Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Brazil GP Sprint Race Report: Great news for Verstappen, damage limitation for Hamilton


Brazil GP Sprint Race Report: At last, the third and final Sprint Race/Quali of the season is now done and dusted. It hasn’t been too kind on the sport, but boy did it fail to impress today!

Thanks to Lewis’ DSQ, it was made even better! Oh, wait a minute! Did I just mention Lewis’ DSQ?! Yeah, so Hamilton got disqualified from the conventional qualifying after a DRS technical infringement. In case you remember, title rival Verstappen too was summoned to the stewards, but he was let go with a fine.

Back to the Sprint Race. So, with Lewis starting from dead-last, it was bound to be an exciting session, as he quickly overtook the slower cars to finish in… I will tell you that later.

However, I want to ask you – should F1 keep the Sprint Race format for next year? I know, the sport has already made a decision, but I want to ask you, my fellow readers. I would like it if it stays here, but only if it replaces the conventional Quali once and for all. My ideal weekend schedule looks like this – FP1 & FP2 on Friday, Sprint on Saturday, GP on Sunday. Simple. Effective. Engaging.

Mercedes – Bottas P1 & Hamilton P10

Valtteri started from Pole and made a wise decision to start on the Softs, as opposed to Max who started on the Mediums. The Finn didn’t have a great first phase, but from the second phase onwards, he controlled the 24-lap dash and couldn’t be challenged.

Lewis, on the other hand, had a task in hand to overtake as many cars as possible before the chequered flag. Before T1, he overtook four cars, then he kept doing that lap after lap. The best move from him to come in a long, long time was on Norris I think it was where he outbraked the Brit going into T1 and didn’t lose the control nor did he lock up. Textbook stuff.

However, with his earlier five-place grid drop for a brand-new ICE, he will start from P10 tomorrow after having finished today in a strong P5. Doubt tomorrow will be as strong as today though. That said, expect a podium at best.

Brazil GP Sprint Race Report: Red Bull – Verstappen – P2 & Perez – P4

It was no secret that once Lewis’ DSQ news was made public, it meant Verstappen could ease off that much easier. But, he still had a job in hand – to get ahead of Bottas if possible. If not, maintain P2.

I feel he could’ve gotten Valtteri, but that would’ve been possible only if the Dutchman had started on the Soft compound like the Mercedes driver. Instead, it was the Medium compound. Why, I got no idea, but Carlos Sainz says thanks to the cooler temperatures, the Softs held much better than anticipated.

Speaking of Sainz, he did have a battle with Verstappen for quite a bit of time and even made the Championship leader go off track. All said and done, Max made quick progress and overtook the Spaniard to retain P2. On Sergio’s side, the Mexican did start P3, but thanks to Carlos’ Soft tyres and surprisingly brilliant pace, he lacked the top-end speed.

Ferrari – Sainz – P3 & Leclerc – P7 / McLaren – Norris – P6 & Ricciardo – P11

The two teams battling it hard for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship came to Interlagos saying that both the teams will be quick – Ferrari said it would be McLaren, and vice-versa.

For Maranello, it was a Sainz show all way to the chequered flag. The Spaniard has adapted to the Ferrari so quickly and has been impressive with his driving skills and results. As for Charlie Leclerc, it wasn’t the best of the races as he was not pleased with himself.

Woking worked to get as high up the grid as possible, but it couldn’t quite work in its favour. That said, Lando still scored a great P6 starting position for the main race tomorrow, and on Daniel’s side, it was not an ideal day at the office after a P11 starting position.

Brazil GP Sprint Race Report: AlphaTauri – Gasly – P8 & Tsunoda – P15 / Alpine – Ocon – P9 & Alonso – P12

The teams level on points didn’t battle it out on track, but Gasly did get the better of the two drivers. The Frenchman did start in P4, but by the end, fell back to P8 as the drivers around him were much quicker, and Yuki didn’t contribute to the team’s results yet again.

On Alpine’s side, both the drivers remain in a shot to score a point or two tomorrow.

Aston Martin – Vettel – P10 & Stroll – P14 / Alfa Romeo – Giovinazzi – P13 & Raikkonen – P18

It was a much better showing from Sebastian this time around in the Sprint of things as the German quickly made progress to stay in P9 for the majority of the period, fighting with Esteban Ocon, but couldn’t get past the Frenchman. His teammate Lance had a lonely session as the Canadian driver finished in P14.

However, the real trouble seemed to be at the Alfa camp as Giovinazzi and Kimi came together at T1 on Lap 2, resulting in the Iceman spinning. Safe to say that ruined his race for tomorrow.

Williams – Latifi – P16 & Russell – P17 / Haas – Mick – P19 & Mazepin – P20

It was a rather strange moment yesterday when Latifi outqualified George Russell. The latter, in his defense, says that Williams has suddenly lost its edge. Well, that’s true to a certain extent. Haas, well, let’s just say it was as expected – Mick in front of Nikita. Simple.

Brazil GP Sprint Race Report: Tomorrow never dies

It is truly all to play for come tomorrow as Verstappen now has a 21-point advantage over Hamilton thanks to his two points scored in the Sprint today. With 71 laps in place, and Brazil’s infamous unexpected weather, who knows, what way it goes. All I can say is that it will be worth watching with Lewis Hamilton in P10, charging through the mid-field, and Verstappen hoping to get ahead of Bottas as quickly as possible.


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