2021 Sao Paulo Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Mexico appeared to be a championship defining moment for Verstappen. Brazil now appears to be a championship defining moment for Hamilton, especially considering the next three tracks. This championship has reverted to being wide open again.
EVENT: It's interesting how the Brazilian fans are now all in on Lewis Hamilton, considering what he "took away" from their fellow countryman, Felipe Massa, back in 2008. In Brazil, no less.
TRACK: Whether it's called the Brazil GP or Sao Paulo GP, as long as it still takes place at Interlagos, we don't care.
QUALIFYING: For the second race in a row on a non-Mercedes track, the Silver Arrows gets the best time until Hamilton's car is DQ'ed. Meanwhile, Gasly has another superb fifth place qualifier time and Russell is outqualified by a Williams teammate for the first time ever.
SPRINT START: Bottas gets a lightning start, Sainz gets an even better jump also passing Verstappen as Max regrets the medium tire choice, and Hamilton begins his march.
SPRINT: No doubt, the story of the Sprint is Hamilton, in just 24 laps, going from last to fifth. Upfront was also interesting as Verstappen couldn't do anything about Bottas. Overall, showing Mercedes continues to do better than expected at Interlagos.
RACE: Dominated by the Hamilton comeback story culminating in a brilliant setup and pass for the win.
START: This time Verstappen gets the solid start to jump into the lead, Bottas once again chokes when it matters most falling behind Perez as well, and in a repeat Hamilton begins his march.
HAMILTON: Experience showed, as Lewis took the lessons of his first pass attempt, and applied them with a perfect setup many corners before actually making the pass.
MERCEDES: Keep pulling performances out of the hat.
RED BULL: While they are suspicious of the archrivals' speed gains.
FERRARI: Could not have asked for a better result (their second 5-6 in a row) in their battle with McLaren.
MCLAREN: Shot themselves in the foot again in their battle with Ferrari.
NORRIS: That one was on you Lance, as you didn't judge where your former teammate was.
GASLY: Single-handedly powering AlphaTauri to a tie with Alpine in the battle for fifth.
WILLIAMS: We get the feeling they have stopped worrying about this year, since they essentially have eighth place locked up and are not going any higher, to spend all their efforts on finishing the 2022 car.
FIA: When it comes to technical infractions, there is essentially no wiggle room. It's either legal or not. You can't be partially pregnant. They made the right call on Hamilton's car after qualifying.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Comeback.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 25 -- The number of places Hamilton made up over the weekend (15 in the sprint and 10 in the race).
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Damon Hill: "That was one of the best drives I've ever seen in F1. By anyone. Utterly awesome. #F1"
QUOTES OF THE WEEKEND: Dripping with sarcasm, both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen deliver during their intense battle. First, after being told Verstappen will not be penalized for pushing him off track, Hamilton said, "Of course." Then, when Verstappen is told he received a warning for weaving on the front straight, he said, "Yeah perfect. Say hi."
SCHEDULE: A tripleheader on three different continents is ridiculous, as the freight issues from Mexico to Brazil showed. And that was at least in the same hemisphere.
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