2016 Brazil Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Yes, safety is a priority. Yes, perhaps the lawsuit from Jules Bianchi's family played a factor. But, there was way too much caution showed in the decision making for this race.
EVENT: The fans came to bid Felipe Massa farewell. They did, but not the way they expected. And, they may remember this race more for a Dutchman than a fellow countryman.
TRACK: Quite dicey in the last sector in the rain, wouldn't you say?
QUALIFYING: A focused Hamilton does it again, Grosjean is fast, Massa disappoints in his last home GP, and Sauber has now fallen below Manor.
START: Which one?
RACE: When it finally got started in earnest, it was a whole heck of a lot of fun to watch.
HAMILTON: Lost in all the accolades and excitement over Max Verstappen's drive was the brilliant drive put in by Lewis. Always completely under control and the ability to pull away from the field whenever he needed to. A drive of a champion.
ROSBERG: Nico hasn't done well in the rain before, and he nearly threw it and the championship away. But, once again, he did what he needed to do, and now has just one more clean race to claim that elusive title.
WOLFF: Toto's call to Jos Verstappen was much ado about nothing (essentially the motto for F1. He wasn't asking for Max not to pass his drivers or to not race them. He was merely mentioning, please be careful and don't take anyone out, a common request from the championship leaders at the end of the season. But of course, everyone, especially Christian "Mr. Hyperbole" Horner had to blow the whole thing out of proportion.
VERSTAPPEN: Incredible car control. Just incredible. He certainly deserved the drive of the race this time. Perhaps the drive of the year.
RICCIARDO: Daniel did the rain dance. It didn't help him. His teammate took advantage of it instead.
RED BULL: Terrible strategy. Just terrible. They threw second place away.
PEREZ: Sergio was licking his chops figuring on that podium ... then, along came some guy named Max Verstappen...
HULKENBERG: Back to finishing behind his teammate.
SAINZ: An excellent race by Carlos.
KVYAT: Not so much for Daniil.
VETTEL: Cried again. This time for getting passed.
RAIKKONEN: A pinball.
NASR: The heir apparent to the Brazilian legacy in F1. Thus, it's appropriate Felipe scored his first points for 2016 at his home GP.
SAUBER: It took a mess of a race to finally get their points this year. Not exactly something to be proud of.
MANOR: While Manor sees their tens of millions of dollars in prize money literally get washed away in the rain.
ALONSO: Fernando salvaged a point for McLaren.
BUTTON: While Jenson was just miserable.
DENNIS: Looks like Ron really is fighting for his corporate life.
MASSA: If you have to exit a race, Felipe sure "picked" the right way to do it.
F1: For you cynics who think sportsmanship doesn't exist in Formula 1, take another look at the "guard of honor" reception Felipe Massa received when he walked back to pit lane. Even the hardened hearts were softened a bit.
PIT LANE: But now let's go back to cynical mode ... we get that technically pit lane was closed, but there's still a race going on and it's still a hot pit area. Yet, nobody had any problem with an unauthorized person and a five-year-old kid just strolling down pit lane?
GUTIERREZ: Way to make a graceful exit, Esteban. I'm sure your antics will win over team owner's hearts when they are looking for a driver...
GROSJEAN: We don't know whether to feel sorry, pity, or be happy (for avoiding the messy race) for Romain when he couldn't even make it to the grid because he crashed on his warm up lap.
PALMER: We get visibility is limited in the wet especially when the cars are bunched up. However, you got to know it's a safety car lap, and cars are going to be close together, and it may not be a good idea to accelerate so hard not knowing what was in front of you. Jolyon, you whacked Kvyat pretty darn hard for a situation which needed caution.
RENAULT: First they wanted Perez but had to settle for Hulkenberg. Then, they wanted Magnussen to stay but had to settle for Palmer staying. Renault's driver search theme is like the line in Stephen Stills song: if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.
PIRELLI: When teams would rather switch to the intermediate tires when the conditions are still extremely wet, that tells you how bad the full wet tires are.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Inters.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- Number of teams not scoring points this year, the first time since 2009.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen's stirring drive brought back memories of other masterful rain performances, including Ayrton Senna at the 1984 Monaco GP. Of course, that was the one which was stopped prematurely, eventually costing Alain Prost the championship by half a point. Had they let it go the distance and even if Prost was passed by Senna, falling back to second, full points would have meant 1-1/2 more points on his final tally.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton described the conditions quite well when asked if he wanted to change tires, "It's still way too early for inters."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP 1: While Kevin Magnussen was a bit more forthright, "I think it's too wet, period."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP 2: This race requires three quotes. This one from Toto Wolff talking about Max Verstappen's performance, "Physics are being redefined."
SCHEDULE: Last race for the championship. And once again, it sucks donkey balls for the grand finale to be in Abu Dhabi.
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