Sport Driver Ratings: 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

19:50  14 november  2017
19:50  14 november  2017 Source:   Read Sport

FIA to trial tweaked blue flag system

  FIA to trial tweaked blue flag system The FIA will be trialling a tweaked blue flag system at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Race numbers will now be shown alongside blue light panel to make it clearer who the flags apply to. During a race, drivers are given various warnings when a front runner is coming up to lap them. They first get a “pre-warning” when they are three seconds ahead, then shown blue flag warnings – which include flags, light panels, and a cockpit light – when the gap is closed to 1.2s. Backmarkers must “allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity” after the blue cockpit light lights up. But many drivers have complained backmarkers are moving aside for the leaders quickly enough, impacting the battles at the front of the field. Most recently, Fernando Alonso was reprimanded after the Japanese Grand Prix, when he did not let race leader Lewis Hamilton past fast enough. The FIA hopes the new system will make the process more efficient. It will assess the success of the system after the race before deciding whether to make the change permanent.

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a car engine: F1 Grand Prix of Brazil © Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

Now that Hamilton had put the exhaustive talk of a dwindling championship fight to bed, the paddock could at last refocus on the racing. And what a terrific weekend of action ensured.

A pole margin of less than half a tenth of a second; the newly crowned world champion in a high-speed crash on his first lap in qualifying; superb recovery drives from a duo of the grid’s most dynamic wheel-to-wheel racers and a win for Ferrari when they needed it most.

But even Hamilton’s heroic performance on Sunday could not steal the adulation from the undisputed star performer of the weekend. In his final race on home turf, Felipe Massa’s seventh place was a homage to his emotive victory at Interlagos in 2008; his final victory in Formula 1 (barring miracles in Abu Dhabi).

Villeneuve labels Bottas' Brazil drive as 'embarrassing'

  Villeneuve labels Bottas' Brazil drive as 'embarrassing' Ex-Formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve says Valtteri Bottas’ performance at the Brazilian Grand Prix was nothing short of “embarrassing”. Bottas, who started from his third pole position of the season, lost out to the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel at the first corner – a position he would struggle to reclaim. Despite almost jumping the German through the pitstops, the Finn couldn’t find his way past and finished in second position just 2.7 seconds off Vettel. However, team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who started from the pitlane following a crash in qualifying, scythed his way through pack to finish fourth and only 2.7s behind Bottas after the 71-lap event. 1997 world champion Villeneuve was quick to criticise the performance by the Mercedes driver, believing Bottas performed at the level of a “number two” driver on Sunday. “It was a great drive from Vettel, he won it at the start,” Villeneuve told “He was aggressive. “When you see what the Mercedes was capable of, you just have to look at Lewis and Bottas wasn’t up to pace. It’s embarrassing for Bottas. “Lewis finished around three seconds behind him when he started from the pits. “It’s embarrassing. He simply is not on the pace of Hamilton. It’s been like that all year. That’s his level. Which is a good number two.

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The Brazilian’s habit for being lifted by his home fans is uncanny; if he could only bring the same level of electricity and determination he brings to Interlagos to every track, perhaps Massa could have achieved much more in his career. As it stands, it was second beautifully emotional send-off for one of the paddock’s dearest friends.

Hamilton: Qualifying crash 'very unusual' .
Lewis Hamilton described his crash in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix as “very unusual”, after he crashed out of qualifying for the first time since Azerbaijan 2016. Entering Turn 6, the four-time world champion lost the rear of his Mercedes mid-way through the corner before sliding helplessly into the barriers, causing terminal damage to the left-hand side of the car. Due to his failure to set a laptime, Hamilton will start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s race but the Briton is remaining positive – and takes heart from his drive through the field from P18 in 2009. “It is what it is, of course it’s unfortunate, I tend to just look at it as… challenges are what makes life interesting, and overcoming them makes life meaningful,” Hamilton said. “I just need to take whatever bubble of negativity comes from that experience and move forwards and try and grow from it. “It’s very unusual from me, but it shows we are all human and things happen. “I will try to have as much fun as possible tomorrow, years ago I came from quite far behind and had a great race.

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