F1 – Brazilian GP – Race
The penultimate round of the 2018 FIA F1 World Championship takes place on the historic, and superb, Autódromo José Carlos Pace circuit – better known as Interlagos. With the drivers’ championship done and dusted, the attention now switches to the constructors title. Mercedes go into the race 55 points clear of Ferrari, and the German team could wrap the title up this weekend if they have a gap of 43 points post-race.
Lewis Hamilton started on pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Interestingly, after differing qualifying strategies, the Mercedes cars started on the super-soft tyres, whereas the Ferrari cars started on the slower soft tyres.
As always with this circuit, the race was utterly brilliant – in part aided by the varying strategies. A key moment of the race was on lap three when Max Verstappen was able to get past Kimi Raikkonen, and then a lap later, Sebastian Vettel too. The Red Bull should not have had the pace to do that, could they be in contention for the win?
As it turns out, they could! Verstappen quickly got up to 2nd position, did a longer first stint than Hamilton, and while he emerged behind the Mercedes, the Dutchman was on faster tyres (softs vs mediums), and on lap 39 he was able to sensationally take the lead of the race. Max was clearly able to control the race from that point, but for an ambitious Esteban Ocon ..
Ocon was shown blue flags for Verstappen into turn one, and the Force India driver let Max through. On the exit of turn one, Esteban decided to try and unlap himself. A quite frankly bizarre decision, but something he is allowed to do per the regulations. Esteban got partly alongside Max, Max failed to leave room, and the two collided with both spinning out; gifting the 2018 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, the lead again. Esteban Ocon was penalised for that incident and takes the blame, but I do feel that a driver more experienced than Max Verstappen would have left more room. In my opinion, that’s the reason why the Dutchman is not yet a World Class driver; immaturity. He has the speed for sure though, and he should get there in time. Do you agree with my opinion? Let me know in the comments below.
That’s how it would finish – Lewis Hamilton taking the victory with Max Verstappen 2nd. Kimi Raikkonen finished 3rd, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who had started 11th. Valtteri Bottas came home in 5th place ahead of Sebastian Vettel who struggled today. Charles Leclerc ended up 7th for Sauber ahead of the two Haas drivers, with Romain Grosjean ahead of Kevin Magnussen. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten for Force India.
Elsewhere, Brendon Hartley was 11th for Toro Rosso, which is a solid result, but a massive 50.6 seconds away from 10th place! Stoffel Vandoorne (14th) had a good race to finish two places ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso (16th). Also, Sergey Sirotkin dominated his team mate by 16.7 seconds as the Williams cars finished 17th & 18th.
Oh, and Mercedes wrapped up the constructors’ title too. A great day for the German team.