Germany’s Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday to end teammate Lewis Hamilton’s run of five successive victories and cut the Briton’s championship lead to 17 points with one race remaining.
Hamilton took the checkered flag 1.4 seconds behind after setting the fastest lap, with Mercedes breaking F1 records with 11 one-two finishes and 30 podium placings in a season.
“It was a great weekend,” said Rosberg, who started on pole position after lapping fastest in qualifying at Interlagos.
“There’s still all to play for. I just need to keep this going now,” added Rosberg, whose win made up for last weekend when he started on pole in Texas and lost to Hamilton.
The final race at Abu Dhabi on Nov. 23 will offer double points for the first time, with 50 for the winner, but Hamilton only needs a second-place finish to wrap up his second title. The Briton has 334 points to Rosberg’s 317.
Mercedes’ victory equaled the record of 15 in a season held jointly by Ferrari and McLaren, with Rosberg now on five to his teammate’s 10.
The two Mercedes drivers were in a race of their own on a sunny Sao Paulo afternoon
Hamilton’s only scare came on lap 28 as he pushed to gain an advantage when Rosberg pitted, spinning and skidding off at turn four. That slipup cost him 7 seconds and a chance to win.
After he pitted, the 2008 champion steadily narrowed the gap until the Silver Arrows were just half a second apart, but Rosberg never allowed him to get close enough to make a move.
“It was an amazing race,” said Hamilton, despite missing out on his hope to become the first British driver to win six races in a row.
Brazilian Felipe Massa returned to the podium in front of a cheering crowd with third place for Williams, 41 seconds behind despite a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Massa had only himself to blame when he pulled in to the McLaren pits instead of Williams’.
“I’m so happy with the race, not happy with my mistakes today,” he said. “I stopped in McLaren [garage] because they changed our garage this race and we are a lot more in the middle and McLaren with the similar color... I thought it was our garage.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button came fourth, Red Bull’s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel was fifth, while Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen were sixth and seventh respectively. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg placed eighth, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen ninth and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas took the last point for Williams.
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