Max Verstappen Leads Honda-Powered 1-2 Finish in Brazil
Date: November 18, 2019 10:51
November 18, 2019 MARYSVILLE, Ohio
- Verstappen earns third victory of 2019 F1 season
- Pierre Gasly scores career-best second-place finish
- Verstappen into third place in driver's championship
Honda celebrated the birthday of its founder Soichiro Honda in massive style Sunday, posting its first 1-2 Formula 1 finish in 28 years, as Max Verstappen earned his third win of the season while Pierre Gasly scored the first runner-up spot of his young career.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's Verstappen was the class of the field all weekend, using his second pole of the year to storm away to an early lead. But the day wouldn't be as cut-and-dried as that, as conflicting strategies and late-race contact between teammates made Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix one of the most eventful F1 races in recent memory.
The opening half of the race was a testament to Verstappen's powerful car as he twice gave up the lead to series champion Lewis Hamilton on pit stops, only to reclaim the spot within a couple of trips around the Interlagos circuit. His Red Bull stablemate Alex Albon was also running well, stalking the leaders just outside the top five while Toro Rosso Honda's Gasly was keeping pace close behind.
But the race was turned on its head with 20 laps left when Valtteri Bottas pulled off with engine trouble, bringing out the Safety Car. Verstappen and Albon both took the opportunity to pit for soft Pirelli tires, giving the lead back to Hamilton, who eschewed the opportunity to get new shoes. The Dutchman made that decision hurt on the Lap 59 restart as he needed just one corner to reclaim the lead while Albon sluiced past Sebastian Vettel for third behind Hamilton.
Albon was promoted to second soon after, as the Safety Car returned due to a collision between Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc. The stoppage sent Hamilton down Pit Lane for fresh tires, dropping him behind Albon and the resurgent Gasly with just two laps left.
A potential Honda podium sweep was negated soon after the restart however when Hamilton, having slipped past Gasly to third, collided with Albon spinning the luckless Thai driver out of contention. Gasly took full advantage of the conflict by taking the second spot and then he outsprinted the 2019 champion to the flag to claim a career-best finish and his first F1 podium.
The 1-2 finish for Verstappen and Gasly marked the first top-two sweep of a Formula 1 podium since Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger did the honors in the 1991 Japanese GP and was the first double podium for Honda since 1992. The win allowed Verstappen to climb into third place in the driver's championship, giving him an 11-point advantage over Leclerc with one race left. Gasly vaulted into a tie for sixth with Carlos Sainz Jr. with the result, and combined with a point gained by Daniil Kyvat, who gained three positions in the final laps to finish 10th, moved Toro Rosso into sixth in the team standings.
The 2019 Formula 1 season comes to an end on December 1 with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Technical Director, Honda F1
This is our first win in Brazil since Ayrton Senna's epic victory in 1991. Today's win was down to an aggressive and intelligent race from Max and a well-executed strategy from the team. To take a third win this season is a great result for everyone at Honda and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Congratulations also to Pierre Gasly on a fantastic drive in which he got the most out of the car to record his first F1 podium and also to Toro Rosso for their second top-three finish of the year. Pierre performed well throughout the race especially in that last lap fight with Hamilton, which I'm sure will be a real boost for him. I am happy for him in what has been a difficult year. The car-PU package worked very well with both our teams and that has to be a good sign for the final race of the season and when we look ahead to next year. We would like to dedicate this win to our founder, Soichiro Honda, whose birthday it would have been today. Finally, congratulations to McLaren, with whom we scored that last win in 1991, for finishing on the podium today.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 1st, Finish: 1st
It's an incredible feeling right now and to win today was a huge Team effort. It was a crazy race with a lot of action and fighting but luckily we always had the pace to counter back and overtake Mercedes in every scenario. It wasn't easy out there but the Team made all the right calls, especially at the end to pit for the soft tires during the Safety Car which gave us the win today. As a Team you always try and make everything perfect, I focus on my job and the Team also try to do a perfect job in the pits and on the strategy and clearly today it worked out pretty perfectly. It's a great victory, after last year of course, but more for the way the race unfolded and how we all had to work together. Today and the whole weekend the car and Honda power unit have been working really well and we have made a step so thank you to everyone for that. It is of course a massive shame that Alex could not be on the podium with me as it would have been an even better result for the Team but it's great for Pierre to be up here and for Toro Rosso and Honda.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Start: 5th, Finish: 14th
Of course I'm frustrated but I'm not angry, I'm just upset. I wanted that podium and we deserved it as it was on merit. At the Safety Car restart we had some fun and I enjoyed battling with the Ferraris, the overtake felt good! Obviously Lewis had good grip once he pitted and I think he would've got me eventually into Turn 1, but I thought worst-case scenario we had P3. I had a good gap to Lewis and I wasn't worrying about him. I went into the corner deep just to cover him so he didn't get any ideas, and then there's a blind spot and obviously we made contact. Of course he didn't do it on purpose, it's just one of those things. It's done now and we'll focus on the positives before the next race. Congratulations also to Max, he drove really well and deserved the win.
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 16th, Finish: 10th
Starting from P16 I knew it wasn't going to be easy today. It was a difficult race until my safety car restart on the last lap, as I was able to overtake three cars, getting at least one point. It's the second podium for Toro Rosso this year and I think we are the only midfield team who achieved that, so we can be really pleased with our effort. We scored many points today, taking back the sixth position in the Championship. Today's result is a great achievement for the team.
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Start: 6th, Finish: 2nd
This is just incredible! My first podium in Formula 1 and with Toro Rosso. I kept working every race on myself, I always thought that if I could be in the right place at the right time something will come, and today it happened, it's just amazing - I have so many emotions! I've always said the team is my Italian family, I love their spirit and passion, they always push like hell and today was the best present I could give back to thank them for their massive constant effort. You dream a lot about being in F1, you dream about your first podium, but then when it happens all of the emotions coming through me are just unpredictable, it's just the best day of my life right now. I want to send a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me since the start of my career and have gotten me to where I am today.
Last edited by JeffX on
November 18, 2019 10:59