Vettel Rebounds; Wins in Brazil
SAO PAULO, Brazil—R.I.S.—Despite even losing the driver’s championship to Lewis Hamilton weeks ago, Sebastian Vettel made it known to the fans on Sunday afternoon at the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit, that he can still win races, after the German won by 2.7 seconds over Valterri Bottas with his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen finishing in third.
“Initially, I had a very good getaway, and I thought I missed my chance, but I really had a chance to squeeze out the lead, which I had a chance and was pushing for the remaining 65 laps.” Said Vettel afterwards. “I was trying give everything to control the race, and for the guys in the team in Marenello, who had been working so hard. It had been a couple of hard weeks, but it was nice to get it today.”
Vettel took the lead right from the start, when he just squeezed by Bottas on the first turn, and continued to lead no more than two and a half seconds through the early part of the race. Vettel pitted for the first time in the race on lap 29, giving the lead to a surprising Hamilton, who had moved up the grid after starting from the pit lane. Vettel took the lead for good five laps later and managed to hold Bottas who was not only a threat, but also Raikkonen and Hamilton, who were closing in from both third and fourth positions.
But at the end, the standings stayed the same, as Vettel won just by 2.7 seconds over Bottas, and Raikkonen just edged a threatening Hamilton for the last podium spot.
With plenty of action at the front, there was also much more from the rest of the grid, especially at the first corner at the start of the race, when Stoffel Vandoorne was sandwiched in between the grid, which smashed his suspension. At that same moment, Esteban Ocon and Roamin Grosjean of the American Haas F1 Team, collided, putting Ocon out of the race for the first time in 27 appearances. Grosjean continued but was given a 10 second penalty for his actions. Grosjean’s teammate Kevin Magnussen, was also caught in the melee with other cars, and also retired. For the rest of the race, only Brendon Hartley was the only other retirement of the day with a terminal issue on his Toro Rosso on lap 43.
The two Red Bull entries of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth, respectively, with the latter taking the lap record of 1:11:044, which was held by Juan Pablo Montoya back in 2004. A huge battle for the next three positions, as Felipe Massa, competing in his last Brazilian Grand Prix, just edged out Fernando Alonso, and Sergio Perez for seventh, while Nico Hulkenberg took tenth and the last point position in his Renault.
For Vettel, it is a big weight off his back as he begins to realize what has happened and what needs to be done.
“I think for now it is a great relief and it has been a tough day, tough race.” Vettel said. “And the pace pretty much was the same and it was difficult to control the tires. I think it will take a while to have a great year and we will see what is coming.
BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
At the Interlagos Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Final Race Standings
1 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
2 Valterri Bottas (FIN) AMG Mercedes—2.7 seconds behind
3 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
4 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) AMG Mercedes
5 Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
6 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
7 Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams Martini Racing
8 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren-Honda
9 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
10 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
12 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
13 Markus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
14 Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber
15 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
16 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams Martini Racing
17Brendon Hartley(NZL) Toro Rosso-lap 43- terminal issue
18 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team—Lap 1- accident
19 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India—Lap 1- accident
20 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren- Honda- lap 1- accident
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.