T V- Reporter Martin Brundle brought the rain thriller from Interlagos to the point. 'I didn't want to be Charlie today'. I mean FIA race director Charlie Whiting. The 64-year-old Englishman navigated the race over 3 hours and one minute with 5 safety car phases and two interruptions of 35 and 27 minutes over a distance of 71 laps. Safety car driver Bernd Mayländer led 31 of them.
The continuous rain, which fell a little harder, sometimes a little lighter from the lead-gray sky, made every decision a gamble. Especially with racing cars that are no longer suitable for rain races. The drivers quickly identified the culprit. Nico Rosberg spoke for everyone. “It's because of the rain tires. They displace too little water and simply cannot cope with aquaplaning. ”
Backing for race management
November 13th was a day when everything was wrong and only a little right could do. “Every decision that the race management had to make was extremely difficult. It's easy to criticize Charlie for thinking too much about safety, if you don't take responsibility yourself, ”said Brundle, backing the FIA race director. “For my taste, the last restart after the whole series of accidents on the home straight was at the other limit. I was amazed that the race was reopened after the Massa crash. ”
The accidents involving Marcus Ericsson and Kimi Räikkönen could have been bad news. At Räikkönen, Formula 1 was almost a catastrophe in the opinion of everyone.
The Ferrari was upside down on the home straight. If Esteban Ocon hadn't reacted so wonderfully at the last second, there would have been a head-on collision at 310 km /h. Daniel Ricciardo's statement speaks for itself: “I only saw Kimi's accident later on TV. It happened right in front of my nose. ”
Grosjean provokes safety car start
There were many questions about the decisions of the race management on this turbulent rainy day in Sao Paulo. We got the answers. For example, on the question of why Formula 1 started behind the safety car for the third time in the third rainy race of the year after Monte Carlo and Silverstone.
On this Whiting: “We actually wanted to start normally because he The approach to the first curve is short. But the drivers and BerndMayländer informed us on their drive to the launch site that there is more water on the route than it initially appeared. Then Grosjean made the decision for us. It was a violent crash at a dangerous point after aquaplaning. ”The HaasF1 was decelerated by 30 g when it took off at turn 13.
When Marcus Ericsson happened a little further on lap 12 towards the start and finish, the same thing happened and the Sauber blocked the pit entrance, the race management had to close the pit lane for a few laps. Max Verstappen was lucky enough to be in the pits by then. Daniel Ricciardo was 10 seconds behind his teammate. He was unlucky that the traffic light turned red a second before the pit entrance line. The stewards' hands were tied. Ricciardo got 5 penalty seconds.
Ricciardo and Kvyat gave the most neutral information
There were no discussions about the cancellation after the Raikkonen accident. The Ferrari could not be recovered quickly and there was too much debris on the home straight. Even after the interruption, one part of the wreck slashed a Nico Hülkenberg tire. Nobody understood why the field reeled 9 laps behind the safety car after a 35-minute break and then interrupted the race again.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen had called for a reminder over the radio. Start rushed. With the words: “The conditions are better than ever in this race.” The spectators in the stands pointed with their thumbs down. They didn't understand why they had to wait another 27 minutes to see cars on the track. And everyone was amazed that the Brazilian GP was kicked off a third time, even though it was raining harder than the second time.
Whiting defends his decision. “The rain kept changing its intensity. We didn't know where we were going. Of course, the drivers at the front wanted to get going. It's easy for them because they have the best view. But there are also drivers further down the field. And most of them said that the conditions remained just as bad. ”The race management praised the names Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. 'You gave us the most valuable and neutral advice.'
Because of the uncertain situation, the trio Charlie Whiting, Herbie Blash and Laurent Meckies did not want the spectators to have a longer procession behind the safety car and preferred to leave the field into the pit lane to wait for better weather and clearer forecasts. In the end, more laps could be unwound at racing speed.
Sebastian Vettel went to the race management during the second break. He called for the Grand Prix to be canceled. The risk of further Raikkonen and Ericsson-type accidents occurring was too great in his opinion. Because on theOn the rising home straight between turns 12 and 1, too much water ran down the mountain and surprising puddles kept forming.
No action against Vettel and Verstappen
Nevertheless, it went on. With heavier rain but more stable forecasts. In fact, the constant sprinkling subsided a little between laps 43 and 54, only to gain a little more at the end. Another accident occurred promptly on the home stretch. This time local hero Felipe Massa got it. Many expected that the race management wanted to save themselves until lap 55 and then finally end the Grand Prix with full points with the status of the 54th lap.
But you could and wanted the 70,000 spectators, stayed in the rain for so long, didn't steal 16 laps. Especially since the forecasts did not indicate a dramatic deterioration in the situation. It was the best 16 laps of the race. Not just because of Max Verstappen's show. Rarely have there been so many shifts in the final stages of a Grand Prix. Verstappen went from 14th to 3rd. Ricciardo went from 13th to 8th. Alonso from 17 to 10th.
The stewards took a closer look twice without starting an investigation. Once Alonso complained about Vettel, the other time Vettel complained about Verstappen. Both complained that the other had pushed them off the track.
Tim Mayer, Nish Shetty, Felipe Giaffone and Mika Salo came to a different conclusion. Alonso was not past Vettel when he ran out of street. And Verstappen was in front when he pushed Vettel off the track. Everyone was grateful that there was no detention at the green table.