Brendon Hartley forced to retire at Brazilian Grand Prix

Ted Kravitz

Ted Kravitz

He finished only 5.4 seconds behind Vettel.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who won the title in Mexico City a fortnight ago, started from pit lane and drove a superb race to make his way up to fourth by the end.

It was the German's fifth win of the season, 47th of his career, and Ferrari's first success since Hungary at the end of July when Vettel was leading the championship.

"I messed up yesterday and put myself in the worst position", he added.

These turbos have a regulated maximum rotation speed of 125,000rpm, and with the less dense air at altitude the only way to get back the lost engine performance is to run it as near to the maximum as possible for as long as you can.

Valtteri Bottas, who had lined up on pole position for Mercedes, saw his hopes of overhauling Vettel for the runner-up position in the championship effectively disappear when he finished second. Hamilton's unassailable overall lead was reduced to 43.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen held off Hamilton to take third place for Ferrari, the 2007 world champion's third podium finish in a row. "I was trying everything to pull a bit of a gap and control the race from there".

"This is in the hands of Red Bull to decide", Tost told Autosport.

Asked if that meant soon after Brazil, he replied: "I guess so". Even then, I'm pretty sure there would have been a lot of Renault personnel spending the race with their fingers crossed.

Force India's Sergio Perez was ninth and Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, lapped by the leader, took the final point for Renault.

A hectic first lap saw the safety auto deployed after Romain Grosjean lost control in his Haas and took out Esteban Ocon while Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne were forced out in a separate battle that also involved Daniel Ricciardo.

"I knew this day would come at some stage, but I wasn't expecting it to be today", said Ocon.

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