By Myanna Wedes
What a race!! These are the keywords to describe the 2021 Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix. The hunger within the belly of Lewis Hamilton winning this race was beautiful to witness especially after a tormenting disqualification from qualifying. We have to say, it is one of the best races of Lewis Hamilton’s career, he drove the boots of the car in Sao Paulo to win beating Max Verstappen and regaining some points on the title leader. The start from P10 by Hamilton was excellent and it was his will to win from this moment that saw him propel forward with precision. There are times in motor racing that a driver is pushed to the limit mentally and this weekend had Hamilton on the ropes. Instead of chucking the towel in and settling for points, the British driver made a choice and turned up in front of the fans showing no hesitation to push his car and himself to the edge.
In a sport that can be so cutthroat from winning to losing, crashing and keeping on the black, Hamilton utilised clean moves, channelled his inner chi to be the fire required to finish in the first place and also was calculated in his strategy. With the new engine, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver used the straight-line speed to his advantage securing a punch to his rivals Red Bull Racing. With the DRS and speed, Hamilton was able to secure at least 25km/h more in speed. We cannot forget the moment that Max Verstappen touched Hamilton’s rear wing to determine its flex. This is a moment in history we will not forget! With that said, the battle was of course also on track!
It was a battle like no other with Verstappen shoving Hamilton wide at Turn 4, no investigation by the stewards and continuing on from there until the later end of the race where it boiled down to the final laps. The charge began at lap 48 and really turned the wick up on lap 58 where Hamilton tried again and was met by a strong defence of Verstappen. On lap 59, the master move was made with DRS and passing on turn 4. Verstappen had to concede and Hamilton secured a race victory with a 10.4-second lead. The title was curt from 21 points to 14. This is when we realised that the season was far from being over!
In terms of the turn 4 defence, some will say:
- Verstappen was over the limit and he deserved a penalty; and
- Verstappen did what he had to do, was just defending and it is called racing.
The rules are there to be interpreted and subject to that, applied. Therefore, the choice not to investigate and penalise Verstappen has mixed feelings across fans from around the globe. At this point, “let them race” appeared to be the underlying theme. The tyres for Verstappen were quite worn and his excuse for running wide was due to the tyres being worn out. Excuse or valid point?
You have to clap your hands and admire the talents of Hamilton. He was disqualified on Friday, charged from last place to P5 in the sprint race and then from P10 on race day secured a win that demonstrated his skills. The lion was woken up and now he is hungry for success more than ever. The crowd at Interlagos are amazing and they felt the energy of Hamilton and Ayrton Senna on race day.
The moral over the weekend with Hamilton and his team was to never give up and this showed. The battle for the crown is on and the latter half of this season has been incredibly memorable as it becomes a fight to the very end.
This 101st career Formula One victory for Hamilton will always be very special and his 80th for Mercedes is one of the records books.
It was another solid weekend for Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly just to name a few. They were consistently swapping positions with one another and also the Ferrari power showing why they are taking their fight to McLaren in respect of the constructors. There has been some serious growth from Gasly over the last two years and no doubt the Ferrari team are watching. Both their current drivers are solid, however, an Italian team can only wait so long for a title. What we have to say about Gasly is that he has single handily put the team up the ranks with Yuki Tsunoda learning his way through the field, the car, sport and overall track performance. We see a future World Champion in Gasly based on his ability to perform in a car that a lot of people thought was going to be middle to back of the pack.
The race at Interlagos is filled with history, passionate fans and top quality racing year upon year. With such a final few races coming up, we are in for an absolute treat and Championship battle like no other. The boxing gloves are off between the two title rivals and we expect fireworks!
“I am so, so grateful for the incredible support I’ve had this weekend from the people of Brazil – I’ve not had this kind of support since Silverstone! To hear the crowd throughout the weekend has been really humbling. I’ve just been saying ‘Obrigado Brasil’ all weekend. What a race! The Team here and at the factory did an amazing job, and Valtteri did a great job today to get as many points as possible.
I was pushing as hard as I could from last on grid yesterday, and then with another 5-place penalty today. This was, I think, the hardest weekend I’ve had. But my dad said ‘you reminded me of 2004’ when I was in Formula 3 in Bahrain – I started last and I finished 10th and then I finished 1st so, this one is for my dad.
Coming into this weekend I never, ever thought we’d be able to close the gap like we have today. And then things just kept going against us, but I think it really shows, just never give up. Whatever you’re facing, you’ve just got to keep pushing, keep tumbling away, keep fighting. Never, ever stop fighting. That’s how I’ve approached this weekend. It feels like a first because I don’t feel like I’ve had a win for a long time.”
“I knew today would be difficult, but I did everything I could, we were just lacking a little bit. At least it was a fun race, of course I would have liked to have won but realistically I think this was a good result. Lewis and I were fighting for position on multiple occasions, I think it was hard racing but good racing and that’s how it should be. I was hoping for a little bit more performance but this result is definitely the maximum we could do. Top speed wise it was tough to defend, you can clearly see when they take a fresh engine that it gives them a bit more power, so hopefully that will die down over the coming races. There are three races coming up that will be completely different again, so we’ll see how it goes.”
“The start today was quite tricky, it was a disappointing first lap but I tried my best. After that, the pace was good and from the cockpit, I thought we could have a chance of the one-stop, but we decided to do a two-stop. The team put me in a good place to take advantage of the VSC, and it fell my way for once, so I was happy with that. Overall, I’m glad we could score more points than Red Bull today – it was a positive result. Congratulations to Lewis, he had an amazing drive.”
“What a weekend from this team. We started the weekend on the backfoot with our self-inflicted engine penalty, we got disqualified yesterday which was harsh, and then today in the race, things went against us too. This team has always been together, but these decisions have brought us so close. It felt like everything was against us and I think that’s what Lewis has felt all his life and we now feel it together as a team and we’re going to fight – that is the emotion we’re feeling in the garage at the moment.
Yesterday Lewis produced one of the best drives we have ever seen. I don’t know how many overtakes there were across the weekend but Lewis was left, right, and over them. And today, his driving was immaculate. Max forced him off the road at Turn 4 and Lewis was very clever to avoid contact. It was great to see these amazing drivers but not giving a 5 second penalty? Come on!
Valtteri banked crucial points for the team today and his driving was top-class all weekend, a very strong podium for him today to follow his victory in the Sprint yesterday. This season keeps delivering and you can see how quickly the tides change – last weekend we went away beaten up in Mexico, this week we had the faster package. Red Bull could be very strong in Qatar next week and that is to be expected. May the stronger one win. Last weekend it was them, this weekend it was us – we’ll fight to the end.”
|2||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||71||+10.496s||18|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||71||+39.940s||13|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||70||+1 lap||6|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||70||+1 lap||4|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||70||+1 lap||2|
|10||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||70||+1 lap||0|
|17||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||69||+2 laps||0|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||69||+2 laps||0|
|NC||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||49||DNF||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||47||DNF||0|