8 things we learnt from the Brazilian Grand Prix

Recap the Brazilian Grand Prix with eight talking points from Interlagos.

With rain pouring throughout and the safety car regularly required, Lewis Hamilton finally conquered the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. But while he reduced Rosberg’s championship lead, it was Max Verstappen shining brightly as he stormed through the stormy field. A storm also brewed between Alonso and Vettel as the Spaniard claimed he’s ready “drive into” the Ferrari.  

1) Hamilton claims maiden Brazil Grand Prix win

After claiming only his second pole position in Sao Paulo, Lewis led from lights out to the chequered flag to win his first Brazilian Grand Prix. Taking the full 25-points in his tenth attempt at conquering the famous Formula One circuit.

Throughout the race, while the safety car was not leading the field, Lewis also built up strong margins over his rivals. Who at one point or rather lost control and left the track, something Lewis did not.

Lewis also became the first driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix without making a pitstop since Alain Prost at the 1993 German Grand Prix. The race Alain claimed his 51st victory at, and the amount Hamilton surpassed with his win on Sunday.

Following the flag, Hamilton then claimed the Brazilian Grand Prix had been a “very easy race”. Declaring: “[it was] probably one of the easier ones. I didn’t have any spins or moments, it was pretty straightforward.
“Silverstone 2008 was way harder than this.”

Max Verstappen on the Brazil GP podium. Copyright Red Bull Racing.

Max Verstappen on the Brazil GP podium. Copyright Red Bull Racing.

2) Verstappen receives Senna and Schumacher comparisons

From the off in Brazil, Verstappen was adopting different lines to the cars around him as he picked off Raikkonen and Rosberg early on. Making one of the highlights of the race, as well, as he saved his Red Bull from a certain race ending crash when he lost control at the top of the hill.

Though it wasn’t his save that warranted the high praise. Rather it was from his storming drive through the field after a late stop demoted Max to 16th place.

Prior to his spin and pit stop, Verstappen had been running comfortably in second place. But rather than settle for second, Max and Red Bull gambled on the intermediate tyres. However, heavier rain brought their gamble to an end, with Verstappen forced to stop under the safety car for the full wet tyres with the final sector too wet for the intermediate tyres to work.

Coming out of the pits in 16th place, Verstappen had just 12 laps to recover the lost places to earn any points. But after 11-laps, Verstappen was back in a podium place as he slid his way past Perez.

“Well they don’t get much better than that,” expressed Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, later told motorsport.com.
“I think what we witnessed today was something very special.
“I think it’s right up there [with Senna at Monaco in 1984 or Schumacher in Spain 1996]. You have to compare it to those great moments.
“You don’t often witness a motor race like that and I think what we saw today was something very, very special.”

One of the packed Brazilian Grand Prix grandstands. Copyright Force India.

One of the packed Brazilian Grand Prix grandstands. Copyright Force India.

3) Rain and red flags make the crowd boo

Initially, the start of the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix was delayed by 10 minutes as race control hoped for conditions to improve. However, as this was not the case, the race began behind the safety car.

Then when Raikkonen crashed out just 10-seconds into a restart, the safety car was straight back out as the first red flag brought the race to a halt.

Unfortunately, though, just eight laps further into the race, the red flag was then thrown back out despite some drivers calling for the race to get going. Drawing boos from the crowd as the passionate Brazilian’s sought the racing action they paid for.

Yet, although some drivers’ were calling for the safety car to depart and leave them to race, race control opted to stop the race as the forecast predicted better conditions were on the horizon. Something they felt would be better for the fans.

And in the end, their bold call to stop the clock and wait turned out to be the right call. With the race going the distance, drivers still tested by conditions and the talented drivers like Verstappen could show their craft.

4) Sebastian Vettel angers Alonso

When the current Ferrari driver came to pass the team’s former star, Vettel took to the inside of turn 11 in his bid to get by.

His move, though, resulted in forcing Alonso’s off track and onto the asphalt run-off. Leading to Fernando issuing a warning to Vettel, threatening to teach him a lesson.

“There was an asphalt run-off and I used it and nothing happened,” said Alonso.
“But if there’s a wall there, I either drive into the wall or into him, which is what I will probably do next time.
“I’ll crash into him and he will lose more points than me.”

Felipe Massa walks back to the pits with tears in his eyes after retiring from the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Copyright Williams Racing.

Felipe Massa walks back to the pits with tears in his eyes after retiring from the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Copyright Williams Racing.

5) Pit lane and crowd stand to applaud out-going Massa

When Felipe Massa crashed out of what has felt to him like his final Grand Prix, the grandstand rose to their feet to applaud the Brazilian.

In return, Massa stood proudly in the pit entry with a Brazilian flagged draped across his shoulders and tears in his eyes.

The pit lane being closed allowed for Massa to do so. And when he strolled back into the pits, opposing team mechanic’s welcomed him with a guard of honour.

6) Nasr claims Sauber’s first points of the season

It could have been Sauber’s first ever Formula One campaign without a single point scoring finish. Leaving them rock bottom of the constructors’ championship after Wehrlein secured Manor’s second ever points finish back at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix.

But this weekend gone in Brazil, drivers falling out the race and Nasr staying out when others pitted saw the Brazilian bring home his car in ninth. A vital two points for Sauber.

The two points mean the Swiss team now moves ahead of Manor in the standings, a single place that can be worth approximately $30million in prize money.

7) Grosjean calls for better wet weather tyres

“Honestly, I don’t know what happened,” expressed Grosjean when the Frenchman spun into the barrier on his lap to the grid. Taking him out of the race half hour before it even began.

“I saw two other cars having the same issue,” continued Romain, “So we need to improve the wet tyres.
“In my case I was not even pushing.
“It shows that the extreme [wet weather] tyre is a very poor tyre and there is no grip. You have to take a huge amount of risk, you can’t control the car in a straight line.
“We had a good starting position but I was just doing laps to the grid, going uphill and not even flat out. I picked up a lot of wheelspin on the rear tyres and just spun the car.
“It was an on/off switch, there was nothing I could control.”


Nico Rosberg during the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

8) Podium required for Rosberg’s first title

While Hamilton won his first Brazilian Grand Prix to reduce his team-mate’s championship lead to 12-points from 19, a podium in Abu Dhabi is now all Rosberg requires to take his first Formula One crown.

A win in Brazil would have sufficed for the German to be crowned champion with a race to spare. But Nico was unable to take the fight to Hamilton over the course of the 71-laps.

Should Rosberg now, though, finish in any of the three podium places in the season finale, he will be crowned champion. With the 15-points from third, added to his 12-point lead, totalling 27-points. Two greater than the maximum Lewis would capable of scoring.