By A. Balaji
The race was set up, to be a moment in history, where Lewis Hamilton would seal his 5th world title, but instead, the racing world witnessed the day when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen brilliantly broke a 112-race winless streak. The Finn, whose last victory was in Australia 2013, came out on top of a three-way battle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes Hamilton, to claim his 21st career victory and become, at 39, F1's oldest race winner since Nigel Mansell in 1994.
Raikkonen made full use of his opportunity in front of the grid and his ultrasoft tyres at the start to surprise Hamilton in turn 1. Raikkonen, having gained a position on the opening lap for the first time since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, led comfortably as the others followed him till the finish line.
During the race, Ferrari confidently told Raikkonen that Hamilton would need another pit stop, and in the end, the Mercedes driver was indeed forced in for fresh rubber once more on lap 38 after suffering excessive tyre wear. Hamilton quickly passed Bottas after his stop and then rapidly set after Verstappen and Raikkonen, who were nine and 12 seconds up the track when he rejoined.
The four-time world champion brilliantly closed the gap, but after latching on to the back of Verstappen, and having surpassed him to race for the pole position, he found himself onto the rear of Raikkonen's car, unable to reach further. The closest he came was on the penultimate lap when he and Verstappen went neck and neck for several corners. The Dutchman ultimately came out on top leaving Hamilton to eat his dust. The dispute allowed Kimi to calmly race over the finish line, and wrap up a popular victory that moved him one ahead of fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen into 15th in the all-time wins list. He also moved ahead of Bottas into third in the drivers' standings.
Overall, the race was a fantastic one, with all drivers racing it out till the end. The Brit might have not gotten his title, but he was undoubtedly going to get it in the following race, as we saw later on in the tour.