Vettel wins on the day Hamilton mounts a grand comeback


The British driver fought his way through the field having started in the pit lane, and was close to earning a place on the podium, finally taken by the Ferraris and Bottas

Lewis Hamilton provided the entertainment in a race that was somewhat more boring than expected, but was won by Sebastian Vettel. The German driver, who makes it five wins this season, had few problems to dominate a race that was his once he had muscled ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen shortly after lights out.

The outstanding performance of the day, though, was Lewis Hamilton’s. The now world champion had to start in the pit lane owing to his crash in qualifying, fought his way up the field and into the points, which was a meritorious performance. He was not satisfied with just managing that, though. In fact, it was not until the finishing line that the British driver finally gave up on his aspirations to make a podium finish. One by one he overtook his opponents, until in the final laps he finally came up against Max Verstappen, who he overtook, and lastly Räikkönen, who fought him off heroically. The 16 positions he clawed back are a great reward for a driver who had nothing at stake, having taken the title two weeks ago.

A worthy send-off, at last, for Massa

The other moving story in the race was that involving Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez. The three drivers were neck and neck at the end, but the Brazilian wanted to bid farewell to his fans in a dignified manner, unlike last season when he was forced to retire. In front of his enthusiastic fans, on his home circuit, Massa fought off the constant attacks from Alonso, while Pérez awaited his chance.

Massa’s seventh-place finish, which he achieved thanks to his overtaking of Alonso early on in the race, was a worthy end to a sporting career that has lasted 15 years. To honour the fans, the Williams driver was allowed to join Vettel and company on the podium, to be interviewed by another Brazilian idol, now retired: Rubens Barrichello. For Alonso, although the eighth position he finished in was no great shakes, it was a good last-race-but-one in the soon-to-be-over McLaren-Honda colours.