Lewis Hamilton has been hit with a five-second time penalty at the Brazilian Grand Prix, promoting McLaren's Carlos Sainz into the first podium finish of his Formula One career.
Newly-crowned 2019 champion Hamilton collided with Red Bull's Alexander Albon in the closing stages, which cost the Red Bull driver what would have been his first F1 podium finish. Hamilton finished the race third behind Pierre Gasly, the man Albon replaced at Red Bull in August, who ironically made his first trip to the rostrum.
Hamilton fully accepted blame for the Albon incident afterwards, saying: "I massively apologise to Albon I went for a move, the gap was kind of there, but obviously it closed right at the end. Completely my fault."
As the verdict was handed down after the podium ceremony, it meant Hamilton actually visited the podium and collected the third-place trophy before visiting the stewards. Sainz had to wait before he and McLaren could celebrate as he was set to face his own visit to the stewards for an allegedly illegal use of his Drag Reduction System (DRS) driver aid in the closing stages.
Four hours after the race, it was confirmed the stewards would take no further action on the incident, confirming Sainz's first podium -- remarkably, it is McLaren's first since the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
Sainz visited the empty Interlagos podium after the verdict was confirmed to celebrate the best result of his career so far.
Good things come to those who wait... ⏳🤩— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 17, 2019
2072 days 📅
118 races 😤
1 group of loyal fans 🙌
We might have missed out on the podium but... WE'RE BACK IN THE TOP 3! 🏆🥳#FansLikeNoOther #FearlesslyForward pic.twitter.com/zXrrMVK2mF
Sainz was joined on the podium by a large group of McLaren mechanics and staff members.
"To have this great goup of people up here with me compensates everything for not being on the podium a couple of hours ago," Sainz told Sky Sports on Sunday evening
Speaking about the agonising wait, he said: "It's been a stressful last few hours. For your first podium you are nervous - you don't know how to act, how to react, especially without knowing the result. To get it coming from last [place] is very, very special.
"I cannot thank enough the team and everyone involved in this because so far this year has been a dream come true and last but not least we got the podium."
Hamilton dropped to seventh after his penalty.
Speaking about the collision which cost him a first trip to the podium, Red Bull's Albon said: "I had some gap to Lewis, and I thought 'OK, we're OK where we are', and I felt like I'll go in a little bit hot, and turn to cover him so he doesn't get any ideas. And of course you see it, but once you dive, there's a blindspot, and you don't know how far alongside you he is.
"I thought 'OK, he's far enough back that I'll give him some space,' but I didn't expect it really. I thought OK, I had the contact, it's kind of that thing where you're just waiting for it, it's like 'ah' and then it goes. Slow motion.
"It was a shame because I think he would have overtaken me anyway, into Turn 1, obviously he had the fresh tyres and he was looking racey."