In case you unfortunately missed it, the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix took place over this past weekend, and its events are the talk of the town! There was undoubtably no shortage of entertainment, as George Russell snatched his maiden win for Mercedes, and of course, there were many tensions on and off the track. Max Verstappen sure does have some explaining to do…
Lights out and away we go at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix! The Interlagos circuit is a popular track for F1 fans, as it consistently delivers an exhilarating race and great opportunities for overtaking. The weekend was indeed nothing short of exhilarating, beginning with a Haas driver taking pole after Friday’s qualifying. Yes, you heard that right, Kevin Magnussen was the fastest car In Q3 and begun the sprint race on pole! Such an unexpected result delighted F1 fans tremendously, but especially livened up the Haas crew, managing to actually put a smile on Gunther Steiner’s face – what a sight that was.
However, it was particularly obvious that the least-sustaining car on the grid would never be able to maintain pole position for the 24 laps of the sprint race, especially with the powerhouse cars of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari close behind. Magnussen quickly dropped back in the pack, but successfully managed to lead 1 full lap of the Grand Prix, a special achievement for the team indeed. Although it seems that Verstappen inevitably wins everything and anything nowadays, the sprint race was surprisingly won by George Russell of Mercedes. Russell is a rookie for the team this year, and even though he has adjusted to the team dynamics well enough, he is still expected to prove himself and his abilities. An additional layer of pressure is added onto the driver, as his teammate is a 7-time world champion and has accomplished major notable success in the sport. However largely intimidating, George powered on and began Sunday’s race charging onwards in front. Things looked optimistic for Russell, but soon after lap 1 commenced, trouble quickly arose for several other drivers.
Initially, all seemed well, until the camera panned to an incident involving McLaren’s Riccardo and Haas’s Magnussen. A collision occurring so early on is not something we often see, but it definitely sets the tone for the rest of race, and evidently it did. Six short laps later, and low and behold, our two favourite nemesis’ found opportunity to collide. Verstappen and Hamilton have fought numerous times out on track, so such an incident is not viewed as shocking. It did however hinder both of their race starts, dropping them far down the pack.
If you think these incidents were the end of it, you’re sadly mistaken, as shortly after another mishap took place. Norris (the birthday boy) and Leclerc made contact, heavily impacting Leclerc’s race position and dropping him to 17th place. Norris was identified to be in fault, and would have to serve a 5-second penalty during the race. Verstappen was additionally charged with the same penalty for his collision with Hamilton, although some believe this to be an unfair call. As if Norris’ birthday couldn’t be less enjoyable, his engine lost power further along into the race, forcing him to retire his car and return to the pits for good. It’s safe to assume the birthday celebrations weren’t particularly festive that evening…
The main spectacle of this race however, and definitely the most conversed about, is the radio message between Verstappen and his engineer. In usual teamwork fashion, the engineers will alert a driver if they are ordered to move aside for their team to score maximum points. Max was asked to do so for his teammate Perez, but instead of usual obedience, Verstappen replied, “I told you already last summer, guys. Don’t ask that again to me, okay? Are we clear about that? I gave my reasons and I stand by it.” There has been much spectacle as to why Verstappen would deny team orders, especially in regards to the amount of help and support Perez has given him during races in the past. Due to Verstappen’s refusal to move aside, Perez was deprived of vital points that could have assisted him in securing second place in the Drivers’ Championship against Leclerc. As it stands, both drivers are currently at 290 points, and the events of the Abu Dubai Grand Prix this weekend will determine who takes that win.
Although there was evident disappointment this weekend for teams like Redbull, McLaren and Ferrari, one team had an extremely positive Sunday. Mercedes finished the Grand Prix with a whopping 1-2 finish, securing Russell with his first Grand Prix win! There was no shortage of tears for George, and perhaps even for team principle, Toto Wolff. Could this potentially mean a Mercedes revival after such a discouraging year? Only time will tell, as we head into our last race of the season. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brings an abundance of excitement, and spares no expense to provide a thrilling weekend for viewers. You won’t want to miss it!
Image: James Pere from Unsplash