Brazilian GP 2018 – Race Report

Despite low expectations on Hamilton’s part with the Brit having secured his fifth championship, we saw another race victory as well as some drama both on and off the track.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis HamiltonMercedes were, surprisingly, not the favourites due to their poor tyre strategy. However, as Max Verstappen was bumped into a spin by Esteban Ocon while being lapped, Hamilton seized the day and the race victory. I would have felt sorry for Max, but…
  2. Max VerstappenGranted, the Dutch driver was well in his right to be mad at Ocon for ruining his race victory, but shoving a guy during weighing and calling him out with high school level insults shows what an utter brat Verstappen has turned into. Rightly so, Max received a penalty for his unsportsmanlike behaviour – but it will only do him good if he learns to play with the big boys.
  3. Kimi RäikkönenKimi’s third podium in a row is actually making for an impressive send off as the Iceman is leaving the team. I also have to tip my hat to Maurizio Arrivabene who had Kimi and Vettel change positions, allowing Räikkönen to catch up and over-take Bottas for the podium. Uncharacteristic sportsmanship but also well called as Ferrari had a snow ball’s chance in hell of actually grabbing the Constructors’ title at this point.
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – The most impressive rise of the race, from grid-11 no less. Ricciardo even gave Vettel a hard time though the German driver clearly had tyre issues. Still, good on you, mate!
  5. Valtteri Bottas – One driver who definitely wants the season to be over. Becoming Hamilton’s wingman and getting overtaken by drivers in lesser cars must sting. Better luck next year, Valtteri.
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Vettel deserves some criticism for his own unbecoming behaviour over the race weekend, but being dropped from the top-5 is surely punishment enough.
  7. Charles Leclerc – A decent drive from the future Ferrari pilot. Here’s hoping he’ll actually overtake Vettel next year.
  8. Romain Grosjean – No flies on the Frenchman. Solid drive.
  9. Kevin Magnussen – Ditto for Kevin. A really good result for Haas.
  10. Sergio Perez – With Ocon fumbling, Perez couldn’t do much to improve his team’s situation.

Golden Pineapple Award: Brendon Hartley – Toro Rosso

This year’s Pineapple Challenge is threateningly close to a three-way tie with Hartley joining Ericsson and team-mate Gasly at the top of the chart. To his credit, Hartley started from grid-16. It’s a shame the kiwi driver hasn’t really managed to make an impact all season.

Drop-out count: 2

Both retirements really seemed to be caused by damage from contact on-track.

Carlos Sainz bumped into the side of his team-mate early on for seemingly no reason. As a result Nico Hülkenberg had to retire into the pits.

The saddest retirement, I’m surprised to admit, was absolutely Marcus Ericsson. Now note, I have definitely given Ericsson a lot of shit these past four seasons and deservedly so. To me, it’s still quite awful that now that the Swedish driver is finally making decent results, his time in the sport is very clearly up. Ericsson started from grid-5, his highest position ever. And true, he would have likely lost that position at any circuit. Marcus’s rotten luck was to get squeezed in the first corner and the damage dealt to his car eventually made it undrivable. I honestly feel bad for him.

Back of the Lot News:

I would say there were a lot of disappointments in the back-lot but frankly most of these drivers have caused their rotten luck. Carlos Sainz’s callous driving netted him 12th place. Something clearly went wrong with Pierre Gasly as he dropped from grid-9 at the start all the way down to 13th. Esteban Ocon was amazingly 15th despite his run-in with Verstappen.

Stoffel Vandoorne beat his team-mate for all its worth at 14th. I think he’s starting to get more focused for the on-coming Formula E season. Sergey Sirotkin suffered from some rotten luck in qualifying (being blocked by Hamilton) and his promising grid-14 starting position dropped to 16th in the finish.

Alonso seems to have officially run out of fucks to give. He was 17th and second to last.

Dead last: Lance Stroll I believe this stat is one Stroll didn’t want, but he has officially overtaken his team-mate in the amount of Last Place Finishes for 2018. There’s still Abu Dhabi, but it remains to be seen which of the Williams-drivers is truly the slowest man on track.