How angry the two-time world champion was before the race in Interlagos after rumors spread in Spain that he would replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull. How happy he was to have been in the green car after his third place. After a long defensive battle, Perez initially passed the Aston Martin on the penultimate lap, but Alonso is not one to give up. He had waited too long for his racing car to make a comeback; he was last on the podium at the beginning of September.
On the very last lap, the 42-year-old industry senior realized that Perez was braking a little too late in turn four: “Now I have to try it,” he said to himself. In a typically unconventional maneuver, he tried to go around the outside – and was over. Masterfully, and with further consequences: “This gives us all new energy.” Teammate Lance Stroll also achieved a small victory by his standards with fifth place.
The unfortunate fourth-place finisher from Sao Paulo looked pretty happy. A week after his crash at the start of the home race in Mexico, the second man, who came from ninth on the grid, made amends with Red Bull Racing. The duel in the last quarter of the race with Fernando Alonso showed the world what a good driver the 33-year-old, who had fallen into crisis, is. This time the wheel-to-wheel duel with Fernando Alonso didn’t seem desperate and it dragged on until the finish line. 0.053 seconds behind, the camera image of the photo finish was due, just like in horse racing.
He later hugged his great opponent Alonso and added that such duels cannot happen with every driver in the field. Perez now has a whopping 32 points lead over his rival for the runner-up title, Lewis Hamilton. The man they call “Checo” had already received support from team boss Christian Horner, who made it clear in Interlagos: “It is absolutely clear that he will drive for us next year.” This clarity supposedly includes an exit clause if he doesn’t perform as well as he did in the 20th World Cup round.
Victory number 17 in race number 20, the 52nd of his career. Numbers explain Max Verstappen’s continued dominance better than words. The magician of Formula 1 loves the solitude at the top, and likes to face a few attempts at attack from different opponents, which he then charmingly brushes off. There are still two big goals that the Dutchman has in his sights in the remaining two World Cup rounds. On the one hand, the victory rate of Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari, which was an incredible 75 percent in the 1952 season. On the other hand, Sebastian Vettel’s 53 victories, which would mean third place in the all-time list of the premier class. It took the Heppenheimer twelve Formula 1 years to do this, Verstappen could do it in nine.
The lips of Frederic Vasseur, the Ferrari team boss, silently formulated the one-word statement for the Scuderia. The Frenchman uttered the easy-to-read “Merde” before the race had even started – but Charles Leclerc had already landed in the safety barriers. A complete breakdown on the formation lap is quite a shame. The Monegasque behind the wheel was powerless – first the electronics, then the hydraulics had failed him.
The position next to Max Verstappen on the front row remained vacant, there was no swearing over the pit radio, only resignation could be heard: “How can you have so much bad luck?” After his botched start, colleague Carlos Sainz, who was still in the race, sent instructions that it was best to dispose of the clutch on his car after the season. The Spaniard ended up sixth, Ferrari only gained two points on Mercedes in the duel for second place in the constructors’ championship – it could easily have been ten times as much.
Of the 24 race tracks on which Formula 1’s mammoth season will take place next season, only a third deserve the rating “has character”. The Autodromo Carlos Pace is one of them; Lewis Hamilton describes the short, undulating track at Interlagos as “iconic”, precisely because it is so unpredictable. Despite structural defects, it will remain on the racing calendar until 2030; this weekend the contract was extended early by five years.
A race can be boring except at the start and shortly before the finish, with no Brazilians there and the car of adopted favorite Lewis Hamilton out of shape – the 90,000 spectators celebrate as if their idol Ayrton Senna had just won. They storm the track faster than the Tifosi in Monza, unfortunately some of them are a little too fast. Because there were already fans on the slopes when a few cars rolled towards the pits, the organizer was threatened with a penalty. The race stewards reported the incident to the World Council of the Automobile Sports Authority FIA.
Slow on the straights, sliding in the corners. Lewis Hamilton could just as easily have said after his eighth place in Sao Paulo: The car is a total failure. Team boss Toto Wolff, who was visibly shocked by the crash, found the appropriate words. Max Verstappen’s first challenger a week ago, now a victim in midfield: “This is inexcusable. I’m sorry for the two drivers,” explained Wolff. George Russell had to roll into the garage early, which didn’t improve his mood. Coincidence that the separation of Mike Elliott, the Chief Technical Officer, was announced this week of all days? Wolff formulates drastically what to think of his racing car: “This car doesn’t deserve a win.”
No one has come as close to Max Verstappen as the Brit in a long time. When the race restarted, the McLaren driver wanted revenge for losing the top position in the sprint, and he came out pretty well. Side by side up the start straight, almost level, then attacking down through the corner combinations. The wild chase went on like this for a few laps, then the warning came from the pits.
Norris would have ruined his tires and would never have crossed the finish line in second place, with a comparatively small gap of eight seconds for this season. The 23-year-old was therefore happy to have been whistled back: “Second place is what we can achieve at the moment. But I’m happy that we’re constantly fighting for podium places.” Second four times in the last six races, the late bloomer of the racing year.