Rate the race and Driver of the weekend: Round 19,
Interlagos, Brazil 2017
Mean reader score: 5.85
This year’s score was nowhere near as high as last year’s score of 8.03, but way higher than 2015’s score of 3.92. Then again, this time last year the championship had not yet been decided, Rosberg was 19 points ahead of teammate Hamilton and the championship could still have gone either way. Added to that, last year’s race was WET, had a liberal sprinkling of safety car periods, looked as if it would not be finished before the two hour limit had been reached and gave us (possibly) the best wet race overtaking of the season.
Not so this year: Both WCs have been won (WCC by Mercedes and WDC by Hamilton.) It was a dry race and we had only one safety car period, which came at the beginning of the race when, after a couple of incidents, Magnussen, Van Doorne and Ocon retired and Ricciardo found himself in the pits (and lower down the pack ) way earlier than planned.
Bottas had claimed pole from Vettel by 0.038s and Hamilton had crashed out in Q1 before setting a time, starting at the back of the grid. Overnight Mercedes fitted a new engine to the No 44 car, relegating Hamilton to a pit lane start, which in the end meant Hamilton was blessed with missing the lap one incidents. Bottas’s pole position didn’t last long, as Vettel had snatched it from him into turn 1 of the first lap, taking the lead which is where he stayed (pit stops aside) for the rest of the race. Talking of pitstops Mercedes almost (but not quite) managed to clinch the lead on Bottas’ pitstop on lap 27. They tried (and narrowly failed) to undercut Vettel but did manage to reduce his lead from 1.5 s (ish) to 1.5 tenths(ish.)
There was a lot of overtaking of back markers as Hamilton and Ricciardo made their way back up through the pack, which resulted in Hamilton winning yet another title this season, that of
Driver of The Weekend: Lewis Hamilton (45.16% of reader vote)
Mercedes had (again) looked dominant in the free practice sessions, with Hamilton leading FP1 and FP2 and Bottas taking FP3 by 0.003s from his illustrious teammate. So it came as a bit of a shock when Lewis crashed out of Q1 without setting a lap time. Not to be deterred, he cut a swathe through the field, (at one point leading the race for quite a few laps, until he had to pit for fresh tyres) in a way that had the race commentators speculating if he would be third or second on the podium. However it was not to be, as Raikkonen staunchly defended P3 and Lewis had a big lock up scuppering the best chance he had of gaining said podium position. Still, from Pit lane start to P4 was pretty good, even for a x4 WDC. Well done Lewis! The Dutch TJ13 contingent managed to not get a look in this week…