The 23rd of November unfortunately saw the last race of the 2013 Formula One season, but it did give us a weekend of great racing with a lot of high points and unfortunately a few low points too. Have a read on everything we thought about it in this blog, our report of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Interlagos is one of our favourite tracks and many F1 fans. It is a favourite because of the unpredictablity of the weather, the flow of the corners and the opportunities it offers for drivers to really step out of the shadows and show their talent to the top teams.
Hulkenberg did just that last year by going toe to toe with the McLarens until a very unfortunate coming together with Lewis Hamilton that caused him to drop down the order and the latter to retire, but nonetheless Hulkenberg made a even more of an impact on the world of F1 by mixing it with the big boys. Montoya did it back in 2001 when in only his 3rd grand prix, passed the dominant Michael Schumacher for the lead until a collision forced him to retire.
Interlagos has something about it that just appeals to Formula One fans and this weekend offered a great race in my opinion, something that we have been missing for a few races now. Going into the weekend knowing the weather was changeable and it would start off wet was a good sign as drivers that can handle the conditions would be rewarded in their efforts even if the car wasn't as competitive in the dry.
Rosberg led FP1 and FP2 after some really good stints meant the Mercedes team looked to be a good position for the rest of the weekend. Rain was expected on race day and if Rosberg could qualify well and then replicate his Friday performances a win was surely not out of the question. The real star though across all of the Free Practice sesions was Torro Rosso-bound Daniil Kvyat, a driver in GP3 this year and also Formula 3 with Carlin, he finished FP1 in an impresive 8th. Daniil had never raced at Interlagos before, apparently had no simulated running of the circuit eiter and it was a wet session, so to go 8th quickest and half a second quicker than the well respected Jean-Eric Vergne was a brilliant way to start his F1 career after another good showing the week before in Austin.
Vettel is always one to watch at every single circuit and Red Bull sometimes start slowly during the first session or two and then show their true pace later on so nothing could be read from his lower position on the time sheets.
Mark Webber was going into his last ever Formula One race weekend, a driver that many people will miss. His grit and determination every weekend meant he was always a tough driver to race against but you always knew where you stood with him because he would say it as it was and race fairly. He looked good all weekend and topping FP3 was a good way to build confidence ahead of qualifying and the race.
Qualifying was rain hit also, with Maldonado and Gutierrez the two midfield drivers not to make it through to Q2. Vettel was looking ominously quick again but Rosberg and Alonso were looking quick also so there was a chance pole position could have been snatched from the young German.
McLaren couldn't even make it to Q3, regardless of the weather conditions, although it was thought that two drivers that always seem to perform well in changeable conditions would do well and finish a little higher up the grid. At the end of the session though and one penalty later Button was 14th and Perez, in his last race for McLaren was 19th. To add insult to injury the Mexican ha also suffered a big crash right at the end of Q2.
Q3 was delayed but once all of the drivers got underway and Grosjean initially went fastest before everyone else started to flex their muscles and go quicker. Grosjean ended up 6th. Webber finished 4th after a good performance but it was Vettel that yet again stole the show as he went over 6 tenth clear of second placed Nico Rosberg and a further 4 tenths quicker than Alonso. Although seeing Alonso in 3rd should have been a worry considering how quick he is off the line and his knack of carving through the field in tricky conditions.
The race was started on dry tyres, with all but two running on the softer of the two compounds. Rosberg has impressed us this season, along with many other people we are sure, taking two race wins this season along with some other solid performances, and he looked like he could be the man to upset Vettel's run of wins as he took the lead and held it into Turn 1.
Ferrari looked good to start with, with both Massa and Alonso moving up through the field quickly. Unfortunately they couldn't keep it up and after a drive through for Massa and a drop in pace for Alonso they were out of the fight for victory. That seems to have been some of Ferrari's problem all season, they can't keep up their initial push after the first few laps.
For us the driver of the weekend goes to Jenson Button. His team mate was very impressive as well, climbing 13 places off of his start position, but Button pushed when he needed to and managed his pace when he had a bit of space. McLaren apparently rue a possible missed podium opportunity, but 4th and 6th place look pretty good after the form they have had this season. Rosberg couldn't keep up with Button and it gave him the space he needed to get his head down to come home 4th, McLaren's best finish of the season.
Max Chilton become a record breaker himself, finishing all 19 races of the season, proving his maturity on the grid in only his first year to stay out of trouble and build up his F1 mileage. Hopefully Max will find himself on the grid next season and he can build on his pace and competitiveness to aim for points finishes.
To end, we look at Red Bull, Vettel was incredible yet again, winning 9 races in a row even after a pit scare that took 13 seconds. Webber drove superbly in his last race, showing he still has bags of ability to come home behind his team mate to end his career on the podium. The helmet and gloves off parade lap at the end was a great touch, it showed just how down to earth he is and how much he cares about the fans experience at each and every race. In the same breath though it is a sad day to see him leave the paddock.
Hopefully next season will see Ricciardo fill his shoes well and he can express his own character a bit more-challenging for podiums and possibly race wins.
For now though we look back on a good season of racing and hope you can join us all for some great races in the centre! Make sure you get yourself booked in and experience some of the great circuits we run for you all.
Until next season this is our last race report so give us all of your thoughts and suggestions on what you want to see next season.