F1 Managing Director Ross Brawn will look into safety car re-starts after Brazil GP craziness as he praises Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon while also talks about Ferrari collision.
The crazy F1 Brazil GP at Interlagos lighted a dead-rubber after both the championships were sealed by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton respectively. It started off nicely and went slightly dull in between before getting back up to speed with multiple DNFs.
It all started with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas’ retirement which needed a safety car as FIA race director Michael Masi explained that the crane on track made it an obvious choice. The re-start then caught out Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
There was more to come as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Albon had a small touch, which sealed an un-imaginable podium with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso’s Gasly and McLaren’s Sainz – the latter, though, couldn’t get to celebrate.
The safety car periods worked perfectly to ignite some fights which Brawn thinks can be useful in future F1 races. “Verstappen was particularly strong at the second re-start, when he slowed the field right down with the aim of ensuring no one would be able to slipstream past him and snatch victory,” wrote Brawn in his usual post-race column.
“It was an exciting and fascinating re-start which will be analysed very carefully, as the closeness of the pack in the seconds leading up the green flags resulted in a thrilling spectacle as drivers jockeyed for position and where the slightest advantage proved decisive. Examining the possibility of procedurally recreating those conditions in future is an interesting concept and one that will undoubtedly be explored in the coming period.”
While he had good words for Verstappen, Brawn chimed in for the likes of Gasly, Albon and Sainz as well – where two of them managed to soak in the glory of their maiden F1 podium finish, one was close to get his first but ended up on the wrong side.
“Gasly made the most of the fact that most the top three teams’ drivers were out of the running, but in the race and indeed in qualifying, he has always been in the right place at the right time. It’s a great shot in the arm for Pierre, at the end of what’s been a rollercoaster year.
“His return to Toro Rosso was viewed as a step backwards for the 2016 GP2 champion, but he wasn’t fazed by the switch, and since his return he has put in some impressive performances to pick up enough points to possibly take sixth place in the Drivers’ championship. Sunday’s result was a rewarding vindication of his resilience and talent.”
“Carlos Sainz missed out on his first champagne moment in F1, but later on he and the entire McLaren team stood on the podium to celebrate his third place in style. It was a hugely impressive race from Carlos and the fact that he had some help from safety cars, retirements and accidents, can take nothing away from what was a bravura performance.
“He started from last on the grid and then went on to be the only driver to go the distance making just one pit stop, and without resorting to the hardest Pirelli compound. He attacked in the early stages and then defended to the last and delivered a faultless performance from start to finish.
“He had a particularly exciting tussle with Kimi Raikkonen over the last few laps, with the Finn on quicker tyres that were also 20-laps newer than the Spaniard’s. Third place is a deserved reward for the driver and team that has been best of the rest all year. In fact, the 19 points it picked up on Sunday assures it of fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the target McLaren set itself at the start of the season.”
“The saddest man in the post race interviews was undoubtedly Alex Albon, who must have thought his first podium finish was within his grasp until there were just 10 kilometres to go to the chequered flag. A top-three finish looked on the cards after a great race in which he overtook Vettel with an impressive move before grittily fending off the Ferrari man’s attempts to reclaim the position.
“But his hopes of trophy were shattered as a result of the coming together with Hamilton. I can understand his disappointment but he shouldn’t dwell on it because he’s had a really good year. He was definitely the least fancied rookie this season, but he has secured his place in the sun and deserves to stay with Red Bull, having performed very consistently.”
Moving on to Ferrari, with his experience of handling a F1 team, Brawn feels the happenings in Brazil GP will only make things a bit difficult in the future for them and the right course would be for one of the drivers’ to take blame and move forward.
“It’s never nice when team-mates knock one another out of a race, even more so when it’s not even a particularly important result that goes begging, as in this case, third place in Brazil was the most they could aspire to,” wrote Brawn.
“After tensions flared in the races following the summer break, everything seemed to have calmed down in the Ferrari dressing room. But now, Mattia Binotto faces the tough task of getting things back on track and indeed he said just that in his interviews after the race.
“He had to get stuck in and tell the drivers to face up to their responsibilities, which in Maranello always means putting the interests of the team ahead of those of the individual, which was not the case in yesterday’s race.
“I wouldn’t want to venture an opinion on who was most at fault for the collision, but in the cold light of day, maybe it would be good if one of them will follow Hamilton’s example and immediately admit culpability, as the champion did regarding his clash with Albon.
“If Ferrari really wants to put an end to Mercedes’ dominance, not only does it need to provide its drivers with a more competitive car next year, it must also ensure that incidents like this one are not repeated. Formula 1 is a team sport, especially so in Maranello.”
Here’s what happened to Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari drivers
Carlos Sainz gets promoted to podium after being cleared of DRS issue
Ferrari drivers and Mattia Binotto react to the incident
Pierre Gasly enjoyed the brief tussle against Lewis Hamilton in Brazil
Alfa Romeo drivers react to a fruitful Brazil GP