Winners and Losers: Brazilian GP

Monday 25th November 2013

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Winners and Losers: Brazilian GP

Winners and Losers: Brazilian GP

Seb may have got a lot of records this season, but in the last race Max Chilton took one that he'll never have...

Star of the Race
Max Chilton, Marussia, 19th
There were a lot of records set in Brazil. Someone driving for the Red Bull team completed nine wins in a row - which was pretty special. They also equalled Michael Schumacher's record for 13 wins in a season, which was also special (should it have been 12, minus Malaysia? Please go to straight to the forum for your answer). But one record that Sebastian Vettel will NEVER get was achieved by Max Chilton. Seb will never finish all 19 races in his rookie season.

True, Max spent a lot of these poodling around the back of the race looking in his mirrors from about Lap 17 until the end of the race. But he didn't put it in the wall in Monaco, he didn't hurtle into the tyre barriers at Degner 2 in Japan and he didn't get involved in meaningless wheel-banging with Giedo van der Garde.

So, Max Chilton, we salute you. Brits love a game loser and driving a Marussia is a game loser, but you managed to battle through and show that even though you didn't have an Adrian Newey-designed car, or a competitive engine, you made it to the end of every GP. And smiled.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 2: Mark Webber on Lewis Hamilton for P4
It was essential that after a poor start Mark Webber didn't get stuck behind Lewis Hamilton and let Fernando Alonso escape down the road. Coming through Lake Descent before DRS had been enabled Mark took a wide line and then cut back on the inside out of Turn 4, which would turn into the outside of Turn 5. Lewis held his ground, but allowed enough room for Mark to get through and the Red Bull took it.

This kind of move emphasises the stark difference between the top drivers and the midfield, i.e. what happened with Vergne and Maldonado towards the end of the race in the Senna Esses - the good drivers leave each other room.

Webber had a strong last race, but with Vettel's love of record collection (and also what happened here in Brazil last year between the two of them) this was never going to be a win gifted to a departing team-mate. And most probably Mark wouldn't have wanted a hand-out. However he did get the fastest lap on his final F1 performance and history will be able to judge whether he was as unlucky to be partnered with Sebastian Vettel in his prime as he invariably was with his own car's reliability.

There was a tremendous level of affection on display at Interlagos as well as a tremendous display of bushwacker hats.

Winners
Ross Brawn, Mercedes Principal, 2nd
After three years of under-achievement, Ross Brawn finally delivered a team result worthy of the silver arrows name and investment. The team has signed one of F1's top three drivers and has a real prospect of delivering a World Championship with their new turbo engine in 2014. And Brawn won't be there. He's leaving the team after the season ends and won't be in charge next year. Instead it'll be Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe taking control. He asked for no announcement and no interviews during the Interlagos weekend, but the BBC say it will be confirmed in the next few days.

If he's not in F1 next year it will be the sport's loss. Can Luca Montezemolo lure him back to help Ferrari? Stefano Domenicali could do with a bit of assistance in what will be a make or break season for the Scuderia's relationship with Fernando Alonso (and hence Santander).

The Rotating Camera
Some great footage from the new rotating camera, for this race installed on Valtteri Bottas's Williams. It got a bit boring after Lap 47, though.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1stA poor start from Seb but he made amends on the first lap and made a DRS-type overtake without the need to stall the rear wing. Getting himself unlapped a couple of times in the race showed the degree of caution he was exerting. Rocky hardly had to reach for the tranquilisers once.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 3rd
Fernando said he would have been happy to hand his podium place over to Felipe, had the Brazilian been behind him, and you've got to believe it. Another hard fought race from Alonso. It will indeed be a complete travesty if he doesn't add another World Championship to his cv before he retires.

Jenson Button, McLaren, 4th
Sergio Perez, McLaren, 6th
He may have been gifted a couple of the places thanks to Hamilton's puncture and Massa's inability to take in an instruction, but even 6th from 14th on the grid would have been a great result for JB. This was like old school McLaren, proper McLaren, not 2013 'Earth Dreams' McLaren.

Perez put in an equally storming performance to move from 19th to 6th. Arguably this was the drive of the day, though Checo does like to live dangerously. He gave Adrian Sutil a gentle kiss on the tyres as he and Esteban breezed past the Force India. Old habits die hard.

F1's Driest Season Since 1987?
There was a stat being bandied around that this was F1's driest season since 1987. Whatever the veracity of that information it was typical that all the practice and qualifying should be run in the wet and when you really wanted it to howl down in the race, all we got was a few drops. In fact halfway through the race it looked like we were going to get a recreation of John Carpenter's The Fog with a mist rolling up the hill from the lake. But it was just mist. No pirates at all.

Losers
Ferrari, 3rd in the Constructors' Championship
Ferrari lost somewhere between $10m and $20m by finishing behind Mercedes in the teams' battle. There was a tantalising moment, on Lap 25 with Alonso running 2nd and Massa in 4th - and Lewis in 5th and Rosberg 7th - when they were just a single point behind Mercedes had the race finished at that moment. But then Webber overtook Alonso to move the points gap out to four. In truth, Hamilton would most likely have overtaken Massa had he not go his drive-through penalty. It was only a question of time.

Massa was livid at getting the penalty but the instruction not to cut the white line with all four wheels was pretty clear. Everyone else managed to avoid it, even though Massa believed he was the only one singled out for treatment.

Lewis Hamilton's subsequent drive-through penalty was far more contentious.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, DNF
From hero to zero, it's hard to know what Bottas thought he was doing trying to pass a car that was a lap in front of him. Especially going around the outside into Lake Descent, one of the trickiest of overtakes when you're racing for position, let alone when you have to be particularly mindful of the car in front. Backmarkers are supposed to get out of the way of cars in front, not take up positions on their racing line and prevent them battling for a podium.

Lewis Hamilton was pretty deflated after the race, but he put in a strong performance and helped Mercedes reach a target that many in the paddock thought they would struggle to achieve this year. Although Rosberg was further up the road when they crossed the line, it was Hamilton who looked the likely prospect for a podium.

Lotus
The fight for third place in the Constructors' Championship ended on Lap 3 in plumes of Total oil smoke. Grosjean was out after a weak start, and it was even worse for Heikki Kovalainen who was swamped on the opening lap and dropped from 11th to a miserable 18th. What's the betting the Quantum deal collapses this week? A former team boss who I spoke to this week, as we watched some VT of the Quantum spokesman being interviewed by Sky's Martin Brundle, shook his head and sighed. "We get people like that in the paddock all the time." was the gist of his unprintable remarks.

Mediawatch
We've dubbed Eddie Jordan 'The Bard of Bray' before now and yet again he went deep. He felt it necessary to remind us where we were in case all that rain had somehow made us question our existence. Asked why he thought Perez would end up at Force India next year he started off with: "Look, we're in the world at the moment."

Undeniable.

With all the money worries for Lotus and the flaky way the Quantum deal is being executed, DC's words were rich with irony. David Coulthard: "Eddie loves Rubens because he brought some money to the team and they actually paid it."

Andrew Davies

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