While some may find the balance of the Formula 1 season a bit of a non-event, others will discover that the battles, politics, negotiation, tempers and attempted robbery continues this weekend in Brazil for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
Lewis Hamilton have have hit the 4th world championship mark but he also hit the wall at turn 7 at Interlagos for qualifying and will start at the back of the grid. This left the continuing battle for second in the driver’s championship between pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as well as a tight constructor’s battle as well.
Temperatures were much higher for the start of the race and with two very fast drivers at the back in the form of Hamilton and Ricciardo, it would be interesting to see just how far up they could climb and how these hot temps might play into the tire performance windows and brake heat. The track temp was at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Felipe Massa gridded up for his final Brazilian Grand Prix and was saddened by the robberies the Mercedes team experienced from thugs in Sao Paulo. The war of words between Renault and Toro Rosso ramped up as the former was accused by the latter of purposefully sabotaging their engine supply.
If all of this drama wasn’t enough, there was also the talks between the teams and new Formula 1 owners, Liberty Media, regarding cost-caps and new engine regulations for 2021. Teams aren’t happy and Mercedes boss Niki Lauda says that he has serious concerns over the Americans and the future of the sport. He said they’ve had time to figure out what they’ve bought and he has concerns over what they want to change.
Then there was to continuing conversation over the continuance of the Brazilian with potential new buyers.
As the cars grid up, there was a sense of pressure and tenseness on the grid with Bottas on pole, Vettel in second and Kimi Raikkonen starting third. The Brazilian Grand Prix can sometimes throw up some intriguing races and the big question was, would the race channel the tense nature of the paddock and manifest itself on track or would it be a ho-hum race to leak the excitement out of a season that has already been decided?
A big win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel for a win in Brazil—their first since 2008. The good start and pass for the lead was crucial for Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s defensive drive to hold off a charging Lewis Hamilton meant a Ferrari podium in 1st and 3rd.
A win for the very touching radio message from Felipe Massa to his Williams F1 team for all their support for his career on this, his final Brazilian rand Prix.
Even though he started from pit lane, Lewis Hamilton’s initial charge back through the field was very impressive with a new engine and brand new aero upgrades for his Mercedes specifically set for the hotter temps on Sunday. Great work by the team.
Lewis had clawed back 19 places by lap 30 and his pace in DRS passing zones made it easy but that shouldn’t marginalize his effort as he was radioing for updates on where Vettel was meaning he was gunning for a come back for a win. Definitely focused for a guy who has already won the title. Lewis was just 6.5s off the lead by lap 51 and driving the stuffing out of his Mercedes. Lewis finished in 4th in a truly inspired drive and galactic effort but he 4-time champion.
A win for Felipe Massa to give Williams a 7th place finish by holding off Fernando Alonso and produce a terrific result for his final Brazilian GP. Also a nice points result for Alonso and McLaren.
It’s difficult not to consider the crash during qualifying and starting from the pit lane by Lewis Hamilton as anything but a fail and only Lewis could turn a crash into some sort of philosophical life lesson that everyone should learn from, he muttered something about adversity and how life’s challenges test us and other Millennial-Field navel gazing commentary.
Equally, a fail for Red Bull and Renault for tossing Daniel Ricciardo to the back of the grid with more nonsensical grid penalties. Dan’s spin on the first lap didn’t help matters either. The sandwich created by Ricciardo and Magnussen ended Vandoorne’s race.
A massive fail for Haas F1—with only one point between themselves and Renault in the championship—with Magnussen out on lap one and Grosjean spinning sending him to the back and out of the points. Those points are worth millions and Haas F1 has been very vocal about the cost of F1…well, this is a way to offset some of those costs and they missed it. Grosjean’s move cost Esteban Ocon a DNF which was his first in 27 races.
Not sure if Renault were turning their engine down after the failures they had in Mexico but the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, Renault powered, made quick work on both works Renaults which was a bit surprising. Makes you wonder if Renault were simply focused on finishing and getting those points to move ahead of Toro Rosso in the championship.
Speaking of Toro Rosso, I’m not quite sure if Brendon Hartley had an issue but sinking to the back of the pack by lap 38 while his teammate, Pierre Gasly was running in the points is not a way to secure a permanent ride for 2018 but then his retirement on lap 42 seemed to explain his lack of pace. Gasly was trying hard for the 10th place point but the Renault duo hunted him down and got by slotting Nico Hulkenberg in 10th and Carlos Sainz 11th.
A WTH for Jos Verstappen’s significant other wearing a green top and matching green lipstick. Yeah, that’s not working.
I thought it was slightly interesting that although they did give Grosjean a penalty for causing an incidents, the stewards did seem to leave a few incidents until after the race instead of calling out penalties during the race.
I didn’t time Ferrari’s stop for Vettel but he lost a chunk of time against Bottas making and undercut nearly possible for a brief moment. He was bale to pull out a gap again but that was close.
Not sure why the team took so long to serve his penalty but I suspect his head-space has something to do with when you deliver a message like that to the Frenchman. His reaction was as expected. To be fair, he may have thought that it took the stewards that long to make the call and that wasn’t the case, they made it much earlier in the race.
A very ugly tire situation for Lance Stroll as he locked up and then a chunk of tire belt was exposed and flopping around. Not good for Pirelli.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||32.940s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||48.691s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m09.500s|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||Collision|