Lewis Hamilton has postponed Mercedes team mate’s Nico Rosberg possible title championship to the last race in Abu Dhabi, after winning Sunday’s Formula 1 Grande Premio do Brasil 2016, despite the Sao Paulo storms and rains.
Rosberg, who is leading the title race now has his margin cut to 12. He came second in Sao Paulo, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, was third.
Rosberg’s championship lead heading into the final round is 12 points over Hamilton – if he finishes third in Abu Dhabi he is champion, even if his team mate wins.
The race in Abu Dhabi will take place between 25 and 27 November.
The win in Brazil is Hamilton’s third win in a row from pole position and gave nine victories to match Rosberg’s for the season.
“I was generally just chilling up front,” said Hamilton, whose 52nd career win put him second on the all-time list behind seven-times champion Michael Schumacher (91) but ahead of Alain Prost.
“When it rains, it’s usually a good day for me … it was a very easy race, generally. It was pretty straightforward.”
He led all the way, the only minor drama occurring when water began seeping through his Ayrton Senna-themed helmet visor during the first phase of the race. He changed helmet after the first stoppage.
“No mistakes, no issues, no spins,” he said.
Behind him, there was mayhem and chaos in a crash-filled thriller that was twice stopped and re-started, with five safety car periods and lengthy delays after cars aquaplaned off.
“It didn’t go my way today with the win, Lewis just did a great job,” said Rosberg, who survived a half-spin of his own.
“It was very difficult conditions out there. I can live with second place today, for sure.”
In amongst it all, the talent of Dutch teenager Max Verstappen shone through like a beacon in the gloom.
The 19-year-old passed Kimi Raikkonen at the start and then Rosberg for second place.
He then saved a near spin, still staying ahead of Rosberg, but dropped back to 16th after his final pitstop and overtook more than half the field in the space of 17 laps to finish third.
“I think a second was definitely possible,” he said.
Verstappen’s main rival for driver of the day had to be Bernd Maylander, the German threading the safety car around the anti-clockwise circuit on one of the busiest afternoons of his extensive career.
Mexican Sergio Perez was fourth for Force India with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fifth and Spaniard Carlos Sainz sixth for Toro Rosso.
The Drivers standing after the Brazil Grand Prix:
1 NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 367
2 LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES 355
3 DANIEL RICCIARDO RED BULL 246
4 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI 197
5 MAX VERSTAPPEN RED BULL 192
6 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FERRARI 178
7 SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA 97
8 VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS 85
9 NICO HULKENBERG FORCE INDIA 66
10 FERNANDO ALONSO MCLAREN 53