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While some may find the balance of the Formula 1 season a bit of a non-event, others will discover that the battles, politics, negotiation, tempers and attempted robbery continues this weekend in Brazil for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

Lewis Hamilton have have hit the 4th world championship mark but he also hit the wall at turn 7 at Interlagos for qualifying and will start at the back of the grid. This left the continuing battle for second in the driver’s championship between pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as well as a tight constructor’s battle as well.

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Temperatures were much higher for the start of the race and with two very fast drivers at the back in the form of Hamilton and Ricciardo, it would be interesting to see just how far up they could climb and how these hot temps might play into the tire performance windows and brake heat. The track temp was at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Felipe Massa gridded up for his final Brazilian Grand Prix and was saddened by the robberies the Mercedes team experienced from thugs in Sao Paulo. The war of words between Renault and Toro Rosso ramped up as the former was accused by the latter of purposefully sabotaging their engine supply.

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If all of this drama wasn’t enough, there was also the talks between the teams and new Formula 1 owners, Liberty Media, regarding cost-caps and new engine regulations for 2021. Teams aren’t happy and Mercedes boss Niki Lauda says that he has serious concerns over the Americans and the future of the sport. He said they’ve had time to figure out what they’ve bought and he has concerns over what they want to change.

Then there was to continuing conversation over the continuance of the Brazilian with potential new buyers.

As the cars grid up, there was a sense of pressure and tenseness on the grid with Bottas on pole, Vettel in second and Kimi Raikkonen starting third. The Brazilian Grand Prix can sometimes throw up some intriguing races and the big question was, would the race channel the tense nature of the paddock and manifest itself on track or would it be a ho-hum race to leak the excitement out of a season that has already been decided?

Win

A big win for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel for a win in Brazil—their first since 2008. The good start and pass for the lead was crucial for Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s defensive drive to hold off a charging Lewis Hamilton meant a Ferrari podium in 1st and 3rd.

A win for the very touching radio message from Felipe Massa to his Williams F1 team for all their support for his career on this, his final Brazilian rand Prix.

Even though he started from pit lane, Lewis Hamilton’s initial charge back through the field was very impressive with a new engine and brand new aero upgrades for his Mercedes specifically set for the hotter temps on Sunday. Great work by the team.

Lewis had clawed back 19 places by lap 30 and his pace in DRS passing zones made it easy but that shouldn’t marginalize his effort as he was radioing for updates on where Vettel was meaning he was gunning for a come back for a win. Definitely focused for a guy who has already won the title. Lewis was just 6.5s off the lead by lap 51 and driving the stuffing out of his Mercedes. Lewis finished in 4th in a truly inspired drive and galactic effort but he 4-time champion.

A win for Felipe Massa to give Williams a 7th place finish by holding off Fernando Alonso and produce a terrific result for his final Brazilian GP. Also a nice points result for Alonso and McLaren.

Fail

It’s difficult not to consider the crash during qualifying and starting from the pit lane by Lewis Hamilton as anything but a fail and only Lewis could turn a crash into some sort of philosophical life lesson that everyone should learn from, he muttered something about adversity and how life’s challenges test us and other Millennial-Field navel gazing commentary.

Equally, a fail for Red Bull and Renault for tossing Daniel Ricciardo to the back of the grid with more nonsensical grid penalties. Dan’s spin on the first lap didn’t help matters either. The sandwich created by Ricciardo and Magnussen ended Vandoorne’s race.

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A massive fail for Haas F1—with only one point between themselves and Renault in the championship—with Magnussen out on lap one and Grosjean spinning sending him to the back and out of the points. Those points are worth millions and Haas F1 has been very vocal about the cost of F1…well, this is a way to offset some of those costs and they missed it. Grosjean’s move cost Esteban Ocon a DNF which was his first in 27 races.

Not sure if Renault were turning their engine down after the failures they had in Mexico but the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, Renault powered, made quick work on both works Renaults which was a bit surprising. Makes you wonder if Renault were simply focused on finishing and getting those points to move ahead of Toro Rosso in the championship.

Speaking of Toro Rosso, I’m not quite sure if Brendon Hartley had an issue but sinking to the back of the pack by lap 38 while his teammate, Pierre Gasly was running in the points is not a way to secure a permanent ride for 2018 but then his retirement on lap 42 seemed to explain his lack of pace. Gasly was trying hard for the 10th place point but the Renault duo hunted him down and got by slotting Nico Hulkenberg in 10th and Carlos Sainz 11th.

WTH

A WTH for Jos Verstappen’s significant other wearing a green top and matching green lipstick. Yeah, that’s not working.

I thought it was slightly interesting that although they did give Grosjean a penalty for causing an incidents, the stewards did seem to leave a few incidents until after the race instead of calling out penalties during the race.

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I didn’t time Ferrari’s stop for Vettel but he lost a chunk of time against Bottas making and undercut nearly possible for a brief moment. He was bale to pull out a gap again but that was close.

Not sure why the team took so long to serve his penalty but I suspect his head-space has something to do with when you deliver a message like that to the Frenchman. His reaction was as expected. To be fair, he may have thought that it took the stewards that long to make the call and that wasn’t the case, they made it much earlier in the race.

A very ugly tire situation for Lance Stroll as he locked up and then a chunk of tire belt was exposed and flopping around. Not good for Pirelli.

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Race Result

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1h31m26.260s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 2.762s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 4.600s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 5.468s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 32.940s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 48.691s
7 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m08.882s
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m09.363s
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m09.500s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 Lap
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1 Lap
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 2 Laps
16 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 2 Laps
Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Renault Retirement
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda Collision
Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari Collision
Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes Collision

Drivers’ Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 345
2 Sebastian Vettel 302
3 Valtteri Bottas 280
4 Daniel Ricciardo 200
5 Kimi Raikkonen 193
6 Max Verstappen 158
7 Sergio Perez 94
8 Esteban Ocon 83
9 Carlos Sainz 54
10 Felipe Massa 42
11 Lance Stroll 40
12 Nico Hulkenberg 35
13 Romain Grosjean 28
14 Kevin Magnussen 19
15 Fernando Alonso 15
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 13
17 Jolyon Palmer 8
18 Pascal Wehrlein 5
19 Daniil Kvyat 5
20 Marcus Ericsson 0
21 Pierre Gasly 0
22 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
23 Brendon Hartley 0

Constructors’ Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 625
2 Ferrari 495
3 Red Bull/Renault 358
4 Force India/Mercedes 177
5 Williams/Mercedes 82
6 Toro Rosso/Renault 53
7 Renault 49
8 Haas/Ferrari 47
9 McLaren/Honda 28
10 Sauber/Ferrari 5
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
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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.
  • Fred Talmadge

    Is Hamilton so good that one mistake is enough to label him as a failure? Surely no one is mistake free, even the greats. Haas on the other hand has been a disapointment the last few races, which makes me sad.

    • Have you read these reports before? The reason I ask is that if you have, you’ll know that the categories of Win, Fail, WTH are simply for the single race event. Failing to qualifying, failing to get pole and therefore failing to win is labeled as a fail but in the same breath, I give him a “win” for an incredible drive back through the field and he was my drive of the day. He did an amazing job,

      to be fair, having to start from the back meant a new engine, all-new aero parts and the car setup for the hotter weather which most of the top 10 car setups were a compromise as Saturday was much colder so this played into Lewis’s hands. I’m sure he’d rather have had the Saturday setup and led from pole but regardless, we got a great show just watching him. IT also showed either a massive improvement in the new aero and engine or a serious deficiency in Bottas’s pace as he couldn’t mount a challenge while Lewis mounted a massive challenge.

      • Salvu Borg

        I assume you read my post asking (What is going on with FIA rules)

        • Your post wasn’t up at the time I posted this but I have read it, yes, and effectively, Mercedes built an all-new car practically. I suspect Abu Dhabi will be a pummeling by Lewis. That car was on rails and in another league.

          • Salvu Borg

            NC, At least from this end of the globe when I posted the comments page was blank.
            Agree that a new car was build, my problem was that it was build under parc ferme to a different specification.
            Also agree that the car was on rails and real fast with a situation that made it look still faster.

      • Fred Talmadge

        I don’t want to sound like a Hamilton fanboy, but I just thought his one mistake, was worth a fail, considering other drivers made the same mistake. Now to sound like a fanboy, maybe that’s a sign of greatness when one mistake is considered a failure.

  • Salvu Borg

    I would very much like someone to explain what is going on re the FIA rules. As far as I know when a car leaves the pit lane for qualifying it is regarded as being under parc ferme in which ever form it is returned to the pits. Whatever needs to be done to the car due to damage no set-up changes can be made, and any parts replaced would have to be like-with-like. Here a list of parts replaced to repair number 44 car crash damage and their official specification description.
    New gearbox. MGU-K (previously used). New MGU-H (new and different specification). New TC (new and different specification). New ICE (new and different specification). New steering wheel. RHS front upright. RHS front track rod. LHS rear outboard suspension assembly. LHS rear upright and brake ducts. Front wing/nose assembly. LHS water radiator. LHS side pot. LHS canard. LHS FWD barg board. Floor. Steering column and steering rack. Front ARB drop links. LHS and RHS front rockers. Front heave dampers. Front inertia. Front corner dampers. Front brake friction material. LHS front upright and brake air ducts. LHS outboard suspension assembly.

    • Tom Firth

      Before a written request was given by the team to the FIA technical delegate and the delegate approved the changes, it is legal under parc ferme rules.

      34.2 second to last paragraph –

      Any work not listed above may only be undertaken with the approval of the FIA technical delegate following a written request from the team concerned. It must be clear that any replacement part a team wishes to fit is similar in design, mass, inertia and function to the original. Any parts removed will be retained by the FIA.

      In Document 41 pre race, the FIA list had this at the bottom

      All above parts have been replaced with the approval of the FIA technical 
      delegate following a written request from the team concerned, this being in accordance with Article 34.2 of thee 2017 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

      • Salvu Borg

        I know all there is to know about the standard formalities teams have to make/have to go through (a written request to FIA delegate and delegate having to approve) for a team to be able to race a car, also all that’s needed to be known about article 34.2. If I was in any doubt I wouldn’t have asked my question.
        My question was “I would very much like someone to explain what is going on re FIA rules”.
        The list of “approved by FIA delegate” replaced parts I have listed I double checked that it is the official list In all details and descriptions.
        Why is it than that I asked that question.
        It is because to my knowledge different specification means different from the one installed before the crash and so will also be different from homologated parts used before during the season (parts have to be like for like?.
        Also as far as I know a team have to prove that the part requested to be replaced have to be damaged.
        I have no doubt that any part that the team replaced on the damaged car was approved by the FIA delegate, and also that no settings the car had before the accident were changed, and that is exactly why MY QUESTION.

        • MIE

          As you know, teams are allowed to change the specification of the parts used, or setup of the car, but only if the start from the pit lane.

          • Salvu Borg

            Yes I know about that (pit lane start) means being allowed to use parts of different specification, but I didn’t know that an un-raced/un-homologated new specification part/s could be used, and neither did I know that undamaged parts can randomly be replaced while under Parc Ferme.

          • Tom Firth

            As long as the FIA delegate allows them, they can.

            Simple as that.

          • Tom Firth
          • subcritical71

            I guess it depends on the definition of ‘similar’. I believe the engineering term would be the phrase ‘Fit, Form or Function’. If none of these have changed (fit, form or function) then the design is similar. I would say it’s a decision left purposely vague so the technical delegate has the final authority to approve/disapprove the changes.

          • Salvu Borg

            Yes finally “at the FIA delegate discretion”.
            Re “definition of ‘similar’ in engineering terms” and my question as to what is going on?. in my engineering terms the new series V different specification engine, the new different specification TC, the new different specification MGU-H, all of which were cleared to be replaced and raced without them not being damaged by the accident, and without them not only not being like for like but being of new specification and never homologated/used/ or raced before.

          • subcritical71

            Yes, but to be fair, we don’t know what the specification change was. These are very vague words which could amount to anything. Again at the discretion…..

          • Salvu Borg

            correct, we don’t know what the specification changes were, what we know is that the concerned parts were of new different specification, a specification not raced before.

          • subcritical71

            I didn’t see that the specification hadn’t been raced before.

          • Salvu Borg

            If the parts were of new specification, how could they have been used before?.

          • subcritical71

            I guess I should have said… “I didn’t see that a new specification was used, only that a different specification was used.” I would assume that this is a new specification, but haven’t read that as fact.

            Session: Qualifying

            Fact:
            – A 5th Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), 5th Turbo Charger (TC) and 5th Motor Generator Unit Heat (MGU-H) have been used.
            – The Power Unit Elements were changed to those of a different specification whilst the car was under Parc Fermé conditions.
            -In addition the Gearbox has been changed
            – Offence Breach of Article 23.3 a), 23.5 a) and 34.6 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

            Decision: Required to start from the Pit Lane.

            Reason:
            -As the power unit elements are of a different specification from those originally used in qualifying the competitor is required to start from the pit lane and should follow the procedures laid out in Article 36.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
            – The team notified the Technical Delegate of the change of power unit elements and gearbox on Saturday 11th November, at 17:21.

          • subcritical71

            Actually, thinking more about this it would make sense that they used an old specification. But that would mean they had an extra old specification new PU lying around which may be entirely possible since they are supplying many teams on the grid.

            If you remember at Spa Mercedes introduced their 4th PU with a new specification to get around the oil burn limit of 0.9L/100km. So they have been running that engine and spec since Spa with a 1.2L/100km limit. If they were to introduce a NEW specification at Brazil, that limit would then be 0.9L/100km. Now, if they just used a new PU, old specification they could still enjoy the 1.2L/100km limit.

            Does 0.3L/100km make that much of a difference… I have no idea. But combine that with a fresh engine and aggressive tuning (engine only needs to last 2 races vs 5/6), I think it’s entirely possible.

          • Salvu Borg

            At SPA Mercedes introduced a new PU solely to circumvent the oil consumption directive.
            The Mercedes team introduced an as yet unraced new and different specification ICE, TC and MGU-H. This they were allowed to do when the parts concerned were not damaged as a cause of the accident and while the car was under parc ferme rules. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON RE THE FIA RULES?. but I forgot that all done is at the FIA delegat’s discretion

          • Salvu Borg

            A formula one power unit is designed for a targeted race mileage + 10%, a mileage which includes the possible period spend at full power.
            Full power period means at max fuel flow max boost and max full electric power deployment, this max power period is used in qualifying mode as well as boost to pass/overtake and or boost to defend.
            The new specification V unraced short term power unit elements (ICE, TC and MGU-H) Mercedes were allowed to use on car 44 had/have an advantage of more than double the number of full power boosts that others have, unless others introduces new elements for the next race. As I said elsewhere, when number 44 had past all those cars on track and was closing in on FERRARI number 7, his pit wall told him that he had 14 overtake boosts left that he could use. But that was of no help in passing a car with a power unit and its element past or on the edge of their life, in fact somebody on this forum was so sure that FERRARI will have to take a grid penalty as regard at least their TC, and that at much before this stage reached on that TC.

          • subcritical71

            Correct, this designed race distance was probably 5 or 6 races. But if you reduce the number of races required to say 2, then you can increase the time spent at full power without creating an increase risk of failure. The relationship will not be 1:1, but it will be an increase.

            So obviously Lewis has gained an advantage, but it’s not an advantage that ferrari hasn’t taken advantage of in the past, either.

          • Salvu Borg

            “CORRECT” I was sure it was correct as otherwise I would have either not said it or stated that I wasn’t sure.

          • subcritical71

            AGREED!

            Edit: sorry NC, I’ll stop!

          • Salvu Borg

            Roger Roger, following suit and thanks for an enjoyable dialogue.

          • subcritical71

            Where did you get the info that this was a new specification? That seems counterproductive at this point in the season.

          • Salvu Borg

            The list I gave of parts replaced and their status in my first post is correct and double checked. This is not the first time that I am asked “Where did you get that information?” in fact sometimes it gets very frequent, I have been Rigorously and without fail been following F1 for more moons than I can remember, overtime one builds up a network of friends/likeminded people some of whom are really in the tick of things and one can then build-up his knowledge as to what the real fact are and what is going on.

          • Salvu Borg

            “Does 0.3l/100km make all that much of a difference?”.
            An engine, is designed with a targeted amount of oil consumption. As to your question my opinion about the subject is well known on here. what I can say is those that kicked all the fuss/speculation and accusations are the once using the most oil, in fact at the US GP I said that Brandon Hartley Renault engine was using/burning a considerable amount of oil, and this time in Brazil it was the turn of Pierri Gasly’s Renault using/burning a lot of oil. Gasly to reporters after the race “my pit wall was constantly telling me to top-up/transfer oil”. top-up/transfer oil means top-up/transfer oil from the auxiliary/spare oil tank to the engine main oil tank by means of a button on the steering wheel. and this goes to show what back then I said, namely that contrary to many a speculation all cars on the grid have an auxiliary/spare oil tank.

          • subcritical71

            Looks like the penalty imposed on Lewis for breaking part ferme rules was to start from pit lane. So yes he broke the rules and the delegate punished him with a start from pit lane.
            https://www.fia.com/file/63347/download?token=us3yVXT7

            I’m surprised more teams don’t take advantage now of this when qualy and race have substantially different conditions (ie, wet vs dry).

          • Salvu Borg

            Choosing to start from the pit lane is different from being forced to start from the pit lane.
            Starting from the pit lane in Brazil is something like a 4 seconds disadvantage to starting from the back of the field, but that chose was weighted up against the additional parts and the safety car gamble of which paid 44 the best dividends from the very start.

  • Junipero Mariano

    Today, Fernando, Felipe was faster than you.

    • Salvu Borg

      Regardless the improvements attributed to the chassis, Honda seems to have made some real progress with their PU both reliability and power sustainability wise. I know that Interlagos is a short lap but there still is 71 continuous short laps.
      Battle for 7th, last lap.
      Massa 321km/h.
      Alonso with DRS 327 km/h.
      Perez with DRS 350 km/h.
      But as someone said to me, what’s 14 mph between friends?.

  • pmr

    Don’t know about the WTH Jos’ girl friend, she could wear a garbage bag with matching lipstick and still look smoking hot :) Maybe it was for their 1 year anniversary, they met at the Brazilian GP last year when she was Max’ grid girl. Seems like dad took home the prize there :)

    • Meine Postma

      Or she did :-)

    • Max Johnson

      If I was her I would watch out.

  • Tom Firth

    “Millennial-Field navel gazing commentary” – What do you mean Millennial-Field?

    • Meine Postma

      Them young’uns

      • Tom Firth

        Sorry, I know what Millennial is. I meant what he meant by the term ‘Millennial-Field’ as I hadn’t heard it before, but thinking of it, he may of meant ‘Millennial-Filled’ and its just a typo.

        Doesn’t matter anyway. No big deal heh, just curiosity.

  • Zzyzxx

    As Hamilton showed today, the key to more passing in F1 is to not have the fastest cars start at the front with progressively slower cars behind. Reverse grids improve the show, but are artificial and unfair. What we need is an incentive to encourage cars to start in the back. If points were awarded for improvement in position, along with finishing order, the highest point scorer might not be the car that finishes in first. Qualifying could determine the order of selecting the grid positions. The further back you start, the higher the possible point that could be earned. How many point? More points for passes as you approach the front? Not sure, but 20th to 4th would score more points that 2nd to 1st. The fastest cars would want to start toward the back.

    • Rock or Something

      I love this. Preach it.

  • Meine Postma

    Sooo, Grossjean is Swiss, you know that right?

    • MIE

      He does however race under a French licence.

      • Meine Postma

        That does not make him French though

        • Tom Firth

          Surely if you are born to parents of two different nationalities and have dual-nationality. It is up to you to decide which country you represent and align with as a driver? It isn’t like you don’t have family ancestry under one of those flags.

          Verstappen has a Belgian mother, and a Dutch father, races under a Dutch license, but was born in Belgium.

          Grosjean is the opposite, French mother, Swiss Father, choses to race for France and associate himself with France, despite being born in Switzerland.

          Nico was born in Germany to a (rather famous) Finnish father and a German mother. Chose to race for Germany.

  • Rock or Something

    To be fair to Pirelli Stroll had apparently terribly flat spotted that tire many laps before and kept driving on it vibrating like hell until it came apart. To be fair to Stroll he asked them for a pit stop to change it and the Williams braintrust said no, like he might get even laster if he stops. That’s one difference between Max and Lance I guess, you tell Max he can’t have a pit stop when he wants one and he just cruises down pit lane like ‘maybe you want to rethink that in the next 30 seconds’

    • Max Johnson

      Just goes to show the maturity and levelheadedness of Stroll.

    • Salvu Borg

      Stroll’s gearbox failure had damaged his engine and in the race he was forced to race an old unit that couldn’t be used in qualifying mode, meaning no more overtaking engine boosts left in it. contrast this with Mercedes number 44 new short term requirement engine and at well past the half race distance his team informing him he had 14 overtakes boosts left that he could use.