F1 – Brazil GP – Qualifying

Olá, Minifans! Usually, the Friday qualifying for the sprint race doesn’t bring much to the table, but this time it has revolutionised the whole paddock. After a very surprising gap between Hamilton and Verstappen, the questions started pouring in, especially after the Dutch driver showed an especial interest in his rival’s rear wing. An investigation was started, ending in Hamilton getting disqualified from the session due to the gap in his DRS being too big when opened and getting sent back to the last place of the grid for the sprint qualifying, while Verstappen got off with a slap on the wrist and a 50.000€ fine for touching the Mercedes. This, added to a pre-existing 5-place grid penalty for Sunday for Hamilton, set a sour mood in Mercedes, who denied any press declarations until after the sprint qualifying, when Toto Wolff would answer questions from journalists.

The biggest question before the start was whether Bottas, who was sporting soft tyres to Verstappen’s mediums, would be brave enough or do a good enough start to try and overtake Verstappen, who was also not clear whether he would engage or not in the hypothetical fight. Bottas did good of his red rimmed tyres, easily passing Verstappen, as did Sainz, who had also chosen the soft tyres and had managed an incredible start. Both tried to take advantage of the first laps, while Hamilton was quickly climbing up the timing tower. A gear sync problem was blamed for Verstappen’s slowness at first and the Red Bull soon regained second place over Sainz and set the fastest lap

Hamilton came to a halt in his overtaking feast when he reached Ricciardo, as the McLaren driver was the last car in a train that started in Sainz. A bit over midway through the race, he finally managed to pass the Australian, but only after some blood, sweat and tears, and becoming the only car that became a bit of a hinderance. Back at the front, Verstappen was chipping away at the gap to Bottas, finally slotting himself into the DRS zone with 10 laps to go.

The size of the gap between the Mercedes and the Red Bull became a bit of a game of tug of war, going over and under the one second gap. Pérez was trying to do the same with Sainz but having the same problems his teammate was having. Hamilton wasn’t having as many problems once Ricciardo had been tackled, even passing Norris like a maniac in turn 1 in the last lap, all while the Red Bulls still could not get close enough to overtake their rivals and his teammate won the sprint qualifying.

MiniDrivers – F1
2021 Brazil GP
Sprint Qualifying

The last sprint qualifying of the season did not disappoint. A brilliant start by Bottas and Sainz, added to some gear shift problems for Verstappen, gave us the unexpected sight of the championship leader in third. Meanwhile, Hamilton only found a couple of hiccups in his quest to gain as many places as possible, to try and lessen his burden for Sunday, as his 5-place grid penalty for changing engine parts was to be added to his position at the end of the sprint qualifying. But, as we know, the race that matters is the one that happens on Sunday and we’ve already seen what the current world champion can do in a third of the race distance, but Verstappen has also shown he can take it slow if necessary.