New footage onboard with Ocon with team radio, who was to blame?
Mad Max (the sequel) or ‘He had more to lose’ (the sequel) or Mercedes take WCC (the sequel’s sequel’s sequel’s sequel).
Rate the race and Driver of the weekend: Round 20, Interlagos, Brazil 2018
Mean reader score: 8.37 Rated 1/20 races so far this season.
Well, well, well, the best race of the season so far. This year’s score was higher than 2017’s score of 5.91 and even higher than 2016’s 8.03 (let’s not mention 2015’s score of 3.92). Then again, in 2016, 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 which, 2016’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.
So, how was this year’s race even better than 2016? Once again we have Mad Max Vercrashen taking centre stage, but not quite in the way we may have expected, but more of that later, because guess who won our Driver of the Weekend? (again). With the WDC having been sorted last time out in Mexico, all that was left now (apart from the fastest pit-stop award) was WCC.
Was it ever in doubt that it would go Mercedes’ way? Well it did, but again, not quite in the way we may have expected.
Hamilton took pole (again) and got off scot free with his ‘incidents’ between himself and Sirotkin and himself and Raikkonen. Vettel started in P2 (having taken a 25K euro fine for ‘destroying’ the weighbridge during FP2.
The start was clean with both Ferraris (on soft tyres) losing a place. There was fisty-cuffs between the two Renaults (not literally), Grosjean and Ericsson both lost bits (deftly avoided by Gasly). Both Red Bulls made their way forward through the field, and Ricciardo even managed to finish the race, just missing out on the third podium position, even though he started in P11 due to an engine penalty.
Verstappen made his way to the front before colliding with Ocon (who received a 10s stop-go penalty). There was some wheel to wheel racing between Vettel and Ricciardo, Hamilton and Verstappen, Gasly refused to move over for his team mate, but yielded eventually.
Having started from his highest grid position this season, Ericsson sadly failed to finish and Hulkenberg retired to prevent an engine failure. Mercedes, however, ignored the feedback indicating Hamilton would have an imminent engine failure and turned down the wick so Hamilton could win the race and Mercedes the WCC. Hamilton then went on to tell Verstappen ‘he had more to lose’ in the incident with Ocon (Ouch!!).
Driver of The Weekend: Max Verstappen (59.46% of reader vote)
Having topped the leaderboard in FP1, it looked as if Verstappen was set to continue his race winning ways from Mexico into Brazil this race.
Sadly, it was not to be as Max started from fifth on the grid. Quickly overtaking Raikkonen on the opening lap and Vettel on lap 4 and by lap 10 Max had taken P2 from Bottas. Taking the lead when Hamilton pitted, he stayed there until he pitted himself on lap 36, emerging behind Hamilton, but not for long he swooped past Hamilton shortly thereafter to (effectively take the lead of the race).
Max’s glory continued until Ocon tried to unlap himself sending the race leader into a spin and into P2, which is where he stayed until the end of the race. Still, the entertainment didn’t end with the chequered flag – there was an ‘altercation’ between Max and Ocon during the weigh in which, after pushing Ocon three times, resulted in Max getting two days community service from the FIA.
Furthermore, despite failing to win the race, along with the altercation, it didn’t stop him winning out Driver of the Weekend, though!