The Mercedes steam-roller continued to be the class act of this penultimate Grand Prix in Sao Paolo, with Rosberg taking a lights to flag untroubled victory, with team mate Hamilton second but a high pitched whine was noticeable coming from the driver’s seat. “You have to look at a different strategy for me,” Hamilton told his engineer. “I’m faster than him (Rosberg) but it’s impossible to overtake.”
Perhaps it was difficult to pass, but “impossible”? Someone should tell Verstappen (Red Bull) to stop passing people as it might reflect badly on the arrogant world champion.
However, before the race even started, there was controversy. FIA President Jean Todt, one of the more invisible FIA presidents, spoke with France’s Canal + television after being asked about the terrorist atrocities in Paris and snapped, “Do you realize the number of people killed in road accidents is by far bigger than the number of people who died in Paris?” Even the touted one minute of respectful silence was primarily for road accident victims. The insensitive Todt must have a very thick hide.
Also before the race started there were the usual bunch of grid penalties for anyone who changed an ailing engine or gearbox, with Ricciardo (Red Bull-slow Renault) and Alonso (McLaren-even slower Honda) both sent to the rear of the grid (do not pass go, do not collect 200).
Toro Rosso were also in trouble, with Sainz stopping on the way to the grid. Remember these are 30 million baht motor cars, so I feel better about any failures by my half a million baht Escort. The crew managed to get the car back to the pits and got it running, in time for Sainz to start the race from pit lane, only for the engine to lock up in about 100 meters.
The five red lights did go out and the two Mercedes took off as one, with Rosberg fending off the usual Hamilton aggression, and the rest of the field straggled behind. The two Ferrari’s of Vettel and Raikkonen, followed and stayed there for the rest of the race and were the only cars not lapped by Rosberg and Hamilton.
Bottas in the Williams finished in fourth, one lap down, and managed to go the entire 70 laps without hitting, or being hit, by his fellow countryman Raikkonen, while sixth after a sterling drive was Hulkenberg in the Force India. The force was with him, but not for his team mate Perez who came in 12th, complaining of an off-song engine.
Kvyat (Red Bull) was seventh in another excellent drive, but the eighth place was a problem. Massa in the other Williams thought he was eighth across the line, but his right rear tyre had been found to contravene FIA regulations before the start. The temperature was 137 degrees C, 27 above the permitted maximum, and at 20.6 psi the pressure was 0.1 too high. The penalty for this heinous crime was disqualification!
This elevated Grosjean in the “Lotus” to eighth, Verstappen to ninth and the last point to Maldonado in the other battle-scarred “Lotus”, who also received a five second penalty for helping Ericsson (Sauber) into the shrubbery. So causing an accident was worth five seconds, but changing a duff engine is a 10 grid place penalty. Who makes these rules in F1? Ridiculous.
So that was the Brazil GP. A predictable result of a mainly boring race.