Sao Paulo: Big splash in Brazil

Sao Paulo: Big splash in Brazil

Postby meteorite » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:03 pm

The last race of the season is always a big event. For some teams on the financial edge, it may be the last Grand Prix ever - and a healthy Formula One team may easily employ some 600 people. For others, it may be the last race for one or two of the drivers, either moving to retirement, another series, or simply unknown fortunes with another team. For all, it can mean the end of a familiar formula and a series move to a whole new formula - in 2014 Formula One will have new engines, new transmissions, and major changes to bodywork - it's also being pointed out that the tire situation this year has produced far from satisfactory results. It is the end of a championship year, and begins the pause till a new beginning next spring (actually fall there) in Australia. For every year it is a landmark event.

This year, as has been the case for many years, the race is at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, named for one of the pioneers in the major Brazilian presence in Formula One. It's now quite central in the huge city of Sao Paulo, an urban area carved out of inland rain forest and now housing 11 million people, 20 million is the general urban area, one of the largest cities in the world.

But it still has its rain forest climate, and this race is notable for the spectacular effects of its frequent rains. They didn't - quite - wash out the various practice sessions, though there were delays. They didn't wash out qualifying, either, but came very close with a long delay between sessions two and three. The rain in qualifying was variable and intermittent, with best times getting poorer and poorer as each session progressed, and guessing games going on as to whether intermediate tires or full rain treads would be most advantageous for any given run, and whether to go out early, late, or midway in each session. In the ultimate shakeout, Red Bull was most successful gaining pole and fourth to Mercedes' second and fifth, with Fernando Alonso on a banzai run splitting the couples. Scuderia Toro Rosso grabbed a pair of top ten spots with Grosjean, Massa and Hulkenberg filling out that part of the grid. Only Perez totally came to grief, falling off the road apparently due to a slight over-correction in session two, and knocking the right rear corner off the car with a lurid slide into the barrier.

But any of these results were as much the result of good luck as good judgment, and as a wet track is in the forecast for the race, the grid formation is unlikely to be nearly as predictive of the finishing order as in a dry event. But que sera. sera.

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.381 1:26.420 1:26.479 23
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.556 1:26.626 1:27.102 22
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.656 1:26.590 1:27.539 21
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:26.689 1:26.963 1:27.572 23
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.342 1:26.698 1:27.677 23
6 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.453 1:26.161 1:27.737 22
7 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:27.209 1:27.078 1:28.052 24
8 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:27.124 1:27.363 1:28.081 25
9 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.817 1:27.049 1:28.109 20
10 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:26.071 1:27.441 1:29.582 21
11 7 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:26.266 1:27.456 21
12 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:26.275 1:27.798 16
13 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:26.790 1:27.954 16
14 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.741 1:28.269 15
15 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.398 1:28.308 15
16 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:26.874 1:28.586 19
17 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:27.367 12
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.445 14
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:27.843 6
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:28.320 6
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:28.366 11
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:28.950 11
Q1 107% Time 1:31.315
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Re: Sao Paulo: Big splash in Brazil

Postby meteorite » Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:08 am

Once again I have been rather floored by significant health issues the last few days, exacerbated by a sudden failure of the households main drain. It has not been a fun couple of days. And now, unless I can come back and amend it later, I shall simply have to provide the F1 Official account of the race, and the result. Maybe I can offer commentary later.

Race - Vettel victorious, Webber bows out with second 24 Nov 2013

Sebastian Vettel took his ninth consecutive win - and 13th overall in 2013 - at the final race of the season in Brazil on Sunday, as Red Bull team mate Mark Webber ended his F1 career with second place.

Vettel had built a 13.1s lead over the outgoing Webber when he made his second pit stop on the 47th lap, amid confusion caused by a collision between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. For once Red Bull weren’t ready for their man, and he lost half his advantage waiting for his crew to rush the new rubber from the garage. But Webber was stacked behind him and didn’t benefit as much as he might have.

The Australian had been only fifth at the end of the opening lap as Nico Rosberg briefly sprinted his Mercedes into the lead before being overtaken by Vettel, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton also went by. Neither Mercedes had the legs to stay in front, and Alonso succumbed to Webber on the 13th lap. But in the confusion of that second stop - caused by Red Bull wanting to preempt the potential arrival of a safety car - Webber’s delay allowed the Ferrari back into second place again. Webber dealt with that on the 48th lap, and then bravely kept Vettel honest for a long time.

As gentle rain began to fall intermittently in the closing stages everyone was on their mettle, but Vettel gradually began to edge away again and was 10.4s ahead of Webber at the flag with Alonso a further 8.4s down the road after another forceful run. Webber toured back to the pits for the last time without his helmet on, whilst Vettel performed celebratory donuts in front of the main grandstand.

It was a tough day for Mercedes. Rosberg quickly faded with oversteer, but for some time Hamilton seemed set for fourth after passing his team mate on the 11th lap. But then he clipped the left-rear wheel of Bottas’ Williams as he was lapping it. The Finn spun into retirement with a broken wheel, while Hamilton lost time limping back to the pits with a punctured right-rear tyre, then had to serve a drive-through penalty for causing the collision. The incident dropped him from fourth to an eventual ninth, and lost him third place in the driver’s world championship to Webber. Mercedes did, however, maintain their second place over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez ran brilliantly for McLaren to take fourth and sixth places from 14th and 19th on the grid respectively, sandwiching Rosberg, while Felipe Massa raced strongly ahead of Hamilton in his final race for Ferrari before dropping from fourth to eighth with a drive-through penalty for crossing the white lines on pit entry on the 19th lap. He finished seventh, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who brought Sauber eighth place after fending off Hamilton in the closing stages. Daniel Ricciardo completed the points scorers for Toro Rosso, with the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil sandwiching Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber; they finished 0.5s and 0.3s apart.

Romain Grosjean was an early retirement for Lotus with a spectacular engine failure, and Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen had a hugely disappointing run to 14th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso; the Frenchman however is under investigation after tapping Pastor Maldonado’s Williams into a spin late in the race. Maldonado was 16th, ahead of Marussia’s Jules Bianchi who led home Caterham’s Giedo van der Garde and his Marussia team mate Max Chilton. Joining Grosjean and Bottas on the retirements list was Caterham’s Charles Pic, who suffered an apparent suspension failure which left the constructor in 11th place overall.

The final championship positions saw Vettel with 397 to Alonso’s 242, Webber’s 199, Hamilton’s 189 and the absent Kimi Raikkonen’s 183, while Red Bull’s final constructors; tally was 596 to Mercedes’ 360, Ferrari’s 354, Lotus’s 315, McLaren’s 122, Force India’s 77 and Sauber’s 57.

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 1:32:36.300 1 25
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 +10.4 secs 4 18
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 71 +18.9 secs 3 15
4 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 71 +37.3 secs 14 12
5 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 71 +39.0 secs 2 10
6 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 71 +44.0 secs 19 8
7 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 71 +49.1 secs 9 6
8 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 71 +64.2 secs 10 4
9 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 71 +72.9 secs 5 2
10 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 7 1
11 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 70 +1 Lap 12
12 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 17
13 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 70 +1 Lap 15
14 7 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 70 +1 Lap 11
15 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 70 +1 Lap 8
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 70 +1 Lap 16
17 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 21
18 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 69 +2 Laps 20
19 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 69 +2 Laps 22
Ret 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 58 Suspension 18
Ret 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 45 Accident 13
Ret 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 2 Engine 6

Note - Perez originally qualified 14th, but received a 5-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
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