Max Verstappen's masterclass ruined by Esteban Ocon's moment of madness

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Until Lap 44, the story of the Brazilian Grand Prix was Max Verstappen's flawless drive. Then everything changed and Verstappen was punted off the track by the lapped Force India of Esteban Ocon.

Here are the main talking points from another thrilling race from the 2018 season:

Shock: Seeing Mercedes struggle so badly to manage its tyres again. How different would 2018 be right now if Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel hadn't scored such spectacular own goals throughout the season?

Shocker: Ocon is a fine race talent, but his collision with Verstappen was bafflingly stupid. There is no excuse for colliding with the leader of a race when running a lap down and Verstappen's rage afterwards was completely understandable. In my opinion, Ocon was fortunate not to see a black flag -- signalling instant disqualification from the race -- and even more fortunate Verstappen gave him only a few aggressive pushes when they met immediately after the race.

Get your 2019 bets in now: Verstappen looks like a man ready to win the championship. He learned the harsh lessons of the early part of 2018 but right now I think only Lewis Hamilton is performing at a better level. There is clearly a huge amount of optimism in the Honda package Red Bull will use next year -- if Verstappen is in the hunt every weekend he's going to be a contender in 2019 without question.

Deja vu: As many pointed out, there was a degree of irony to the race-altering moment. In 2001, Max's father Jos Verstappen collided with Juan Pablo Montoya after being lapped by the Colombian in the closing stages of the same race, at the same circuit.

Five-time: Mercedes' fifth consecutive constructors' championship is a remarkable achievement. The team had it pretty easy at the beginning of the V6 turbo era, but to its credit it has responded to the renewed threat of Ferrari over the past two seasons and gone from strength to strength. It has had its difficult moments in 2018, but the way it has responded to them could be a lesson for Ferrari to learn from if it wants to end Mercedes' hot streak next season.

Overtake of the race: Both Red Bull drivers were candidates. Verstappen's early pass on Sebastian Vettel was tremendous, and propelled him into contention for the race victory that should have been his.

Daniel Ricciardo followed suit in the closing stages, barging past the struggling Vettel at Turn 1 with the sort of move we've become used to from the Australian driver.

Kimi... is faster... than... you...: Ferrari asked Vettel to move over later in the race to let Kimi Raikkonen have a go at passing the struggling Bottas. The perception for years has been that Vettel is the defacto number one and, although that still appears to be the case with Raikkonen's imminent move to Sauber, it's interesting to see how the dynamic shifted in the race. It was even more fascinating given the imminent change about to happen at Maranello.

A glimpse into the future?: Many will talk about Verstappen's performance, but Charles Leclerc looks like a megastar-in-waiting. On Saturday he stole the show in qualifying and he converted that into a P7, the spot now labelled 'best of the rest' in F1.

Given how badly Vettel has performed under pressure this year, it is going to be fascinating to see how the German copes alongside Leclerc in 2019.

Driver of the day: Leclerc was impressive, and Stoffel Vandoorne also turned in a punchy drive that will probably go unnoticed by many. But this has to go to Verstappen -- the Dutchman is driving as well as we've ever seen at the moment and he deserved to be the man standing on the top step of the podium at the end of the race.