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As I look back across my Formula 1 career as a fan, I can recall—perhaps not with finite accuracy—those seminal moments in time when I was galvanized by the arrival of a legend of the sport. Schumacher’s charge in 1993 that announced the arrival of a truly gifted driver. Fernando Alonso in 2004 when he brought Renault forward and announced he would be winning titles and in 2005 when came from 16th in Brazil to score a podium finish and the title. Lewis Hamilton’s performance in 2007 when he nearly won the title in his debut season. Sebastian Vettel in 2008 when he won the Italian Grand Prix in a Toro Rosso no less.

So it was today. My mind has filed Max Verstappen’s race as one for the record books and a performance that equals those greats that already live in my “soon-to-be champion” file. He may not have won the race or spoiled Nico Rosberg’s title run but he won the hearts of many fans who feel Formula 1 can be processional. It was a drive of such sublime talent and execution that it reminds me of Schumacher in the rain.

No mystery that I am a very big fan of Schumacher but his status as rain meister has been flopped around to many other drivers who deserve it such as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and even Jenson Button. Truly, Verstappen is worthy of carrying that mantra as well given his performance at today’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton did everything he needed to do—just as he has in Mexico and Austin—to keep his title hopes alive and like Lewis, Nico Rosberg did all he could do to keep his title hopes alive as well by finishing second sending the title decider to the very last race of the season.

In a race that was marred by rain-prompted safety cars, red flags, delays and attrition, Lewis managed to put in his own sublime drive to the flag in a race that seriously was under contention for being canceled or called short at one point. But it was Max Verstappen’s run through the field on fresher full-wet tires that gave the fans something to be amazed by. The performance garnered him “Driver of the day” at F1.com.

WinWin

A big win for Lewis who needed the result to keep his title chances afloat and he did so with much aplomb. Also a win for his teammate who was, at one point, in danger of finishing third as Max Verstappen had passed him early in the race. Nico’s result secured his title hopes until Abu Dhabi.

A win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who put on a master class of wet weather driving and came from as far back as 15th to secure a podium passing some equally talented drivers such as Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and even his own teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. These are the cream of the crop in F1, not simple backmarkers in Manor’s or Renaults. Passing six cars at the end to claim the podium was a champion’s drive.

A win for Force India’s Sergio Perez who nearly claimed 3rd had it not been for that Plucky Teen Max Verstappen. Still, 4th goes a long way to securing the team’s 4th place in the Constructor’s Championship. A win also for his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg who suffered an early puncture that left him adrift of the leaders but he fought back to 7th with a very comprehensive wet-weather drive of his own.

A win for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who came from the back to secure 5th and give the team some points, its only points given Kimi Raikkonen’s crash, for the day in Brazil.

Carlos Sainz gets a win in an un-developed car finishing 6th and claiming very important points for the team while his teammate, Daniil Kvyat, suffered a mugging by Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and that sent him backward.

A huge win for Sauber’s Felipe Nasr who turned his home race into the only points-scoring result of the season for a seriously ill-performing team. The result moves Sauber ahead of Manor in the championship tables in 10th and that’s huge money for the team.

A win for such an emotional support for Felipe Massa as he walked back to the pits leaving his crashed car on the track and a big win for Ferrari who all came out in the pit lane to give him some love and support.

FailFail

A fail for Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean who crashed on the installation lap and never turned a wheel in the race as well as his teammate, Esteban Gutierrez, who retired on lap 62.

A fail for McLaren’s Jenson Button who said the car, performing well on Friday, took a nose dive on Saturday and got even worse on Sunday finishing in last place of the classified cars in 16th.

It’s really a win for Manor’s Esteban Ocon who nearly scored points but ultimately a fail as he fell victim to a train of faster cars that reduced him to 12th and with the attrition on the day, the team needed to score points like Sauber did. They lost 10th place to Sauber.

A fail for Felipe Mass who crashed out of his final home race in Brazil. While that wasn’t good, the tearful walk back to the garage and emotional coverage of the moment by the world feed was terrific to see.

A fail for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who crashed out on full wets on the main straight but to be fair, Verstappen nearly did the same thing as did Nico Rosberg. Equally a fail for Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer—who clouted Daniil Kvyat—and Felipe Massa who all crashed in the rain.

WTHWTH

A WTH moment for Esteban Gutierrez who is out of a job at Haas F1 but chose to berate the team over the radio in a manner that made the audio clip incapable of being broadcast and then throwing a tantrum in the garage that demanded the team boss, Guenther Steiner, to get physical with the Mexican and try to calm him down. Chances are, throwing a tantrum when things don’t go your way is part of the reason things don’t go your way, no? That may have been the nail in Esteban’s F1 career right there.

A WTH for the mobocracy who were all complaining about the delays of the race, then shaming the FIA over safety, then cheering the race. Certain folks went from posting scathing remarks to throwing Bianchi in the FIA’s face only to praise the result of the race. Pick a lane people. F1 is dangerous, it runs in the rain and bad things can happen. The speculation by broadcasters as to the restart and what would have happened if Max Has crashed in the opposite wall as Kimi and what if a giant meteor had landed on Lewis or Nico and what if a burrowing owl would have flown into Sergio’s face due to the downpour of rain. What if!

Finally, what’s up with the full-wet tire and the team’s lack of desire to use it even choosing the intermediate when conditions aren’t safe enough for it? They need to get a high-performing extreme wet tire that teams will gladly use.

RESULTS – Brazilian Grand Prix:

POS DRIVER CAR GAP
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3h01m01.335s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 11.455s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 21.481s
4 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 25.346s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 26.334s
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 29.160s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault
9 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes
12 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault
15 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes
16 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda
Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari
Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes
Jolyon Palmer Renault
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari
Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari

Drivers’ Championship Points:

POS DRIVER POINTS
1 Nico Rosberg 367
2 Lewis Hamilton 355
3 Daniel Ricciardo 246
4 Sebastian Vettel 197
5 Max Verstappen 192
6 Kimi Raikkonen 178
7 Sergio Perez 97
8 Valtteri Bottas 85
9 Nico Hulkenberg 66
10 Fernando Alonso 53
11 Felipe Massa 51
12 Carlos Sainz 46
13 Romain Grosjean 29
14 Daniil Kvyat 25
15 Jenson Button 21
16 Kevin Magnussen 7
17 Felipe Nasr 2
18 Jolyon Palmer 1
19 Pascal Wehrlein 1
20 Stoffel Vandoorne 1
21 Esteban Gutierrez 0
22 Marcus Ericsson 0
23 Esteban Ocon 0
24 Rio Haryanto 0

Constructors’ Championship Points:

POS CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Mercedes 722
2 Red Bull/Renault 446
3 Ferrari 375
4 Force India/Mercedes 163
5 Williams/Mercedes 136
6 McLaren/Honda 75
7 Toro Rosso/Ferrari 63
8 Haas/Ferrari 29
9 Renault 8
10 Sauber/Ferrari 2
11 Manor/Mercedes 1

 

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

  • hey Todd
    on Max, my sentiments exactly… What a race….

  • Fred Talmadge

    I kind of feel sorry for Esteban Gutierrez, so I’m willing to let him rant a little. Maybe he will learn from this set back.

  • B52RockLobster

    While Max’s race was great, I think his performance can only be measured against his teammate (whom he out-drove convincingly).

    At the end of the race he was on tires that were at least 10 laps newer than anyone else’s in the top 10, and so he had a great advantage there. It could be argued that the team calling him in for intermediates caused him to almost lose his podium. If they would have just left him out on wets like the rest of the top 10 did, then he would’ve breezed to the same spot without having to charge through the field.

    • I know the team asked him if he felt he could come back through field knowing they would be fresh full-wet tires and he said yes…and he did. I think his issue was that the inters were just not working in the increasingly wet situation so they made the choice. I’m not sure he would have held that position if they had stayed on inters or at least he didn’t feel like he could. Just a hunch.

      • B52RockLobster

        I’m suggesting that they should have left Max out before he took inters to begin with. He was either in 2nd or 3rd (can’t remember) and would’ve wound up there at the end of the race anyways. Instead he took inters, then had to get wets again, and wound up on fresh wets at the end of the race. This is what allowed him to storm through the field.

        I’m just trying to moderate the Max fever by suggesting that he had a great advantage with fresh tires at the end of the race. For sure many other drivers have done the same through the years.

        • Van Dieu

          Yeah, agreed. Ultimately it was the exciting way to get the place that he could have claimed in boring fashion by making better strategy calls in the first place.. that should come with more experience. I thought the top 4 all had great drives.

        • Jos Van de Belt

          I agree with you in the first part. But Max’ recovery race must be seen in comparison with Ricciardo. Ricciardo in every way more experienced couldn’t pull of what Max did, with the same strategie.

    • Because I’m old and can’t recall dates and races, I do recall Nick Heidfeld gambling and putting on dry tires and pummeled the field and so did Vettel in Brazil in 2008 if memory serves.

      • Paul KieferJr

        This is usually where MIE steps in and helps you out. :-D

        • Tom Firth

          Heidfeld went from 11th to 2nd in Malaysia in the rain, the year it was flagged before half distance, so 2009 but he was generally good in changing conditions was Nick.

  • johnblair7

    I didn’t think Lewis would win, glad that he did. Spectacular race from Max. Roll on Abu Dhabi, I still think Nico will get the title, but at least Lewis finally got a win in Brazil:)

    • Agreed/ It was a very good drive by Lewis overshadowed by Max but no less skillful and critical to his title hopes. A difficult race for teams and drivers and I found Lewis’s post-race commentary about it being the easiest race he’s won was a bit of a failed head fake for Nico because at that level, all the drivers know just how hard or easy it is. It may very well have been an easier race contextually for Lewis out front though and he’s a well-known race driver so I could be wrong, maybe a walk in the park for him. His radio didn’t seem overly animated to be fair so maybe he’s right.

  • Tickled Pink

    What’s the difference between Sebastian Vettel and the turbo in his car? After the race the turbo stops whining.

  • Tom Firth

    Ok F1 showed the best and worse of itself today.

    The best part is that the worlds press are writing now about the stunning drive of Verstappen and that the championship challenge is still alive between Nico and Lewis. Excellent, I’m glad that is the story the press are writing.

    F1 came very very close to looking incredibly silly today. When a car crashes on track, obviously the safety car and potentially the red flag needs to be deployed, everyone accepts that. Today at times though almost looked shambolic however as to what was acceptable to race in and what wasn’t and its that indecisiveness that frustrated drivers, people including Lauda and fans at the side of the track and at home, especially the FIA’s ‘indefinite pause’ were no information was given, that’s when the booing was present in the stands.

    Thankfully the sport redeemed itself when it finally did get consistently underway, and we got a great race but I do understand why the fan reaction changed from deep frustration at the series to excitement, very similarly to how it did in Canada when we all sat around for 4 hours to see Button take it.

  • T-Batwoman

    The race was great but I was massively disappointed with the start. If they had started normally as most of the drivers preferred and as most of the commentators lauded as being safer as speeds would be reduced in the short run up to turn one, it would have given Lewis a legitimate chance at capturing the championship. We were deprived of the chaos that surely would have ensued from a standing start.

    Starting behind the safety car was the best thing that could have happened to Rosberg and was really unfair to Hamilton. Sure Hamilton could have torched the start as he has done many times this year but so could have Rosberg. Allowing the drivers to showcase their skills in a wet start would have been ideal as they are the best drivers in the world. Alas, we’ll never know.

    Oh yeah, and the cheeto mussolini is our president, smh/fml. . . .

    • Zachary Noepe

      For God’s sake please leave politics out of our escape from politics.

  • Paul KieferJr

    I would not be surprised if Verstappen got Driver of the Day for this.

  • charlie white

    Max’s drive reminds me of Michael Schumacher’s first victory for Ferrari at Catalunya 1996. The Ferrari, by far, was not the best car on the grid and after a handful of laps behind Jacques Villenueve’s Williams, Schumacher drove off into the rain. Rain is the great equalizer and Max worked it in his favor today. On the Pirelli tires, maybe they should schedule a wet weather tire test in the 2017 pre-season. No one was happy with the rain tires.

  • Schumi Toronto

    That was an AWESOME race … for once!

    O.C. you summed-up the race beautifully! I hate to say it, but the kid has some nuts, a good car and lots of luck. Incredible driving for those that finished, unfortunate for those that didn’t and great racing, while the cars were actually movin and not red flagged.not many seats away at the start of the hairpin

    I’m really sorry for Kimmi and especially for Massa who I’ll always remember from the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix. With one lap to go Massa crashed HARD into the wall with brake failure, just down the road from where Kubitsa’s big shunt was ! The stands shook like an earthquake! He walked away shaken, while Schumacher went on to win from sixth.

    But what a day for those that finished. let alone from those top performers. It was amazing for anyone that kept it on the island, including those even in last place!

  • Zachary Noepe

    I would like to dislike Verstappen but that was magnificent. It was like David Hobbs was saying, how is he braking there? To me the two most amazing moments were first his save on the straight which, if you watch the replay and listen to the audio, was not luck. He saved what Kimi and Felipe couldn’t and he did it actively by manipulating the controls during the spin. And the second moment was when Perez shoved him onto the curb and he passed Perez on the outside ON WET PAINT. If you’ve never touched curb paint with water on it during a race, ask Mick Doohan what it does to traction. How was he passing into third braking and turning on wet paint? Certainly for the same reason the RBR squirts out of turns and goes well in rain – it’s a wonderful aero package. But this guy is more than the car. Extraordinary.

  • MIE

    In the wet most drivers avoid the normal rubberized in ‘racing line’, as this is the area where the tarmac is more worn, and the rubbers is slippery in the wet. In F1 this has normally been by being just a car’s width away from where they would place the car in the dry. Verstappen was driving on the opposite side of the track, and while this is common in kart racing, I haven’t seen such an extreme example seen in higher formulae.
    From experience, there is certainly far more grip out on those bits of the track that are rarely used in the dry, and by the time you have to cross the rubberized in racing line the car is much straighter than if you took a more conventional line. It will be interesting to see if Verstappen persists with this approach as he gains more F1 experience, or if he follows what the others do. They have all learned to stick closer to the conventional dry line, so there must normally be an advantage there.

    • Fred Talmadge

      unsubscribe

      • Not sure what that is Fred.

        • Fred Talmadge

          That’s just me doing a poor job unsubscribing from this thread. Let me have a cup of coffee and I’ll try again.