Grand Prix of Brazil – Race


Some people don’t like the sprint format but I think each time there’s been one (Silverstone, Monza, and now Brazil) it’s always been an eventful weekend… and there’s been no end of excitement so far this weekend. Here’s a quick summary of my notes:

  • Mercedes replaced HAM’s engine, so he has a 5-place penalty for today’s grid
  • Quali ended with Mercedes and Red Bull filling the top 4 slots: HAM, VER, BOT, PER
  • VER touched HAM’s rear wing in parc ferme, which resulted in €50,000 fine
  • HAM’s rear wing failed the post-Quali scrutineering – the FIA took the wing away without letting Mercedes see it, so the team couldn’t investigate why the wing passed the test before Quali but failed it afterward
    The stewards penalised HAM by disqualifying him from Quali, which meant he started the Sprint from the back of the grid
  • Despite starting P20, HAM finished the Sprint in P5
    This set the provisional grid for the race: BOT, VER, SAI, PER, HAM*, NOR, LEC, GAS, OCO, VET, RIC, ALO, GIO, STR, TSU, LAT, RUS, RAI, SCH, MAZ

Alfa Romeo have replaced RAI’s rear wing, so he’ll start the race from the pit lane

Pit lane is open, so drivers can do installation laps (returning to the pits) before they take their place on the grid
RAI is at the head of the queue, presumably checking out the new rear wing
The right side of the grid is partially in the shade, but even then it’s still a lot warmer than yesterday

Grid: BOT, VER, SAI, PER, NOR, LEC, GAS, OCO, VET, HAM, RIC, ALO, GIO, STR, TSU, LAT, RUS, SCH, MAZ, RAI* (*starting from the pit lane)
Air temperature 23°C; track 54°C

As they sit on the grid, Red Bull change VER’s rear wing and the mechanics are very keen to block the cameras
Christian Horner says there’s no reason for Toto Wolff to be concerned – yeah, right

BOT leads everyone (except RAI) away on the formation lap
Everyone starting on medium compound tyres except TSU and RAI who are on softs

01/71: NOR tags SAI; NOR has a puncture
VER squeezes BOT and takes P1
BOT runs wide, drops to P3
HAM has passed OCO and GAS

02: VER, PER, BOT, LEC, SAI, VET, HAM, GAS, OCO, RIC
HAM past VET for P6
NOR pits; hard tyres go on; rejoins P20

03: VER fastest lap 1:14.680
HAM takes P5 from SAI

04: No investigation necessary for the SAI/NOR incident
HAM f/lap 1:14.254
TSU dives inside STR

05/71: HAM takes P3 from his teammate – BOT had been told to let HAM through at Turn 1
TSU pits for a new front wing; lots of damage to his bargeboard

06: HAM f/lap 1:14.172
Safety Car because they need to clean up debris from the TSU/STR collision

07[SC]: RUS pits
SC will lead the cars through the pit lane because the debris is in Turn 1

09[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap
VER taking it very slowly as they head to the restart line

10/71: VER, PER, HAM, BOT, LEC, SAI, VET, GAS, OCO, RIC, ALO, STR, GIO, MAZ, LAT, RAI, RUS, TSU, NOR
LAT and RUS are falling back

11: SCH has broken his front wing and it’s tucked under the car

12: VSC deployed
SCH finally makes it back to the pits, but he did drop some debris
Replay shows SCH tagged RAI as the Alfa Romeo passed him

13[VSC] PER is letting VER open a gap
There’s a second difference between their lap times

14[VSC]: VSC ending

15/71: VER, PER, HAM, BOT, LEC, SAI, VET, GAS, RIC, OCO
10sec penalty for TSU for the collision with STR

16: Radio from PER, “Get Max to give me DRS”

18: HAM around the outside of PER to take P2
PER now has DRS and fights back to reclaim P2
GAS past VET for P7

19: HAM has another go, takes P2 into Turn 1
PER can’t fight back

20/71: VER, HAM, PER, BOT, LEC, SAI, GAS, VET, RIC, OCO, STR, ALO, GIO, NOR, TSU, RAI, MAZ, RUS, LAT, SCH
RIC and VET battling over P8

21: RIC comes out ahead of VET

22: GIO closing on STR; did STR move under braking?

23: VER has picked up his pace and is keeping his lead at about 3.5sec

25/71: VER, HAM, PER, BOT, LEC, SAI, GAS, RIC, VET, OCO, ALO, GIO, NOR, TSU, RAI, RUS, MAZ, LAT, STR, SCH

26: GAS pits from P7; hard tyres go on; rejoins P15

27: HAM pits from P2; hards go on; rejoins P6
SAI pits; rejoins P13

28: VER pits; hards; rejoins P3
HAM passes RIC for P4

29: PER pits; rejoins P5
HAM f/lap 1:13.364

30/71: BOT, VER, HAM, RIC, PER, OCO, ALO, LEC, SAI
HAM f/lap 1:13.162
Debris coming off STR’s car on the main straight
VSC deployed

31[VSC]: BOT pits; rejoins P3
VSC ends

32: HAM is closing on VER – the gap is just over 1sec

33: VER f/lap 1:13.155
BOT f/lap 1:13.002
LEC inside ALO for P5

34: DRS should be enabled again after the VSC

35/71: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, LEC, ALO, SAI, GAS, RIC, NOR, TSU, OCO, VET, RUS, STR, GIO, RAI, LAT, MAZ, SCH
ALO pits; bit of a slow stop; rejoins P14

Half distance

38: NOR pits (2nd stop due to lap 1 puncture); more hard tyres go on
VET all over the rear of TSU

39: VET and ALO inside TSU; VET now P10

40/71: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, GAS, RIC, OCO, VET, ALO, TSU, RUS, STR, GIO, RAI,
ALO takes P10 from VET
TSU pits; serves penalty

41: VER pits; more hards; LAT leaves hit pit box just ahead of VER; rejoins P3

42: BOT pits; more hards; rejoins P5, just behind LEC
BOT past LEC for P4

43: PER pits; rejoins P5
VER f/lap 1:12.959
Radio from VER, “How do you want me to play this?”; “Look after your tyres”

44: HAM pits; hards go on; rejoins P2
Radio from HAM saying they weren’t the compound he wanted; told it’s a long stint and lots of deg; HAM agrees

45: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, GAS, RIC, OCO, ALO, VET, RAI, NOR, STR, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH
PER f/lap 1:12.376

46: HAM f/lap 1:12.135

47: HAM f/lap 1:11.982
HAM has DRS behind VER

48: HAM looks at the inside into Turn 1 but VER slams the door
HAM attacks again but VER pushes him off track and VER goes off track too
Incident noted by the stewards

49: STR pits, retires

50/71: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, GAS, RIC, OCO, ALO; out: STR
RIC pits, retires

52: Red Bull on the radio to Michael Masi trying to prevent the stewards from investigating

53: No investigation necessary for VER/HAM
LEC pits

55: VER, HAM, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, ALO, OCO, GAS, VET, NOR, RAI, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH; out: RIC, STR
Mercedes querying Michael Masi about it being ok to crowd someone off track

56: VER coming up to lap NOR

58: VER weaving on the main straight, trying to break the tow

59: HAM looks at the inside into Turn 1; VER defends
HAM has the tow into T4 and this time he’s past the Red Bull [video]

60/71: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, ALO, OCO, GAS, NOR, VET, RAI, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH; out: RIC, STR
VER has been given a black and white flag for weaving on the straight

61: GAS dives inside OCo; almost contact
Radio for BOT from Toto Wolff telling him “go get him”

63: HAM laps OCO (P9)

64: HAM has opened a 3sec lead over VER

65/71: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, GAS, ALO, OCO, NOR, VET, RAI, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH

66: BOT about 3sec behind VER

68: HAM over 6sec clear of VER, but BOT is a further 6sec back

70/71: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, LEC, SAI, GAS, ALO, OCO, NOR, VET, RAI, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH; out: RIC, STR
PER pits, softs go on – trying to take fastest lap from HAM

HAM takes the chequered flag
VER P2
BOT P3
PER f/lap 1:11.010

Interviews:
HAM: “What a race, the team did an amazing job, Valtteri did a great job. I was pushing as hard as I could. From last on the grid, and then another five place penalty – I think that’s the hardest weekend I’ve had. Things kept going against us, but it just shows – never give up, keep fighting. Never, ever stop fighting. It feels like the first [win].”
VER: “We were just missing a bit of pace but we gave it our all and had fun. We still have a good points lead, today was a bit of damage limitation. The coming races we’ll bounce back.”
BOT: “The start was quite tricky, I’m disappointed with the start and the first lap. Towards the end the pace was okay, I thought we could have done a one-stop quite easily. Lewis did an amazing job today.”

Provisional result: HAM, VER, BOT, PER*, LEC, SAI, GAS, OCO, ALO, NOR; VET, RAI, RUS, GIO, TSU, LAT, MAZ, SCH
DNF: RIC, STR
*Fastest lap: PER

So VER’s lead is down to 14 points; Qatar is next weekend.

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up] [Points standings]?