Rain drenched podium for Verstappen – Brazilian GP 2016

The Brazilian Grand Prix this season was a veritable clusterfuck with continuous rain through the whole race, which saw the safety car come on the track five times with the race red flagged twice due to the fierceness of the rain.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis HamiltonHamilton drove flawlessly through the numerous restarts to the race. He is barely keeping his championship hopes alive and luckily for sports fans, the championship will be decided in the final round.
  2. Nico RosbergRosberg came rather close to being third but over-all drove a solid a near flawless race in the difficult conditions. Rosberg needs to merely repeat this result to secure the championship.
  3. Max VerstappenVerstappen avoided a collision despite spinning on the main-straight. He took one last pit-stop after the final safety car which would have doomed most racers to the back of the lot. However, Verstappen passed everyone with his daring driving today to rise from the back all the way to third. No questions asked, this is the Dutchman’s most impressive podium of the season.

Sergio Perez drove excellently for Force India coming in 4th with his soon-to-be ex-team mate Nico Hülkenberg managing an okay 7th position.

Sebastian Vettel can also be reasonably proud of his 5th place finish, despite suffering a spin and a slow pit-stop during the race.

Red Bull could be all smiles today with all but one of their four drivers on points. Carlos Sainz rose all the way from 15th at the start to be 6th at the finish line. Daniel Ricciardo suffered a 5 second penalty for entering the pit-lane after Ericsson’s crash when the pit-lane was closed. He was 8th in the end.

The only other driver to rise from outside the top-10 was, amazingly today, a Sauber car. Felipe Nasr landed 9th and scored 2 invaluable championship points for the team, ensuring that they would not be dead last in this year’s championship race. I think it’s safe to say, Nasr just signed his contract in 2017 with this finish.

Fernando Alonso suffered a spin but came back from behind to rise to 10th, taking one point for McLaren.

Golden Pineapple Award: Valtteri Bottas, Williams.

Valtteri Bottas has become the 14th man to have his name be on the list of 11th-place finishers. Williams just had a miserable time in Brazil, with the result probably being even more painful for his team-mate. Bottas pitted early raced with intermediate tyres while rain was still pouring, so it’s little surprise why his result was this bad.

Drop-out count: 6

Six drivers did not see the chequered flag today. Romain Grosjean slipped and hit the wall on the warm-up lap which is why the race was started behind the safety car to begin with. With a 7th place in the starting grid, this would have been Haas’s best starting position so the slip-up was very regrettable.

The safety car came back onto the track when Marcus Ericsson slipped on the up-hill to the main-straight, hitting the wall and blocking the pit-entrance. This brought the safety car back on track. In the ensuing chaos, Jolyon Palmer ran into Daniil Kvyat and was forced to retire.

When the race restarted after Ericsson’s car was cleared it was Kimi Räikkönen‘s turn to slip up on the main-straight. The race was immediately red flagged as Kimi’s car was positioned dangerously on the straight. Laps 21-28 were driven behind the safety car but the race was red flagged again because of the continuous rain. Racing finally did resume on lap 31.

The fifth and last safety car session took up laps 48-55 when it was Felipe Massa‘s turn to slip and hit the walls on the main straight. It was not a good race for Massa even before the accident as he had suffered a slow pit-stop and a 5 second penalty for overtaking before the Safety Car line. Let’s hope the soon-to-be retired F1 veteran will have a much better time in Abu Dhabi.

The soon-to-be unemployed Esteban Gutierrez called it quits late in the race with a technical problem.

Back of the Lot News:

News of his forth-coming rise to Force India seemed to have a put a spring in the step of Manor driver Esteban Ocon who was very nearly 9th behind Felipe Nasr. He was passed by both Alonso and Bottas in the final laps. I have to hand it to the Frenchman though, this was easily the most impressive drive by him this past half-season. It still feels that his Force India promotion was a little premature, but at least now Ocon has one solid race to show to his name.

Daniil Kvyat managed only a paltry 13th – but as he was run into by Palmer this is hardly a surprise, and it’s a miracle he finished the race at all.

Future-Haas driver Kevin Magnussen pitted his Renault very early and sadly couldn’t gain any advantage from the many restarts to the race. He was 14th.

Ocon’s Manor team-mate, Pascal Wehrlein (still not signed), wasn’t slouching either and was also in the Top-10 for a period but sadly ended up second-to-last.

Dead Last: Jenson ButtonButton, also on his last F1 season, became seventh driver to claim last place this season. McLaren really didn’t seem to have a good time in Brazil. This also officially makes Esteban Ocon the Dead Last King of the season (albeit, he still finished last fewer times than Rio Haryanto). Better luck in Abu Dhabi, Jense!