Lewis Hamilton says he wasn’t surprised to see Max Verstappen involved in an incident while leading the Brazilian Grand Prix as his approach sometimes backfires.
Verstappen had risen from fifth on the grid to lead — overtaking both Ferraris and Mercedes on track — before colliding with Esteban Ocon as the Force India driver tried to un-lap himself. Pole-sitter Hamilton then reclaimed the lead and held on to win despite power unit concerns, and contrasted Verstappen’s style from his own when fighting other cars.
“I saw it happen and it wasn’t something that… I wasn’t surprised by it or anything like that,” Hamilton said. “I saw them racing but they weren’t racing for the same position. In my mind, I would have been in a different frame of mind.
“Fortunately he was able to keep going, no one got hurt, and they kept going; it’s a racing incident I guess. Max is that go-getter guy and every now and then it bites you. But I’m really, really proud; I don’t care about anyone else.”
Reflecting on his victory, Hamilton says his extravagant celebrations after the end of the race were the culmination of Mercedes achieving a historic championship double, matching Ferrari with five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
“I think it was probably an explosion of the last race in Mexico winning the World Championship. I didn’t really feel the celebration there because I knew that we still had another championship to win and I really needed to remain focused for the team and I really came here, to build up to here, just really focused on making sure that I could deliver for them.
“Naturally the will to win is so high for everyone and the stakes are high. Ultimately, you could make mistakes and all these different things but we didn’t, or I didn’t on the track, for example, so to come in and see my guys who I’ve come along this great journey with and we’ve had a lot of success but we’ve still remained fierce and competitive and I think our relationship is better than it’s ever been so just that bond, it was just a great moment.
“Plus it was a really hard race. I was constantly talking to the car: ‘come on, keep going, keep going’ because we had this engine problem and I knew I could see Max just in my mirrors so I was doing qualifying laps every lap to keep him behind, which is how racing should be really anyway.
“Unfortunately that’s not the case a lot of the time this year but… We’ve just won the World Championship for the fifth time so that’s real history in the making for the team and if I was to stop today, for example, Mercedes would always remember this day and that I was a part of it, and that’s cool.”