hamilton on the final lap, finishing fourth. With that result Mercedes edged ahead in the Constructors Championship and now lead by 11 points.

Hamilton is now only 14 points behind Verstappen with three races to go in the Middle East: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi with the title well and truly up for grabs, with the next race seeing F1 visit Qatar for its first ever Grand Prix the next weekend.

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