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Sports Articles: Formula 1: Brazil Talking Points

Formula 1: Brazil Talking Points
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Formula 1: Things To Think About After Race 19 In Interlagos


1. Verstappen's Qualifying Pace

He was blisteringly quick in qualifying, showed everyone a clean pair of heels. It was a big surprise to see him end up on pole, leading to more questions about the Ferrari engine and whether it was in fact down on power since the rules were cleared up. It also seemed like Honda are really getting their act together and augurs well for next season.


2. Uncertainty

For the first time the race had a huge element of uncertainty, in terms of tyres. Usually teams know almost for definite when they will stop and how many stops they will make. This time around, no one was sure what would be the best time to stop nor how many stops would be fastest. It did give the race a good feel before the start.


3. The Start

It set up a good race with Hamilton getting round Vettel at the start, but Verstappen was so quick he was able to get clear. Nearer the back Leclerc jumped up a few places to give himself a chance of getting involved in the battle nearer the front. Carlos Sainz, starting from last, was able to get a bunch of places too, but it looked to be little more than giving him a chance of points.


4. Albon Pushing Bottas

Albon was hounding Bottas trying to take 4th and was clearly faster, but he was unable to pass him. It was good to see that he had the pace to match the Mercedes, even if he lacked the capability of making a pass.


5. Unlucky Ricciardo

Like Leclerc, the Aussie was on mediums intending to run long but then he tried to take Magnussen and his front win was broken. It seemed like a mistake on Ricciardo's part, as he got too much kerb on the inside and ran wide into Magnussen. Certainly Magnussen thought it was Ricciardo's fault, calling him a ****** idiot over the radio. The stewards agreed and Danny Ric was given a 5 second penalty, as well as being dropped to last by the repairs to his wing.


6. Leclerc Flying

It took him just 12 laps to get into the top 6, even though he was on the medium tyres, while most around him were on softs. Leclerc was absolutely flying.


7. Rolling The Dice

Mercedes tried so hard to get the win, always going for broke rather than settling for as many points as possible. It backfired in the end, but it was good to see them take chances. Sadly I doubt they would have thrown caution to the wind if the title was still on the line, but it was enjoyable to see. They started by trying to undercut Verstappen but set their strategy down as a two-stopper by going back onto softs, leaving no flexibility as they had to change again at some point.


8. Williams Hinder Max

Red Bull responded by bringing in Verstappen on the next lap only for him to be baulked by an unsafe release from Williams, who let Kubica go right into Max. Only Verstappen's reactions saved him from a crash, but it meant he ended up behind Hamilton. Not for long. But Hamilton retook him, only to lose out again to Verstappen quickly thereafter.


9. Bottas Making A Mess Of Things

Bottas was behind Leclerc after a second round of pit stops and climbing all over the back of him, but unable to overtake him even when the chance presented itself. He very nearly ended up taking them both out of the race due to his error. Then, all of a sudden, there is smoke coming from his engine, though he is still hounding the Ferrari. But a lap or two on and he becomes the first to retire as his engine gives up the ghost on lap 54.


10. Mercedes Gamble Again

For some reason Bottas pulling off the track in what looks a fairly safe place results in a surprising safety car. Everyone jumps into the pits, except Hamilton, who is told to do the opposite as Mercedes try once more to risk all on the chance of a win. That sees Leclerc now sat in 5th with fresh tyres. Hamilton is in front with old mediums, everyone else, pretty much, is on fresh rubber.


11. Restart

I have never seen a restart like this one, as Hamilton went so incredibly slowly before trying to leap away at almost the last possible second, causing absolute mayhem in the pack, as everyone tries to avoid overtaking before the line. It did not help Hamilton though, as Verstappen goes past into turn 1 and is away with fresh tyres, Hamilton has no chance. Albon has managed to get into 3rd, overtaking Vettel, looking for his first ever podium and chasing Hamilton. Sainz is up to 7th, from last on the grid.


12. What On Earth?

I have no words. Leclerc takes Vettel, then, on the next straight, Vettel draws alongside and then proceeds to drive across the track and into Leclerc, both cars suffering punctures and dropping out of the race. Bizarrely Vettel gets no punishment and it is ruled a 'racing incident', yet it is less of a racing incident than Ricciardo's mistake earlier. This was not a driver hitting the kerb and drifting wide as a result. This was one teammate just driving across the track into a car that was alongside him. Vettel, after the initial whine down the radio, showed by his body language on the sidelines that he realised he had messed up badly. The worst kind of error too, the kind that ruins your team's whole weekend!


13. Mercedes Go For It Again

The Ferrari smash causes another safety car and Mercedes pit Hamilton this time, dropping Hamilton down to 4th from 2nd with the race possibly about to finish behing the safety car. Gasly is now 3rd in the Toro Rosso after driving a brilliant race to keep himself on the tail of the frontrunners throughout. The safety car comes in to give Lewis 2 laps to recover with the freshest tyres, but 3 cars ahead of him. He does manage to get past Gasly, dropping him out of the podium places but he throws one down the inside of Albon and hits the Red Bull, allowing Gasly through into second, with Hamilton chasing him hard right to the chequered flag. A drag race off the final corner sees Gasly beat Hamilton. Lewis admits to being at fault in the Albon incident, despite this it takes the stewards hours to decide he was at fault and he gets a 5-second penalty letting Sainz (yes from last) in to get the final podium place. Albon ends up 15th. Though even that took more hours to confirm as the stewards looked into complaints that some cars used DRS when it was not supposed to be available, Sainz being one of the cars investigated. However they eventually confirmed Sainz in third.


14. Stewards!

The stewards are becoming as much of a tedious joke as VAR in football right now. No one knows who has finished where for hours. Even when the decisions are made, very few of them make any sense. How does Vettel not get a punishment but Ricciardo does? Why does it take so long to figure out Hamilton is at fault even though he has admitted it was his fault? Sainz and the McLaren team never got their chance to celebrate their podium on the podium, as Hamilton was up there, but clearly knew he was not keeping the place. It is a nonsense.

Written by Tris Burke November 19 2019 08:47:01