Grand Prix of Brazil – Race

It’s another opportunity for Rosberg to win the Drivers’ Championship, but it’s not his last chance. If he does win the title, it’ll mirror Damon Hill’s win in 1996 – both would be 34 years after their respective fathers’ championship wins. ROS would also break the record for the most races before taking the crown – the current record belongs to Nigel Mansell, who needed 176 races, and today is Rosberg’s 205th race.

There was a little rain in Qualifying – just a few spots, but a few people struggled for grip.
Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, RAI, VES, VET, RIC, GRO, HUL, PER, ALO, BOT, GUT, MAS, KVY, SAI, PAL, BUT, MAG, WEH, OCO*, ERI, NAS.
*OCO has been given a 3 grid place penalty for impeding PAL in Q1, so he’ll drop to P22.

It’s been raining for a while, and if it keeps raining through to the start of the race it will probably be started behind the safety car. The track is quite steep so it should drain quickly once it stops raining, but I remember there being streams running across the track in previous years. Talking of water works, it’s Felipe Massa’s last home race and he’s emotional at the best of times, so expect a few tears. ๐Ÿ™‚

With 30 minutes before the start, the pit lane is open and a gaggle of cars head out on full wet tyres. (If it is declared a wet race, they all have to start on full wets.)
Oh no! GRO has put his Haas in the wall!
The Virtual Safety Car has been deployed, but the drivers are only going around from the pit lane to the grid
Replay shows GRO was driving up the hill, just before pit in; he was in the middle of the track as he crossed a stream, lost the tail and hit the wall backwards
GRO had qualified really well (P7) so now PER has an empty grid spot ahead of him for the start

Word from the grid is that the start has been delayed for 10 minutes
Air temperature 18°C; track 20°C; it’s still quite overcast and it’s unlikely to stop raining soon

So while we wait for the start, here’s the updated grid: HAM, ROS, RAI, VES, VET, RIC, [empty spot where GRO should be], HUL, PER, ALO, BOT, GUT, MAS, KVY, SAI, PAL, BUT, MAG, WEH, ERI, NAS, OCO.
Confirmation that the race will start behind the SC
BBC quote VET from Silverstone session – “No-one really has any trust in the extreme wets. The extreme wet is basically just good enough to follow the safety car.”
The rain has eased off a little but isn’t expected to stop for at least 30 minutes

Radio from ROS asking about HAM’s brake bias settings; told 66%; ROS asks if there’s any downside to going with that
Seems odd that ROS would decide to follow HAM’s setting rather than go with his own decision

Last time the Brazilian GP started behind the safety car, Giancarlo Fisichella won from P8.
Teams clear the grid
There is no formation lap because they’re starting behind the SC

01/71[SC]: SC leads the field away
Everyone safely through the first couple of corners
Radio from HAM – can’t see anything behind the SC; asks team to ask Charlie if he can drop back further

02[SC]: Radio from RIC saying there’s still a lot of water; exit from last corner is worst part of the track

03[SC]: Radio from BUT – lots of standing water everywhere
Mechanics are busy trying to move water away from their box
Radio from SAI – it’s possible to race but it’ll be on the limit

04[SC]: Radio from RIC – getting close, probably another lap or two
HAM moving around a lot, almost alongside the SC at times

05/71[SC]: Radio from VES – if we keep going so slow, it won’t get any better
Radio from MAG – easily good enough to race

06[SC]: That’s new! A view of the stewards room!
Radio for VES asking how it’s going; VES thinks it’s good enough to start

07[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap

08: Green flags
VES immediately attacks, inside RAI into Turn 1; takes P3
MAG pits; switches to intermediate tyres
ROS is falling away from HAM, and VES is closing on him

09: HAM fastest lap 1:28.062
Radio from RIC – let me know anything that’ll get me out of this spray
BUT pits; inters

10/71: HAM f/lap 1:27.283
ALO pits, followed by BOT, MAS, KVY, PAL, ERI – all going for inters
Radio for ROS telling him cars are stopping for inters; “no way, too early”
VET spins – he’s facing the wrong way, just over the brow of the hill at the final turn

11: HAM f/lap 1:26.679
ROS f/lap 1:26.269
VET pits; they’re putting him on inters, even though he just aquaplaned and spun!

12: The guys on inters aren’t quite at HAM’s pace yet – about 2sec/lap off

13: Incident involving MAS and GUT under investigation – overtaking behind the SC
ERI has lost his front left wheel, and he’s stopped right across the pit in lane
SC deployed

14[SC]: VES pits; has to avoid ERI as he takes to the pit in lane
pit lane closed
RIC in the pits but that’s after the pit lane was closed – expect a penalty!
Radio from HAM asking if it was someone on inters; confirmed, ERI was on inters

15/71[SC]: Radio (replay) from ERI – “game over; I aquaplaned”
Marshals using a crane to move ERI’s car

16[SC]: Christian Horner says RIC might have had a puncture, so they had to pit him
Replay shows MAS did pass GUT before they crossed the safety car line, so he’ll get a penalty

17[SC]: Marshals on track trying to remove some of the debris
Radio from MAG – “way too wet now”; asked “too wet for inters?”; MAG says “too wet for either”
Pit lane is open again

18[SC]: Replay shows ERI touched the white line, causing him to spin
Incident involving RIC under investigation for entering the pit lane when the pit lane was closed
KVY and PAL both pit; switched back to full wets!
There’s still debris in the final turn – they’ll need to red flag or maybe lead the cars through the pits so they can clear it

19[SC]: SC coming in at the end of this lap … so I guess they’re not going to clear the rest of that debris
HAM backs up the pack as the SC heads for the pits
HAM bolts for the line

20/71: RAI spins on the main straight!
SC deployed again
Red flag – race suspended

Cars enter the pit lane at the end of lap 20
They line up at the end of the pit lane; counts as starting lap 12 because the start/finish line is part-way along the pit lane

Replay of RAI’s spin – he lost the rear, hit the wall on driver’s right, spun across the track, barely missed by VES, then hits the pit wall and comes to a stop
Not the way to finish his 250th F1 race, but at least he’s OK

More replays of RAI’s spin – HUL hit some of the debris but reacted quickly enough to miss the Ferrari
Radio from VET on that last lap – “This is just bad, just stupid. Red flag is what it needs, we need to stop the race. How many people do they want to crash, I nearly crashed into Kimi in the middle of the straight, I couldn’t see anything.”
RAI was on full wet tyres; VES was on inters and almost lost it in the same place

5-second penalty for MAS for overtaking before the SC line
5-sec penalty for RIC for entering the pit lane when it was closed
Both penalties make sense… although I think RIC should actually get more than that because there are safety implications for what he did
No word yet on when the race will resume

SC heads out of the pits to check conditions
Order for the restart: HAM, ROS, VES, HUL, PER, SAI, NAS, RIC, OCO, WEH, ALO, BOT, MAG, BUT, VET, MAS, GUT, KVY, PAL; retirements: RAI, ERI, GRO

Race will restart at 21 minutes past the hour
Force India have replaced HUL’s front wing after he hit debris
Race control have confirmed all cars must restart on full wets, and they’ll restart behind the SC
Renault have confirmed PAL’s car has damage – apparently there was a touch with KVY on that last lap
Forecast is for more rain, so don’t expect the excitement to be over!
HAM has switched helmet, having complained before the start that he was getting rain inside his special Senna commemorative helmet

21[SC]: Cars leave the pit lane behind the SC – race control confirm SC will do more than 1 lap, but not how many
PAL remains in the pits – Renault mechanics still working on his car

22[SC]: Radio for PER telling him they expect 50 (five-zero) minutes of continued rain
Radio from VET – up the hill is still bad
HUL into the pits – puncture – new set of full wets – he’s dropped from P4 to P15

25/71[SC]: Radio for VES – potential increase in rain intensity in about 20 minutes
Replay of lap 20 shows PAL run into the back of KVY – PAL’s front right smacked into KVY’s left rear wheel and side pod

26[SC]: VES almost passed ROS as they speed up & slow down to warm their tyres and brakes
Radio from HAM – “we should be going Charlie!”

27[SC]: Radio from HAM – “the longer we wait, the more the rain comes down”
VES looking off-line, clearly thinking about where to pass ROS

28[SC]: The crowd is booing as the cars continue to tour around behind the SC
Red flag – session suspended again
Radio for HAM telling him about the red flag; HAM says “track is fine”
Cars return to the pit lane
Lots of boos, jeers and thumbs down from the crowd – they’ve paid good money and spent their whole day in the rain, so you can understand why they’re dissatisfied
Mind you, those sitting in the grandstand on the main straight have seen GRO, ERI and RAI all aquaplane and have some scary crashes
As the Sky commentators point out, you also have to remember Jules Bianchi died as a result of aquaplaning off

McLaren report that the FIA have deemed it unsafe to race – the race is suspended indefinitely
A few minutes later, race control announce the race will restart at 2 minutes past the hour (1602 local time)
Interview with PAL – “I couldn’t see beyond my steering wheel”; he says he hit KVY before he could see him!
Radio for HUL – expecting this same level of rain or heavier for the next 50 minutes
FIA share forecast that says heavier rain will pass by the circuit

29[SC]: SC leads everyone out of the pit lane again; everyone has to be on full wets
Unsurprisingly race control confirm SC will do more than 1 lap, but not how many
Bernd Maylรคnder pushing hard in the SC but can only go so fast in the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-S

30/71[SC]: Order is HAM, ROS, VES, PER, SAI, NAS, RIC, OCO, WEH, ALO, BOT, MAG, BUT, VET, HUL, MAS, GUT, KVY; retirements: PAL, RAI, ERI, GRO

31[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap
VES getting alongside ROS again
PER is all over VES too

32: HAM across the line for the restart
ROS defends into Turn 1
A couple of turns later, VES moves off the racing line and maybe it was deliberate to keep ROS in HAM’s spray; VES takes P2 – brilliant driving

33: RIC takes P5 from SAI
HAM’s lap time 1:26.873 – the fastest lap so far was ROS 1:26.269 on lap 11

34: ALO and VET for P9 and P10

35/71: VES f/lap 1:25.995
Radio for MAG asking about conditions; “just leave me alone for a bit”
BUT pits – he’s the first to switch to inters in the stint

36: HAM f/lap 1:25.779
HUL squeezes past MAG for P13

37: HAM f/lap 1:25.693
VET closing on OCO; OCO runs wide, and VET takes P9
Radio from BUT – “just can’t get the tyres working” – he’s still the only one on inters, but he’s putting in the same times as teammate ALO on full wets

38: MAG inside WEH into Turn 1 to take P13

39: VES loses the tail but keeps it out of the wall
ROS attacking but VES defends; holds on to P2
Radio for VES – “well held” ๐Ÿ™‚

40/71: HAM, VES, ROS, PER, RIC, SAI, NAS, ALO, VET, OCO, HUL, MAG, WEH, GUT, KVY, MAS, BOT, BUT
HAM’s tyres are already going off; he’s told to find more water
RIC is on PER’s tail

41: RIC pits from P5; serves his 5-sec penalty; inters; rejoins P11 ahead of MAG
Radio for PER – “we expect heavier rain in 5 minutes”

42: VET fighting to hold on to his Ferrari in the final turn
MAG pits; inters

43: HAM f/lap 1:25.681
VET dives inside ALO; steals P7
ALO runs off track as he tries to fight back
RIC f/lap 1:25.532 – remember he’s now on inters
HUL takes P9 from OCO

44: VES pits from P2; inters; rejoins P5, in a big gap

45/71: HAM, ROS, PER, SAI, VES, NAS, VET, ALO, HUL, RIC, OCO, GUT, KVY, MAS, BOT, WEH, BUT, MAG
VET dives inside NAS and takes P6
Radio from BUT – “going to have to come in for full wets; aquaplaning”; told other drivers are moving to inters; “I don’t care”

46: BUT pits; full wets; drops him to dead last
Replay of ROS losing the tail but recovered

47: RIC closing on HUL
Radio for HAM telling him of ROS’ half-spin

48: RIC trying to find a space inside HUL
Radio from GUT – “something is very wrong”
MAS has hit the wall – some place as ERI
SC deployed

49[SC]: Pit lane entry closed because MAS’ Williams is blocking the lane
MAS is out of the car, waving to the crowd – he ought to think about getting off the track!
Poor MAS – it’s sad to see him walk away towards the pits

50/71[SC]: HAM, ROS, PER, SAI, VES, VET, NAS, ALO, HUL, RIC, OCO, KVY, BOT, WEH, MAG, GUT, BUT
Lots of cheers as MAS walks back into the pit lane, waving a Brazilian flag

51[SC]: Marshals moving MAS’ car away
Radio from BUT – “seriously, the car is just not working guys; I’ve not suddenly forgotten how to drive in the wet!”
MAS is in tears, as are some of the marshals; awww

52[SC]: Nice to see all the Mercedes mechanics lined up and applauding MAS as he passes the garage
Pit lane is now open, so I hope they’ll make sure everyone stays safe!
Race control: lapped cars may now overtake – that usually means at least a couple more SC laps

53[SC]: RIC pits, followed by WEH
RIC goes back to full wets
Radio from HAM – “SC is going so slowly”
Radio from ROS – “more water than last time round; how many more crashes do they want to see?”
ROS obviously wants the race stopped so he gets lots of points – not enough to win the championship today though

54[SC]: That’s three-quarters distance, so it’s now full points
Radio from VES – “it’s like a boat”; asked “do you want to pit?”

55/71[SC]: VES pits; full wets; rejoins P16
SC in at the end of this lap
PER very nearly overtakes ROS before the restart

56: HAM bolts for the start line
ALO spun just before he made it to the restart; recovered, but he’s now P17
VES is already up to P13

57: VES past WEH for P12

58: VES around BOT (who is on inters) to move up to P11

59: HUL looks inside NAS but NAS holds P6
VES is now right up behind teammate RIC
VES finds a way round the outside to take P10

60/71: HAM, ROS, PER, SAI, VET, NAS, HUL, OCO, VES, RIC, KVY, ALO, BOT, WEH, GUT, BUT
HUL finds a space and passes NAS for P6

61: VES lining up OCO for the next target
GUT pits; he’s out of the car – throws his gloves across the garage!

62: RIC chops across KVY for P10
VES makes yet another pass – takes P7 from NAS

63: RIC inside OCO in Turn 1, taking P9

64: This time RIC goes around the outside of Turn 1; NAS loses P8
Replay of GUT having an animated argument with Gunter Steiner, the Haas team boss

65/71: VES dives past HUL under braking – he’s now up to P6
VES closing on VET, who in turn is catching SAI

66: VES attacks around the outside of VET but the Ferrari tries to squeeze VES

67: VET defends but VES goes the other side; VET tries to squeeze him again but VES runs him wide; takes P5
VES rapidly catches SAI, and straight past him for P4
Radio from VET whining about VES pushing him off the track – wah, wah, wah

68: VES f/lap 1:25.305
VES closing on PER

69: VES looks inside PER; VES is all over the rumble strips but manages to keep the car pointing forward
VES takes P3 from PER – wow, what a pass

70/71: HAM, ROS, VES, PER, VET, SAI, HUL, RIC, NAS, OCO, ALO, BOT, KVY, MAG, WEH, BUT
VES is 1.5sec faster than ROS but 11secs ahead so no way VES can catch him

71 = final lap: RIC is all over the gearbox of HUL
Just as the 2 hour race clock expires

HAM takes the chequered flag – his first win in Brazil
That means the title race moves on to Abu Dhabi
Radio from HAM – very happy

Provisional result: HAM, ROS, VES, PER, VET, SAI, HUL, RIC, NAS, ALO; BOT, OCO, KVY, MAG, WEH, BUT
DNF: GUT, MAS, PAL, RAI, ERI, GRO

Wow, what a race… in between the red flags ๐Ÿ™‚
And what a series of passes from VES – from P16 to P3 in 15 laps!
VES beats ROS to the scales – does he get a point for that too? ๐Ÿ™‚
In the pre-podium room there’s lots of talk about the weather / track conditions; VES tells HAM & ROS how he nearly hit the wall

Podium interviews:
HAM – “I was generally just chilling out front”
ROS – “I can live with second”
VES – lots of excitement and adrenalin as he talks through his incidents
HAM – “No moments; pretty straight forward”

Niki Lauda said F1 is over-regulated; he thinks the second Niki Lauda was wrong; “leave it to the drivers”; “let them race”

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