|After the race |Brazilian| GP: the comments
What an insane race we get involved in the crazy GP of Brazil. As it often does, the Sao Paulo appointment doesn’t betray the expectations. Verstappen replies after the controverst he raised up against Ferrari engine with a very strong performance. On the other side, Ferrari has decided for the option of self-distruction. Also Hamilton this time wasn’t able to get away from the general hysteria and makes a mistake touching Albon. We’ve a lot to discuss here!
Before the race analysis: what did we see on Saturday’s qualifying?
The qualifying results gave us the confirmation that Ferrari engine was back to the top performances of the last races. The favourable sectors for Ferrari were, as introduced in the On the Way section, the first and the third. What’s weird is the top speed of Red Bull on these sector since Verstappen was even faster than Vettel in those sectors and then he was the fastest in Sector 2. Leclerc could have done a better lap since its ideal was +0.242 sec slower then the one was worth only the fourth position. Mercedes and in particular the one of Bottas had difficulties matching the speed of its rivals. Few rumours (not confirmed) said that the Honda engineers have somehow found out the secret of Ferrari power unit and they’ve started replicating the solution the Italian team adopted. As we say “The guilty dog barks the loudest”.
Vertstappen has imposed a very strong pace throughout the entire weekend with an average gap of +0.2-0.3 sec per lap during the race. Mercedes tried to undercut with Hamilton two times but Red Bull was a little bit superior. Probably we have been talking of a different result if Hamilton didn’t miss the right engine map after the first pit that cost him the overtake in favour of Verstappen (top speed difference of +20 km/h at the end of the principal straight that lap). The fact that temerature would have been a factor was evident also on Saturday: a warmer track caused the soft to overheating easier.
The mess of strategies.
The top 6 drivers adopted very different strategies: Hamilton and Verstappen were immediately for a two pit stop race while the two Ferrari drivers probably had the hope to finish the race with only one pit stop, in particular Charles Leclerc who mounted the harder compund (medium and hard). However, the choiche for Leclerc to start with the medium compound was rigth and allowed him to recover from 14th to 6th in just 9 laps. The tyre wear was underestimated by Ferrari engineers and then both drivers were constrained to another stop. On that basis another bad move for the strategist of the Pracing Horse (together with Bottas).
The roulette of Safety Car .
We forget for a moment the crucial event of the race and we analyze the events after the second entry of the Safety Car. Hamilton made one of his first mistakes of the season, ruining the amazing race of Albon who was bringing home a fantastic 1-2 for Red Bull. After the accident, Gasly showed the strength of Honda engine keepind behind Hamilton. For that action, Hamilton received a 5-seconds penalty and moved back to 7th: Sainz climbs to the podium. The Spaniard had a great drive since he had to fight with more than 30-lapped tyres against rivals on newer soft tyres. The penalty was right since the same was given to Ricciardo in the battle with Magnussen.
Ferrari, another step toward the self-destruction.
The Vettel-Leclerc clash was the turn of the race. That outcome was in the air since the Summer and Monza GP. Two fundamental causes are at the basis of the basis of the bomb burst inside of Ferrari team:
- Two top drivers who have the temper of the champion: no one wants to fall behind the end in the hierarchies, remember “too many cooks spoil the broth”.
- Lack of decisional management: the team principal as to outline the priorities of the team and therefore enforce the most adeguate relationship between drivers.
When the drivers said they had clarified each other what did they exactly mean?
The fatal crash: analysis.
- Vettel has lost his 2nd position at the start and during the race he struggled with Albon and was never able to try overtaking him.
- Vettel founds himself behind his teammate who started 14th and as just overtaken him with an outstanding Ricciardo-style manouvre.
Effect: The lucidity of the German driver is lost and he decides to fight back Leclerc kicking off the toughest duel of the race with his teammate.
For sure Leclerc has not made the overtake easy to Vettel (but help me find out a driver in F1 that leave the position to the one following), so his decision of keeping the line and not slowing down is the position of whom has less faults. Vettel, on the other hand was in the position of the follower, and if we see the sequence of images we note that while Leclerc mantains the same distance from the white line, Vettel clearly tend to close towards the inner of the track. The move of the German had probably intimidating roots but he smashed against the proud of Charles to keep accelerated. The other reason is that from the outer of that turn is very unlikely to close the overtake. These considerations, bring us to conclude that the most guilty is Vettel. Moreover, that aggression was on rational basis not necessary: he had older tyres and a very similar crash happened to him in 2010 (Turkey) with Webber.
Here below the grades for the Ferrari team:
Vettel: He seems to have lost his grit till he sees Leclerc in his mirrors and then ahead of him. Status: “Grazie ragazzi, another crash to Maranello” GRADE: 4/10.
Leclerc: Great comeback and recover, he makes every overtake easier than it is. He seems to have a better feelings in fight than Vettel but then happens the drama. Very wise with the media, a fury on track. Status: Doctor Leclerkyll and Mr. Charlie. GRADE: 6/10.
Binotto and strategists: Wrong strategy, again, nothing new under the sun. There’s a weakness in driver management that as raised up the situation till it busted up. Strong temper and position must be taken and the solution cannot only be to delete the debrief. Status: Maurizio Arrivabene is enjoyining on the sofa. GRADE: 3.5/10.
The marks of the others.
Bottas: He returned to the dull version of the Finnish driver. Still hesitating in the overtaking: his engine begs him for fresh air and after laps behind Leclerc decides the only way to end the agony is to boil. Current status: That smoke was one of Finnish air force display team. GRADE: 5.5/10.
Hamilton: As seen during the entire season, he never surrenders. He put pressures but makes two mistakes: he is overtaken after the first pit and then he causes the spin of Albon. The black lion always keeps home the fur. GRADE: 6/10.
Raikkonen & Giovinazzi: Incredible result for Alfa Romeo: 4th and 5th positions. Mood: the grandfather and his little grandson. GRADES 8.5/10.
Sainz: He starts from the back of the grid and he got the first podium of his carrer, but the decision of Hamilton’s penalty arrived later. State of mind: Fisichella Brazil version 2003. GRADE: 9/10.
Albon: He showed why he was confirmed. Great replies to Vettel’s attacks and awesome battle with Hamilton. He deserved the second. GRADE 8.5/10.
Verstappen: No mistakes, no opportunity for others to question his first place. Status: Beyond the war of the engines. GRADE: 9.5/10.
What’s your opinion? Let’s write us in the comments!