Starting with a sombre issue, but one that needs to be addressed, and that is security surrounding the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. On Friday the Mercedes F1 Team Bus was held up at gunpoint leaving Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Organisers promised a heightened police presence over the weekend but despite this on Sunday evening criminals attempted to stop a car driven by Pirelli tyre fitters. Luckily they managed to escape. There have also been reports that Williams & Sauber were targeted during the weekend. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! Interlagos is a fantastic circuit but F1 can’t condone a race which puts people’s safety at risk.
Onto the Grand Prix itself and Qualifying started in dramatic fashion as Lewis Hamilton crashed out on his first flying lap. An uncharacteristic error from the Brit at turn 6 ended in the barriers. Valtteri Bottas was the man to take advantage and he started on pole ahead of the two Ferrari’s. It’s fair to say that Mercedes like Interlagos. Between them, Hamilton and Bottas set the two fastest times in all three Practice Sessions. One can’t help but feel it would have been a front row lock out had Lewis completed Qualifying.
So, if Mercedes were so quick, then how did Ferrari come to win the race? Sebastian Vettel got the drop on Valtteri Bottas and snuck ahead at the first corner. And that’s how it stayed with Vettel leading and Bottas in hot pursuit but never able to repass the German.
What happened to Red Bull? Prior to the race many had tipped Max Verstappen to follow up on his Mexico Grand Prix victory, but RBR looked off the pace this weekend and were never able to threaten the leaders. This allowed Kimi Raikkonen a place on the podium for his third consecutive Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile had a much better Sunday and worked his way from 17th on the grid to finish in fourth place.
There was a case of déjà vu as Felipe Massa waved goodbye to the crowd, 12 months on from his first Formula 1 retirement. Nobody would begrudge him this though and Massa drove a superb race to bring his Williams home in seventh place, much to the delight of his home fans.
With just one race remaining there are still battles to be settled, most notably between Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas who have 53, 49 and 47 points respectively in the Constructors Table. There’s millions of dollars at stake for the team who can finish highest. Expect these guys to throw everything at the race in Abu Dhabi.
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