SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg won the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix for the second year in a row on Sunday and denied Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton a first success in the homeland of his late hero Ayrton Senna.
Triple champion Hamilton, who has now failed in nine attempts to win in Brazil, finished 7.756 seconds behind for Mercedes’s 11th one-two in 18 races so far this season.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished third for his 79th podium finish.
“Yeah guys, awesome,” whooped Rosberg after controlling the race from pole to chequered flag.
He and Hamilton had been separated by less than a second for 10 laps after the first pitstop but the gap then widened.
“It was a good challenge from Lewis but I was able to control the pace,” added the German, who refrained from too much exuberance on the podium out of respect for the victims of Friday’s Paris attacks.
“We saw Lewis dropping off a lot with degradation and that confirmed it was important to take care of the tyres.”
The victory in the season’s penultimate race was Rosberg’s fifth of the year, second in a row and 13th of his career, and secured the German second place in a championship already won by his British rival.
“I had good pace, it’s just you can’t overtake here,” said Hamilton, who started on the front row alongside Rosberg but could not find a way past his team mate into the opening corner despite trying hard.
“I just killed my tyres. It’s such a great track but you can’t get close enough to race,” he added after his planned two stops turned into three.
The Briton, who clinched his third championship in Texas last month, has spoken much of his wish to emulate triple champion Senna — who took eight attempts to win his home race — but he will have to wait another year.
The harder he tried, the more he suffered from tire degradation even if he at least set the fastest lap as a consolation.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth with compatriot Valtteri Bottas fifth for Williams and securing that team’s third place overall for the second year in a row.
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth with Red Bull’s Russian Daniil Kvyat seventh.
Brazilian Felipe Massa, who took his last grand prix win at Interlagos in 2008, finished eighth for Williams but was then excluded by stewards for having an overheated rear tire before the start.
That lifted Frence’s Romain Grosjean up a place, with Max Verstappen ninth for Toro Rosso after some standout overtaking moves by the 18-year-old Dutch rookie in a race short on excitement.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado was 10th for Lotus, despite collecting a five second penalty for banging into Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson as he tried to pass on lap 32 of 71.
Verstappen’s team mate Carlos Sainz started from the pitlane after his car broke down on the way to the grid and he then retired on the opening lap.
McLaren had another miserable afternoon, with little to laugh about after Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso made a joking visit to the podium on Saturday, with the pair 14th and 15th respectively after Massa’s exclusion.
Writing by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer