By Robert Haile
Then there was one.
The penultimate race of the season finished with plenty of drama and has left it to a final race shoot out.
Race winner Lewis Hamilton said: “I’ve been racing a long time but that was incredibly tough – I tried to be as sensible and as tough as I could be out there but also sensible with all my race experience over the years, just keeping the car on track and staying clean.
“It was difficult but we persevered as a Team.
“We’ve had all sorts of things thrown at us in the second half of this season so I’m just really proud of everyone.
“I’m really grateful for the crowd we’ve had this weekend – it’s nice to be here.
“We’ve done an amazing job with what we have this weekend, Valtteri did a great job today to get big points for the Team – this is for all the guys and girls back at the factory.
“It’s been an amazing event.
“I felt very welcome here, the people have been lovely and the track is phenomenal to drive, very difficult physically and mentally, but you wouldn’t want it any other way.
“So, on to the next one.”
Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen got off the line clean with all three keeping position.
Mick Schumacher’s crash stopped the race while the tyre wall was repaired giving Max Verstappen the lead as Bottas and Hamilton pitted.
At the restart Verstappen kept the lead but cut the corner to keep Hamilton at bay.
Further back Nikita Mazepin, Sergio Perez and George Russell all connected bringing out the red flag.
Esteban Ocon had taken advantage of the restart jumping Hamilton into second with Daniel Ricciardo jumping to fourth but Verstappen had to start behind Hamilton giving Ocon pole.
Restart number two and Verstappen retook the lead and Hamilton was soon back into second.
With two more virtual safety cars after Yuki Tsunoda collided with Sebastian Vettel, then Kimi Raikkonen made contact with Vettel.
As Hamilton was hunting Verstappen down the pair came together with the defending champion ending up in the back of the challenger, who ended up with a five second penalty for his defence.
Hamilton then went on to claim win one hundred and three and move level with Verstappen in the championship.
In the constructors championship Bottas broke Alpine hearts catching Ocon on the last lap to take third, keeping Mercedes top.
Ricciardo finished fifth beating Pierre Gasly with the Ferrari drivers Leclerc and Sainz finishing together in seventh and eighth with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi ninth as Lando Norris scoring the final point.
Formula One will now head to its final race on December 10-12 for the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 369.5
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 369.5
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 218
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 190
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 158
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 154
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 149.5
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 115
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 100
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 77
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 72
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 43
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 34
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 20
- George Russel (Williams) – 16
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 10
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 7
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 3
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Mercedes – 587.5
- Red Bull – 559.5
- Ferrari – 307.5
- McLaren – 269
- Alpine – 149
- AlphaTauri – 120
- Aston Martin – 77
- Williams – 23
- Alfa Romeo – 13
- Haas – 0