Sebastian Vettel returned to form with his fifth victory in 2017, his first since the mid-season break and Ferrari’s first win at Interlagos since 2008 when hometown hero Felipe Massa, who raced in his final Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, came within one point of claiming the world drivers title that season.
The podium was set after turn 3 on lap 1 when Vettel overhauled polesitter Valtteri Bottas, beating the Finn to the left-hander at turn 1, from then on, Vettel was able to pull out and maintain a gap to Bottas and likewise, Kimi Raikkonen was unable to make any inroads into the gap between himself and Bottas.
A number of first lap incidents brought out the safety car. McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne found himself in an F1 sandwich between Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo, ending his race and pitching Ricciardo off on the grass and to the back of the grid. Force India’s Esteban Ocon had a rare retirement as he and Romain Grosjean had a coming together at turn 6, for which, Grosjean received a 10-second penalty.
This will be a much shorter than usual review as not too much happened in my opinion. The main upsides for me were Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo’s recovery drive to fourth and sixth places respectively. Hamilton started from the pitlane due to a mistake in qualifying meant he failed to set a time in Q1, Mercedes took full advantage and changed his power unit as it was effectively penalty free.
Hamilton managed to get up as high as fourth place but stalled when he reached Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the Ferrari had a little too much pace for Hamilton, Raikkonen holding off the Briton for the final five laps to maintain the podium position which he held since the start of the race. Ricciardo, did well after his first lap incident to finish in sixth, 16 seconds behind Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen.
With this victory, Vettel all but cements his position as “best of the rest” driver, only a win for Bottas and a DNF for Vettel at the season finale in Abu Dhabi can change the top 3 positions. Frankly, I don’t think that Bottas is the driver he was believed to be, I believe that if Hamilton had started in the same position as Bottas this weekend, Vettel would have had a much tougher time claiming victory at the Brazilian GP.
Overall, I thought this was a dull race as Brazilian Grand Prix’ go, maybe we needed a sprinkling of rain (or indeed, Bernie’s trackside sprinklers) to liven things up. And I doubt that Abu Dhabi will be any better as a spectacle, I find it disappointing that the FIA decided to use the shiny lights of Abu Dhabi as a season finale, I always thought that Brazil is a much more fitting venue for the season finale, but what do I know?
Brazilian Grand Prix 2017 Results
|1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:31:26.260
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0:02.762s
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0:04.600s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0:05.468s
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0:32.940s
|6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0:48.691s
7. Felipe Massa (William) +1:08.882s
8. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +1:09.363s
9. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1:09.500s
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +1 LAP