Esteban Ocon did something incredible; he finished his first 27 races in Formula 1 while driving for back-end and midfield teams. However, all great streaks must come to an end, and this time Romain Grosjean was responsible for his fellow Frenchman’s first retirement in F1.
Grosjean overtook Ocon at the start, but later on the first lap Ocon was taking this place back. The two went side-by-side into turns six and seven, and when Grosjean lost control on the inside, he collided with Ocon. He received a ten-second penalty for the crash, although personally I judged it as a racing incident. From now on however, Grosjean will be known as the one who broke the Oconsistency.
Still I rise – through the grid at least
Lewis Hamilton had a bad qualifying in Brazil, crashing out early in Q1 and then being forced to start from the pits. Nevertheless, Hamilton was out with a fighting mentality on Sunday, unlike in Mexico where he had to play it safe to win the championship.
Hamilton made a dozen overtakes in the first laps and was an incredible fifth by lap 20. Not only that, he was the fastest man on track with the others losing grip on their supersofts and Lewis taking full advantage of his soft tyres. The Brit even led the race for a moment when the top four pitted for fresh tyres, a sight that I can’t remember seeing before.
After pitting on lap 42, Hamilton returned to the track fifth but with the podium in his sights. Hamilton began to out-perform all other cars on track and with a few laps to go he caught up with Kimi Räikkönen in third place. However, Hamilton had already used his tyres to the maximum and Räikkönen was able to hold him off as Lewis struggled for grip. A fourth place was still a true testament to Hamilton’s raw speed and another proof of why he is a four-time world champion.
The old dog
Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen hasn’t had quite the dream season he could have, but the Finn has managed to scrape together three third places in a row at the last races. From those podiums, this one in Brazil was certainly the one he had to fight for the most. Räikkönen had a good start for the race, retaining his third place and keeping Max Verstappen behind. After a dozen laps, Räikkönen was in a safe zone, with gaps in front and behind him.
But although his pace was too much for Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton was making his push through the field, and caught up with Räikkönen with about six laps to go. Many spectators must have thought that Lewis would just go by the Finn, but Räikkönen defended his position like the champion he is. Knowing Lewis’s tyres were worn out, he was able to pull away from the champion-elect before the long straight, making it impossible for Hamilton to attack. This form we saw was like the old, 2007 Räikkönen, who we have all been waiting for.
A nicer farewell
A year ago, Felipe Massa left his home race in tears, retiring after a collision in the torrential rain. Although he didn’t finish the race, everyone remembers the emotion filled walk through the pit lane with all teams giving Massa a standing ovation. Still, it would have been nice for Massa to finish his final race at Interlagos. Well, that’s exactly what he did this time. Massa’s second ‘final’ home race took place in hot and sunny conditions, quite the opposite from last year.
This year he enjoyed the full race distance fighting in front of his home fans with his long-time teammate and rival Fernando Alonso. Even Sergio Perez joined the fight on last lap, but no positions were changed and Massa got to celebrate his seventh place as if it was a victory. Although it wasn’t as emotional as last year, this was a nicer farewell for the Brazilian veteran.
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