Another great race served up by Interlagos, which will doubtless seem even better when compared to the snore fest we’re in for in Abu-Dhabi.
Roll on next season when Brazil is rightfully restored to last place in the Grand Prix calendar. Australia first, Brazil last – a place for everything and everything in its place. It just doesn’t seem like F1 otherwise.
- Qualifying: Vettel (2nd) Webber (3rd)
- Race: Vettel (1st) Webber (2nd)
After the disappointment of Korea for the Red Bull team, they bounced back with a vengeance in Brazil, taking the Constructors’ title for good measure. It’s all in a day’s work, after all.
Even though they were beaten in qualifying by Hulkenberg’s Williams, with a dry race on Sunday they were always overwhelming favourites to surge past the young German and make hay while the sun shone. In the event, that’s exactly what they did.
Vettel was marginally faster than Webber all weekend, but it was very close. If the traffic had worked out slightly better for the veteran Australian then it could very well have been a different story. Especially after the gift of the safety car, Webber wasn’t able to get anywhere near close enough to challenge.
That said, he’s still the closest Red Bull to Alonso in the Ferrari so, if it all starts going off in Abu Dhabi, expect some “interesting” conversations to take place between the team and Vettel.
Although Red Bull are going solidly with the line that they’re letting their drivers race, we think that has more to do with the fact that being “fair” works out better for Vettel at the moment. Idealism doesn’t come into it.
Badger’s best: Vettel
- Qualifying: Alonso (5th) Massa (9th)
- Race: Alonso (3rd) Massa (15th)
Nothing spectacular from Alonso, just what you’d expect from a double and possibly soon to be triple World Champion.
He put enough pressure on Hamilton to force the McLaren driver into a mistake and was patient enough to get past a resilient Hulkenberg.
From then on it was a drive to the finish and job very much done. He’s in, if you’ll forgive our lack of imagination, pole position for the title.
It’s a position he should never, realistically, have been in with a shout of, let alone leading going into the last race. It’s a spectacular job from both the team and Alonso and the title would be very richly deserved.
On the other side of the garage, Massa had a bit of a mare at his home Grand Prix. Ninth in qualifying and then a catalogue of problems during the race. From a wobbly tyre after his pit stop to a clash with Buemi while trying to overtake him, he really didn’t have a good time of it. We have a feeling that he’ll be happy to see the back of this season.
Badger’s best: Alonso
- Qualifying: Hamilton (4th) Button (11th)
- Race: Hamilton (4th) Button (5th)
Another disappointing weekend for McLaren. We’ve heard over and over again that they’re pushing hard and fighting to catch up, but they simply haven’t been quick enough over the last few races to have any meaningful impact on the title race.
Yes, Hamilton is still (just about) in with a shout, but only just. Button has now (officially) slipped out of the reckoning, a fact we’re sure he’s less bothered about than he might have been after his “incident” with some gunman, a fast getaway driver and a lot of luck.
All in all, it’s not been a classic season for McLaren, although they do seem to have come up with some brave, interesting and mostly effective strategy decisions. Whether that’s been down to having to manage around an underperforming car isn’t clear, but it’s certainly a welcome change from the standard McLaren strategies of the past.
This weekend, the strategy choice didn’t really work out, but it was definitely worth a shot. Bringing in the cars while the safety car was on track without losing position and putting on new tyres meant fresher boots but being stuck behind a whole load of backmarkers all squabbling amongst themselves.
Badger’s best: Hamilton.
- Qualifying: Schumacher (8th) Rosberg (13th)
- Race: Rosberg (6th) Schumacher (7th)
Another solid but unspectacular performance from the Mercedes team.
After Rosberg’s 13th place in qualifying he, in particular, did well to get up to sixth. Schumacher wasn’t quite as successful as his team mate and (how many times have we said that this season?) got stuck behind Adrian Sutil. This meant, later in the race and with Rosberg on fresh tyres, Schumacher moved aside to let his younger and faster team mate past. What a nice chap.
More broadly, Mercedes are safely ensconced in fourth place in the Constructors’ championship, so there’s not much left to play for this season.
Next year’s car will be a big indication of how far Mercedes’ ambitions in F1 stretch. With the Honda budget, the team were able to churn out a championship winning car. With the Brawn budget, they churned out a middling car. Now with the, presumably larger, Mercedes budget, let’s see what they manage to do.
It’ll probably have a lot to do with how Schumacher’s return is judged as well. Ross Brawn, Merlin to Schumacher’s Arthur (too much?) needs to magic up something for him yet again.
Badger’s best: Rosberg.
Driver graphics courtesy of Unlap.co.uk