BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX 13.11.16
In a chaotic, fragmented and dangerous race at Interlagos, in torrential rain; Lewis Hamilton did all he could do to keep his championship hopes alive, while Max Verstappen entertained the crowd.
The race in Sao Paulo was one of the wettest races ever witnessed; the safety car appeared on 5 separate occasions, the race was stopped twice and several drivers crashed out.
“It was a lot of fun, with some scary moments.” (Max Verstappen)
Brazilian GP Race Results 2016
1st: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2nd: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
3rd: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
4th: Sergio Perez (Force India)
5th: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
6th: Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso)
7th: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
8th: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
9th: Felipe Nasr (Sauber)
10th: Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
Hamilton Handles the Wet Track with Ease!
Hamilton, one of the more comfortable drivers in such treacherous conditions, won the race – his 3rd in a row, drawing level with team mate Rosberg with 9 wins this year. It was his first win ever in Brazil (after 10 attempts) and the 52nd win of his career – putting him ahead of Alain Prost (but still a way behind Michael Schumacher with 91 wins).
Nico Rosberg is still ‘on track’ to win the title, despite his championship lead being cut from 19 to 12 points. He only needs to finish in the Top 3 in Abu Dhabi to become World Champion. Hamilton can only hope that he can win again in the next race and that Rosberg struggles.
It was Mercedes’ 50th victory out of 58 races since the new 1.6 litre power units appeared at the Melbourne Grand Prix in 2014 – an incredible statistic to highlight their current domination of the sport.
While the Mercedes team continue battling for the title, 19 year old Dutchman Max Verstappen is injecting some excitement.
“We witnessed something very special.. It stands out to me like Ayrton Senna in Monaco and other great drives in history.” (Red Bull Boss Christian Horner)
Max, Lucky and Skillful in Brazil
Verstappen had an astonishing race. He managed to correct a huge spin on the pit straight, crediting it to 50% luck and 50% skill. He overtook Raikkonen early on and midway through the race made an inspired pass on Rosberg to take 2nd. Second is where he could have finished had Red Bull not then put him on Intermediate tyres – a mistake which meant that he had to pit again for extreme wet tyres. At this point he had dropped to 16th and the Red Bull team asked “Can you make your way through the field on full wets?” He then put on a spectacular display of driving, advancing 13 places in 16 laps – to take the 3rd podium.
“It was the Verstappen show. It was really unbelievable driving, great entertainment. Physics are being redefined.” (Toto Wolf, Mercedes Boss).
It was a sad day for local hero Felipe Massa as he failed to complete his last ever Brazilian Grand Prix, crashing out on Lap 46.
Race officials had several difficult calls to make, as to the safety of continuing the race in such conditions.
“It’s unbelievable how difficult it was… I don’t blame the race director for being that tiny bit easy on the conditions.” (Carlos Sainz)
Romain Grosjean crashed out before the race even started. Jolyon Palmer collided with Daniil Kvyat and retired on Lap 20. “You just can’t see anything. It is bad but it is just the standing water.”
The Marcus Ericsson crash on Lap 13 brought out the safety car and following the restart Kimi Raikkonen crashed into a barrier – stopping the race for the first time. It was 35 minutes before it restarted, only to stop again on Lap 29 following reports of further heavy rain. This time the drivers had to wait 27 minutes for the restart, it was at this point that Verstappen carved his way through the torrential rain and the other cars.
Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez retired on Lap 60 and a dispirited Jenson Button finished last after spending much of the race unhappy with his car.
How can Abu Dhabi possibly top this for incident and excitement? Formula One seems determined to hold our attention as we head to the season close…