Five things F1 Learned: Brazil

Formula One might of already crowned this year’s champion in Lewis Hamilton but there are many lessons for teams to learn from this weekend.


Tight at top

Now the championship is done and dusted, attention is bound to be on 2018 and if this weekend is anything to go by, it could be tight.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari were evenly matched throughout the entire weekend with the former pair being split by only 0.05 seconds in FP3.

Admittedly, we were robbed of a proper titanic battle for pole due to Hamilton’s Q1 crash and Red Bull’s lack of power.

Brazi Quali top three
Brazilian GP Qualifying Top Three; Sebastian Vettel (left), Valtteri Bottas (centre), Kimi Raikkonen (right). Photo taken by Wolfgang Wilhelm on 11/11/17

Even without that, we still got a close fight with Valtteri Bottas edging Sebastian Vettel out by 0.038 seconds for pole and the new single lap record at Interlagos.

The race was pretty much decided by Vettel’s superior start but Hamilton added some temporary spice with his race strategy putting him in the mid race lead. 

Could this be a first sign of things to come in 2018?


Battle for sixth down to wire

With just Abu Dhabi remaining before the sun sets on this 2017 season, the battle for sixth couldn’t be any tighter with the gap between Toro Rosso and Renault down to four points.

Despite strong hopes of snatching the advantage heading to Middle East, Renault will be disappointed that their starting positions didn’t translate into a double point finish. 

Nico Hulkenberg Brazil
Nico Hulkenberg during Saturday’s action

One consolation for the Enstone team is that Nico Hulkenberg has finished every Brazilian GP in the points that he has raced in. 

Toro Rosso however probably feel that they have been hard done by their engine supplier, having received numerous failures since the summer break therefore allowing Renault to catch them up.

Those technical faults could probably cost them the coveted sixth place 

Haas have had a relatively quiet weekend by their usual technical gremlins standard. They however need extraordinary results by their standard in the finale to clinch sixth place at the final hurdle. .

Either way, its all to play for in a fortnight’s time between these three teams.


Fantastico Alonso

At start of this weekend, nobody probably had Fernando Alonso down for his best weekend of the season.

Alonso Brazil
Fernando Alonso in qualifying action

The Spaniard has been on it, managing to outpace at least one of the strong Force India cars in each session this weekend.

That is mighty impressive given that he has a Honda power unit compared to the Pink Panther’s all conquering Mercedes power units.

Alonso has also comfortably put his teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne in the Brazilian shade this weekend.

The race rather fittingly saw him and ex Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa have what could be their final battle in F1, although the Brazilian came out on top. 

This has been an overall unexpectedly strong weekend by McLaren and Alonso’s usual standards as seen throughout 2017.


Massa bows out on a high

After 15 seasons (didn’t race in 2003 season and missed half of 2009 through injury) and 272 Grand Prix weekends (2 DNS 1 withdrawal), Massa has bowed out of his final home race on a high.

Massa Williams Brazil
Felipe Massa during qualifying

This weekend has surprisingly been one of Massa’s strongest all season, finishing in top ten in each session except for FP3 when he was only 12th.

Although a season best fifth place finish was on the cards early on, I think that he will take seventh and a points finishing end to his final home race.

At least anything has to be better than last year’s race retirement. 


Small bites

  • Esteban Ocon suffers first F1 retirement but demonstrated impressive pace throughout the weekend.
  • Hamilton made a fabulous comeback from a pit lane start to get up to fourth, although the win was possible if he had maintained the pace shown at start of final ten laps.
  • George Russell is one for the future because he put in an excellent FP1 performance for Force India. Having never driven the car before, he managed a strong 12th, which is stronger than what fellow reserve drivers of recent times have managed first time out on FP1 debuts.


Missed any of the previous race round ups or the half term report? Click on the relevant link below and you can get up to speed.

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