2022 Sao Paulo Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It's hard to predict how development at the end of the year will translate into the subsequent season. But, it does look promising for another Mercedes-Red Bull battle royale in 2023. Throw into the mix a possible (crosses fingers) strong race worthy Ferrari, and we could have what we were hoping to get this year.
EVENT: You can't beat the Brazilian energy.
TRACK: The perfect location for a sprint race.
QUALIFYING: A Haas is on the pole. A Haas! And despite Russell causing a red flag allowing the heavier rain to move in, Kevin Magnussen earned it. Eight of 10 drivers got a clean run, and he was the fastest. That's the way it works.
SPRINT RACE: Packed full of exciting action. Russell grabs his first F1 win even if it's not a Grand Prix.
SPRINT START: Magnussen gets the job done perfectly, tire smoke pours out of the field in the back, and Ocon doesn't care about his departing teammate.
RACE: It had everything. A demolition derby at the start. Old time dominance by Mercedes. All kinds of passing in the midfield. Comeback drives. Encounters by old antagonists. And ignoring or not giving team orders.
START: Russell is as clean as can be, Norris gets aggressive with the Red Bulls but decides just to stay ahead of the Ferraris, and Ricciardo bones the Haas weekend highs.
RUSSELL: King George. Finally a victory. Now, let's see if the floodgates open.
HAMILTON: Happy for his teammate, but will that euphoria remain for Lewis next year?
MERCEDES: The upgrades down the stretch are doing their job. Now a 1-2. The Silver Arrows has made a statement for 2023.
SAINZ: Carlos was in the groove.
LECLERC: But Charles really wanted that position for the much needed points.
FERRARI: They even mess up qualifying strategy. Heck, they were confused in FP1!
ALONSO: Overcame some sloppy driving in the sprint race to grab a haul of points for Alpine.
OCON: If this is how Esteban deals with a teammate he's always gotten along with, how is he going to handle Gasly next year? This has the makings of a disaster.
VERSTAPPEN: Max makes is so hard to like and respect him. Especially when his father's personality -- one of the most unlikeable people in F1 -- leaks out.
PEREZ: The gloves are off. Verstappen may come to regret what he did to Sergio.
RED BULL: They continue to sow these type of number one drivers because they allow them to get away with any type of behavior.
STROLL: What the hell is wrong with Lance? He is going to literally kill someone with his late blocking moves he has recently incompetently adopted.
SCHUMACHER: Looks like Mick has one F1 race left in his career.
MAGNUSSEN: The Danish fairy tale was brought back to reality in the sprint race and shocked into oblivion in the grand prix.
RICCIARDO: Two races in a row; two boneheaded passing attempts in a row. Perhaps the other drivers won't be all that upset to see Daniel off the grid next year.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Petulance.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 24 -- Denmark becomes the 24th country to have a driver grab an F1 pole position.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Whether one wants to consider Haas an American constructor is open to debate. However, the last time an American constructor took pole position was in 1975 by the UOP Shadow Racing team. Jean-Pierre Jarier grabbed pole position for the first two races in Argentina (where he failed to start) and Brazil (also fastest lap but retired). Tom Pryce took pole at his home British GP, the 10th race of the season, but retired. The cars were powered by a Ford Cosworth. They never won a race that year.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Posted by Elliot Horwood #44. No extra comment needed.
This is what playing the team game actually looks like. In 2017 Lewis Hamilton gave up 11 SECONDS to stick to his word and give the place to Bottas WHILST STILL IN A CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT!
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sergio Perez after his teammate ignored team orders, "It shows who he really is." Which is one of the great truisms in recent years.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After Sebastian Vettel was nearly killed by his own teammate, he simply responded derisively, "Okay." Which of course said a whole lot in one word.
SCHEDULE: The season finale. But, the stage is set for some interesting storylines. Mercedes trying to make one last statement for next year. Ferrari trying to gain confidence for next year. Alpine trying to corral their drivers. A fight for second in the championship amongst a Red Bull intrateam row. And Sebastian Vettel's long career comes to an end.
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