If Andrew Shovlin is right, and Mercedes brought the same car they’ve had for the last three races, then you’d have to be impressed with what a difference a track can make in Formula 1. Merceds came out of the box quick at Interlagos for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil and never looked back.
The seasons’s last Sprint race was a foreshadow of what was to come with George Russell winning the event and eventually winning the grand prix on Sunday. George had his maiden win in F1 leading his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, home for the team’s first win in 2022 and a 1, 2 finish. Carlos Sainz had a terrific recovery drive to third.
A big win for Mercedes and George Russell for the first win in 2022 for the team and the first-ever win for George Russell in F1. Lewis, who tangled with Max Verstappen early on, recovered to a very strong second place and just around a second behind Russell. A very positive result to build some energy heading into 2023 and a result of some very hard work by the entire team.
A win for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who had a grid penalty and an unscheduled stop for an overheating brake disc but still managed to take advantage of a late Safety Car period to fit fresh tires and make his way to to third. Also a good recovery drive for Charles Leclerc to 4th although his asking for the team to deny a podium for Carlos so he could gain a few points for second in the driver’s championship wasn’t in the cards.
A fantastic result for Fernando Alonso who started well down the grid to finish a terrific P5 with his teammate, Esteban Ocon, in P8. A dual-points score for Alpine when both McLaren’s were DNF, so it’s a big points haul for 4th in the constructor’s championship.
A tidy race for Valtteri Bottas who made the most of his Alfa Romeo to get up in the points for 9th. Valtteri looked quick over the weekend and if the track flattered the Mercedes, it may have also flattered the Alfa Romeo.
A fail for Red Bull with Max Verstappen clashing with Lewis Hamilton into turn one and two causing some damage, prompting a stop for a new wing and dropping him to the back. He recovered to P6 after passing his teammate, Sergio Perez, who finished in P7. The team asked him to give the position back on the last lap and he refused and said he had his reasons. He may have but it was a bad look for fans watching who remember all the help Sergio gave Max last year in Abu Dhabi. Sergio also said as much but if there is truth to the Monaco rumors, perhaps Max did have his reasons. It’s one of those internal issues that can’t be discussed publicly but Max made it public and that’s not a good look. He should have moved over for the harmony in the team.
A fail for McLaren who are in a heated battle for 4th in the constructor’s championship but delivered a dual-DNF in Brazil. Daniel’s silly clash with Magnussen early on was a bad move and then an electrical issue left Lando Norris stranded on track. A blow to their effort to finish 4th as best-of-the-rest. Lando punting Charles Leclerc was not a good look either.
There was a lot going on so it would be harsh to give Aston Martin, Alpha Tauri or Haas F1 a fail but there was opportunity and it looked like Mick Schumacher may pick up the baton from a crashed even Magnussen to get a result for Haas F1. Sebastian Vettel looked quick all weekend so getting his Aston to P11 behind his teammate, Lance Stroll, was most likely disappointing.
I am not sure in what world the clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton would garner a penalty for Max. I wasn’t even considering that Max would get a penalty given he was clearly alongside Lewis who did not give him a car’s width (which everyone has been screaming for two years now). At most, I was a racing incident but a penalty for Max is just silly. Thankfully it may not have really made an impact as stopping for a new front wing was penalty enough but in my mind there is a theme every time Derrick Warrick is a guest steward. There, I said it.
Mercedes tweeting Lewis’s innuendo about Max doing it deliberately was also base behavior as they know they are ramping up the mobocracy outrage. Teams are getting all twisted about the hate online but then use their platforms to sway public opinion and create that hate. I have little interest in teams complaining of hate they get online when they do things like that. They know what they are doing, they just don’t like when it’s done to them. In my opinion, Mercedes is one of the more egregious at it.
Lewis Hamilton was voted “Driver of the Day” at F1’s website and that’s just silly. George wins his first race, dominated the weekend and Fernando recovered up to P5 and they vote for Lewis? I guess George and Fernando also needed to get an Honorary Citizenship from Brazil too?
Pirelli Tire Story:
- Mercedes sealed its first win of the year with a one-two led by Russell – the winner of yesterday’s sprint race – who finished ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers adopted an identical two-stop strategy: soft tyres at the start, followed by a middle stint on medium and a final stint on soft. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz completed the podium with a three-stopper, alternating between the medium and soft compounds. Sergio Perez started fourth but was passed during the final laps by both Ferraris, as well as Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and his Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen, finishing the race in seventh on the medium tyres.
- Russell set fastest lap of the race on soft tyres: 1m13.785s. The soft was used for a 34-lap stint by Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, who switched from the medium on lap 37.
Sao Paulo Grand Prix Results:
|Pos||Name||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|3||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||71||0||+4.051s||1m13.953s||3||15|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||71||0||+10.056s||1m14.195s||3||8|
|7||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||71||0||+14.08s||1m14.283s||2||6|
|9||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||71||0||+22.552s||1m15.511s||2||2|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||71||0||+23.552s||1m14.831s||2||1|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||71||0||+26.183s||1m15.549s||2||0|
|12||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||71||0||+26.867s||1m15.327s||3||0|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||71||0||+29.325s||1m15.802s||2||0|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||70||0||+1 lap||1m15.508s||3||0|