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Hamilton wins Brazil GP, title race alive

dpadpa 13/11/2016

The race for the F1 drivers' championship will go down to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Nico Rosberg 12 points ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton won a rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix to take the Formula One title battle with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg into the season's last race, in Abu Dhabi in two weeks.

World champion Hamilton took the chequered flag for his first win in Brazil, 11.455 seconds ahead of Rosberg who now needs to finish third or higher in Abu Dhabi to capture the championship for the first time.

"I was generally just chilling up front, when it rains it is usually a good day for me," said Hamilton, who with 52 grand prix victories has now gone past Alain Prost in the all-time list and is second only to Michael Schumacher, on 91.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen made a series of brilliant overtaking manoeuvres to finish third, with Force India's Sergio Perez fourth and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel fifth.

Australia's Daniel Ricciardo finished eighth after his race was severely hampered by a five-second time penalty incurred for entering the pit lane while it was closed.

With cars crashing all over the soaked circuit, Ricciardo and Red Bull ignored that the pit lane was closed due to the stricken Sauber of Marcus Ericsson blocking the pit entrance and made a stop.

Later Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed that the team felt Ricciardo "had a puncture" but race officials slapped Ricciardo with the penalty.

Despite the title race going down to the wire, Rosberg seemed happy with what was for him an uneventful day.

"It didn't go my way today, Lewis did a great job. It was very difficult conditions but I can live with second place."

The race, which began with a safety-car start, was twice interrupted with red flags - once for a high-speed crash on the straight by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen - and in all featured the safety car five times.

Hamilton got away cleanly from the front after the safety car went off on lap 7 while Verstappen quickly got past Raikkonen to put pressure on Rosberg.

But drivers were having trouble even on the wet tyres on the slippery surface, and Vettel spin on lap 11, while Sauber's Ericsson aquaplaned and crashed into a barrier on lap 13, bringing out the safety car

After the restart on lap 19, Raikkonen spun and crashed on the straight and the red flag was out to interrupt the race. The Finn lost control and his Ferrari hit a wall on the outside and then came back across track and stopped facing the wrong way near the pit wall.

After a 35-minute break the race resumed from lap 21 under a safety car but the red flag came out again seven laps later because of the persistent rain.

Verstappen, who had overtaken Rosberg had a major scare when he slid at high speed on lap 39 but the Dutch teenager managed to right his car.

Rosberg also had a half spin which cost him time after Verstappen had pitted for intermediate tyres.

The safety car was back out when Brazilian Felipe Massa in a Williams - on his last home race before retirement - span and crashed out on lap 49 near the pit lane entry.

A tearful Massa walked to the paddock holding up the Brazilian flag to the applause of mechanics including from his former team Ferrari.

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