THE RED BULLS IN THE THICK OF THE ACTION
Rosberg again beat Hamilton to the chequered flag with Vettel in third place. The RB11s met with mixed fortunes with Kvyat in seventh place and Ricciardo eleventh. Grosjean came home eighth.
A new order at Mercedes
The Mercedes scored another double, their eleventh of the season, with Nico Rosberg leading home Lewis Hamilton as in Mexico two weeks ago. The German, who gives the impression that since he lost the title something has been liberated in him, set his fifth pole on the bounce and led the race in masterly fashion from start to finish apart from refuelling stops. Hamilton put his team-mate under intense pressure in the first stint of the race, but he was never in a position to mount an attack and a very disgruntled British driver saw the flag in second place. Rosberg’s victory guaranteed him the runner-up spot in the F1 world championship before the last race of the season, as he has 31 points in hand over Sebastian Vettel putting him outside the reach of his fellow-countryman. After its Mexican disaster Ferrari resumed its role of nearest challenger to the Mercedes, and the red cars from Maranello were the only other runners to finish on the same lap as the leader with Vettel over 30 seconds in front of Kimi Raïkkönen, whose race strategy was odd to say the least. None of the other cars could match the pace of these four; not even the Williams as Valterri Bottas finished fifth a lap behind the winner.
Hard-charging Red Bulls
Daniel Ricciardo had the new updated Renault engine, but didn’t find much of a performance gain; and in addition he had to start from the last row due to a 10-place penalty. So it was up to Daniil Kvyat to lead the Red Bulls’ charge in a tightly-packed field (behind the Mercedes).
Throughout the race the Russian was locked in battle with a reinvigorated Nico Hulkenberg to whom he had to give way in the closing laps crossing the line in seventh place. On the other hand, Ricciardo’s gamble – first tyre change on lap 3 – didn’t pay off, and the Australian finished eleventh just outside the points after Massa had been excluded because his tyre pressure was too high before the start. Romain Grosjean shone on the Interlagos circuit in a Lotus that never missed a beat and the Frenchman pulled off some spectacular overtaking moves. He came home eighth in front of Max Verstappen who racked up his sixth consecutive points-scoring finish, a record for a Toro Rosso driver!
Christian Horner (Infiniti red Bull Racing):
“We knew this was going to be a difficult track for us and we were proved right this afternoon, even though the team and the drivers did their utmost to bring home the best possible result. Overtaking is very difficult here and we couldn’t match the pace of the quickest cars down the straight: we clearly weren’t alone in this as only four cars finished on the lead lap.”
Next round: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Yas Marina – 29 November 2015)