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REPORT: Seb Edges Valtteri to Victory, Lewis Storms to P4

REPORT: Seb Edges Valtteri to Victory, Lewis Storms to P4

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton came home in second and fourth, but the Brazilian Grand Prix belonged to Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

'I think we lost the race in the first corner'

Vettel passed pole-sitter Valtteri on the inside into Turn 1 on the opening lap and fended off the Finn's advances throughout the race to score his first win since July's Hungarian Grand Prix.

"I think we lost the race in the first corner," admitted Valtteri. "When I dropped the clutch at the start initially, there was less grip than I expected, so I broke the traction and got some wheel spin.

"Seb got a better getaway and managed to get on the inside. That is unfortunate because the race pace between us and Ferrari was very close today and we had a similar strategy. When we went for the Softs, we tried the undercut and tried to attack with the new tyres, but there was no way to get past.

"We wanted to attack in the very end again but, when I was trying to pick up the pace again, there was nothing left in the tyres.

"After the good result yesterday, I had very high hopes for today. But if you look at the positives, it has been a much better weekend for me personally than I had for a while. And it was not a bad result for us as a team looking at the position where Lewis started today, so that's good."

'I had a great time, I enjoyed the race very much'

Lewis Hamilton produced a storming drive through the filed after starting in the pitlane to take fourth at the flag - narrowly falling short of the podium to Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis made steady progress early on running on the Softs - inheriting the lead when the SuperSoft runners stopped - and pushed on until Lap 43 when he made his one and only stop, re-joining in fifth, behind Max Verstappen.

Lewis was the fastest man on track and made light work of the Red Bull with a simply, simply lovely pass, setting off in chase of Raikkonen with 12 laps to go. But while he reeled in the Ferrari, he just ran out of laps to snatch the final spot on the podium.

"I had a great time, I enjoyed the race very much," said Lewis. "I had so much pace today, it would have been an easy win this weekend.

"So, on the one side I am disappointed that I put myself in the worst position for today. But yesterday is behind me, today has been very positive, I had fun coming through - it felt like the go-karting days where I would always start in the back in my first year or two.

"My goal today was really to just try and redeem yesterday's mistake, to make the team proud and get some points back.

"I was trying to get back to third, I just ran out of tyres in the end. But I enjoyed the battle today and hopefully that continues to show to everyone that I still have a lot of fire in my heart and many, many more races to go."

'He threw everything at it today and it was a champion's drive'

While the team might have missed out on a win, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff was full of pride for the team after a rollercoaster weekend of emotions.

"My first words today must go to our team members," said Toto. "This has been a weekend of extreme and contrasting emotions for us, and then this morning the guys came in again and rebuilt Lewis' car from the ground up.

"It has been humbling to see their spirit, resilience and dedication this weekend. And it was matched by our two drivers: Valtteri pushed every lap of the race, hanging on to Sebastian but unable to close in quite enough to claim the lead, at a circuit where overtaking is difficult between cars of similar performance; while Lewis delivered the best fourth-place finish I have ever seen.

"For Valtteri, the race was decided from the start: he got wheel spin on the start which opened the door to Sebastian at Turn 1. For Lewis, he transformed a pit-lane start into a finish just five seconds off the front; it was one of his best performances of the year and showed that we had the quickest car here by a good margin.

"He threw everything at it today and it was a champion's drive. Now we move on to Abu Dhabi and will be aiming to finish our season on a high."

'He drove an attacking race'

Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin was impressed by the performance of both drivers, but particularly by the strength of the W08 in the scorching hot temperatures of Interlagos. 

"It was a frustrating result for both of our drivers and for the team, although it's also a day that is easy to take positives from," said Andrew. "With Valtteri the race win was decided by the smallest of margins, a little too much wheel spin off the line gave up the lead, an undercut that almost worked but in the end we were just a couple of tenths from making it happen.

"After a great lap to secure pole, it's always going to be disappointing to come away with anything less than a win but he has had a very solid weekend and did a good job managing the tyres on a track that was up at 60°C and showed pace in the race that looked every bit as fast as Vettel. 

"For Lewis, to start from the back and finish just five seconds off the leader is a great achievement but also frustrating that we didn't quite make it to the podium. He drove an attacking race but to do so was pushing the tyres to the limits on both sets. We stayed out on the soft as long as we could but once we started to lose the rears, we had to come in for the super-soft and we couldn't afford to manage those, so he was pushing hard from the word go, trying to reel in the leaders.

'Our desire to win races hasn't diminished'

"We've come into these final races with an eye on using Fridays running for 2018 development but our desire to win races hasn't diminished and it's a shame to leave here without the win.

"However, we can take some comfort in the fact that our car was the fastest today on what was the hottest track of the year, which shows the progress we have made with the W08.

"It's been a tough weekend for the team but we are good at learning from tough weekends. We are looking forward to Abu Dhabi, it's a great track that should suit our car and we'll go there looking to finish what has been a long but amazing season on a high."

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