Wow, what a race! The Brazilian Grand Prix was a very stop-start affair which was frustrating at times but when things finally got underway we were treated to some incredible racing and moments we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Sighting lap nutcase
The chaos started before the race even began. Everyone knew the track was wet but Grosjean was powerless to stop his car from aquaplaning on the way to the grid and he ended his weekend in the wall, his stunning qualifying effort counting for nothing.
Verstappen makes the early move
After a 10 minute delay and a few laps behind the safety car at the start, green flag action finally got underway. It didn’t take long for Verstappen to find his feet as he surged past Raikkonen into turn one, judging the grip perfectly. Little did we know there was more of this to come.
Ericsson crashes out
Things were going fairly well for a while, and quite a few drivers began making the switch to intermediates. Vettel had a terrifying spin at the top of the hill but rejoined, but the safety car was brought out again when Marcus Ericsson had a big crash in his Sauber.
The race gets stopped…twice
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 13, 2016
After the debris was cleared away the safety car came back in only to be deployed again as Raikkonen lost control and speared into the wall across the start finish line. Luckily everyone avoided him but the decision was taken to red flag the race, both to clean up the debris and to allow for conditions to improve.
The cars went back out onto the circuit and many drivers felt conditions were OK enough to go racing in, but remarkably race control decided to red flag the race for a second time. The crowd weren’t happy and let out a chorus of booing. Perhaps with memories of Jules Bianchi’s accident on their mind, the cautious approach was the right one.
Verstappen passes Rosberg
— WTF1 (@wtf1couk) November 13, 2016
The race eventually got back underway in similar conditions. Verstappen showed the same brand of measured aggression he had at the first start, this time sliding ahead of Rosberg with a beautifully judged overtake. Clearly Toto’s phonecall fell on deaf ears.
Save of the century
— Eric Korver (@TheKurf) November 13, 2016
Verstappen set about trying to catch race leader Hamilton but almost undid all his good work with this enormous moment at the top of the hill. Somehow he kept it out of the wall and stayed in second place.
A scary moment for Rosberg
— MrAlexF1 (@MrAlexF1) November 13, 2016
Just a few laps after Verstappen had his moment there was drama as Rosberg’s championship aspirations flashed before his eyes when he had a huge slide coming out of Juncao. He lost a lot of time but luckily managed to gather it all up without losing a position. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls threatened to shake up the complexion of the race after pitting for intermediate tyres.
Tears, tears everywhere
Thousands of Brazilian hearts sank when Massa lost control of his Williams on lap 48 and crashed out of his final home Grand Prix. The safety car came out again to clear up the debris while Massa walked back to the pits.
Draped in a Brazilian flag and waving to the crowd, the emotion of the situation got to him and he started crying. Then he got a guard of honour from other teams, his wife and son rushed to give him a hug and he started crying again. Everyone was crying. It was one of the most beautiful and most human moments we’ve ever seen in F1.
We’ll miss you Felipe.
There’s no Ver-stopping him!
During the safety car period the track had got wetter and the Red Bulls had to pit to put full wet tyres back on, dropping them right down the order. Verstappen was as low as 16th at one point, but fought back magnificently over the last 15 laps to finish 3rd with a series of fantastic overtakes. His passes were clean and decisive, and he seemed able to find grip where no one else could.
Although he’s already had a fair few brilliant drives in his short career, this will surely go down as one of the greatest drives in recent times.
Great drives all round
— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) November 13, 2016
Although Verstappen’s virtuoso performance somewhat overshadowed…well, everything, plenty of drivers can go home happy. Hamilton’s commanding victory was flawless, while Rosberg continues to do everything he needs to win his first championship. Perez and Sainz drove superbly, while Hulkenberg was unlucky not to be fighting for the podium after suffering a puncture in the aftermath of Raikkonen’s accident.
Esteban Ocon showed why he’s such hot property in F1 spending much of the race fighting in the points, while Felipe Nasr scored perhaps the most important two points in Sauber’s history. And Fernando Alonso recovered from a late spin to finish 10th with a Verstappen-like drive, proving he still has the talent in all conditions (as if he needed to!)
So, was the Brazilian GP worth the wait? Absolutely!