Rate the race and Driver of the weekend: Round 20, – Inetrlagos, Brazil 2019
Mean reader score: 8.92 Rated 3/20 races so far this season.
Well, well, well, the best race of last season was rated third best this season, even though the results were quite ‘spectacular’ (certainly unexpected).
This year’s score was higher than last year’s 8.37 and 2017’s score of 5.91 and 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. Not so this year: Both championships have been wrapped up but that didn’t stop us having one hell of an interesting (second half of a) race.
So, how was the score of this year’s race was even better than last year (even though the season placing was lower)? Once again we had Verstappen at the centre of it all: This time he did take pole, ahead of Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, and team-mate Albon.
We had three great starts (two after safety cars), three of the top cars didn’t finish (x1 Mercedes, x2 Ferrari), the Ferrari’s took each other out, Hamilton took Albon out, Gasly and Sainz each won their first ever podium, we had the youngest ever average age of podium winners in the history of F1, a world record was set for the fastest pit stop, Sainz and Gasly are now neck and neck in the WDC standings and young Lando Norris is only one point behind Perez.
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen on 55.19% of reader vote
This year more than made up for the trauma of last year for Verstappen (remember the fisty-cuffs with Ocon after the race?) Having taken pole by 0.123s and kept it through the rigours of turn 1, Verstappen (and Red Bull, it has to be said, as it is a team sport, after all) made some pretty impressive moves this weekend.
He kept his head when Williams unsafely released Kubica right into his path when he was trying to prevent Hamilton undercutting him at the first pit stop (which was sub 2second) he chased down Hamilton (via Leclerc) and swooped passed him around the inside of turn 1 on lap 23.
He took a daring second pit stop (and set a new world record 1.82 second) after the first safety car, emerging in P2, to take the lead again around the outside of turn 1 on lap 60. From then on it was plain sailing to the chequered flag and his eighth F1 career victory- Well done Max!!
Sadly, the death of Max’s grandfather was announced on Tuesday, after Frans Verstappen passed away on Monday. Deepest condolences to Max and his family at this time.
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