Mercedes Dominant in Brazil
The Brazilian GP this year had somewhat of a low key feel in the pit lane in stark contrast to the colour and vibrant party atmosphere in the crowd at the iconic Interlagos circuit.
Following their financial problems and the eventual exit of Caterham and Marussia from the rest of the F1 season and possibly longer, a reduced field of eighteen cars once more pulled up to the grid to start the race on Sunday.
Amid rumour and speculation about the future including the real possibility of Red Bull and Ferrari each running a third car to make up the numbers next season, F1 continues to confound its critics and to keep excitement levels at fever pitch.
Qualifying was an intense session with the Mercedes cars battling for pole. It was a tight contest, both cars coming within a few tenths of each other, but Rosberg eventually won out and took pole position from his British teammate.
It was the eleventh Mercedes front-row lock out of the season, equalling Red Bull’s record, and Rosberg’s tenth pole of the season which won him the inaugural FIA Pole Trophy. Behind the Mercedes came Felipe Massa inspired in his Williams, looking dangerous as ever in front of his fanatical home support.
The track had been resurfaced for the race and though Pirelli had initially considered bringing the harder-compound tyres, the race organisers advised them to switch to the soft and medium compound for the newly smooth track.
This change meant that some cars were looking at four- or five-stop strategies to cope with the heat on the softer tyres and opened the race up a lot in the top ten.
Drivers Racing for their 2015 Seats
With the focus now looking towards next season and the driver changes about to occur, it was a furious race with a lot of wheel-to-wheel action from every competitor desperate to prove their worth and keep their place in the sport.
Rosberg pulled away into first place and led the field with Hamilton nipping at his heels, and this was to be the case for the majority of the race laps; Rosberg keeping a steady pace and controlling the charging bull that was the Brit behind him.
Jensen Button has been the subject of debate recently as he will possibly lose his place at McLaren to Fernando Alonso next season; his performance this week, though, showed how much class the older driver has.
In a car which has been underperforming in recent years, he still managed to pull fourth place out of the bag on one of his favourite circuits, coming in just behind Felipe Massa and beating out the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel and the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, showing real skill and precision with his overtaking manoeuvres.
Under pressure, Gentleman Jensen pulled out a superb performance and proved how much he deserves a seat next year.
However, Ricciardo suffered problems with his front right braking and had to retire mid-race which ended the Australian’s run of points – it had been the most races in a row any driver had had this season finishing in the points, but unfortunately it was cut short for him.Red Bull had a mixed bag of results – Vettel came in fifth which was a great result, pulling ahead of Kimi Raikkonen on the back of Button’s overtake.
Raikkonen also managed to finish ahead of Alonso this race, a very unusual occurrence, particularly since Alonso seemed to have more pace and could have moved ahead to challenge Vettel.
The call from the Ferrari garage for Raikkonen to stay ahead and race Alonso instead of letting him past was a strange one from a team perspective, but could be seen as support for the driver who will be racing with them next season.
Hamilton Spins into Second
Up front, Hamilton had one opportunity to overtake his teammate in the pits when Rosberg went in for his second stop, but was pushing the car too hard on the soft compound tyres and lost control, spinning off the track and costing himself 7 seconds.
This mistake cost him the race, as it turned out; once Rosberg was back out on the track, Hamilton could not make up the time to catch his teammate and ended up coming in second place behind the German.
This, of course, reduces the gap to 17 points between them in the Drivers’ Championship and leaves it all to play for in Abu Dhabi; if Rosberg wins, due to the double points Hamilton must come second in order to secure the title.
Be sure you don’t miss the grand finale of the 2014 Formula One season on November 23rd.