Nico Rosberg did exactly what he needed to Sunday at Interlagos and that was finish 2nd. In a race marred by rain, crashes, safety cars and red flags, it's amazing all 71 laps were run at all. Contrary to the drivers showcasing their best wet driving abilities, Charlie Whiting seems to have forgotten Formula 1 is an all weather sport. Today, we saw a safety car start for the 2nd time this season in conditions that shouldn't have called for it.
For Lewis Hamilton it was a must win weekend if he had any hopes of keeping his championship fight alive. Luckily, pole on Saturday and despite the weather, a relatively unchallenged drive at the front of the pack allowed him his first win in Brazil. Something catastrophic will need to happen with Rosberg's race in Abu Dhabi for Hamilton to clinch his 3rd title in a row. Given Mercedes unrelenting reliability, it's unlikely to happen. With that inevitable championship win for Rosberg just weeks away, I think I can speak for a majority of Formula 1 diehards that we've seen enough from Mercedes for a while. Yet more technical changes should help even out the pack for next season as we shift into the Max Verstappen and Red Bull dynasty.
Speaking of Verstappen, a fantastic drive and one that should have quieted any doubters. Toto Wolff's comment about the Dutchman "redefining physics" might be a bit over the top. Verstappen took rain racing lines, something all drivers did in the past when the weather called for it and something the current crop of drivers seems to have forgotten. Earlier in the week Mercedes brass called his father Jos to politely ask if he would speak to Max about leaving their title fight alone. Ultimately, the message appears to have been unreceived and rightly so. The ivory tower must be getting pretty routine in Brackley these days for such a preposterous request.
Sunday also marked the final Brazilian Grand Prix for Felipe Massa who's race ended prematurely after crashing in turn 14. Draped in a Brazilian flag, a teary-eyed Massa was greeted to a hero's applause from all teams as he walked down pit lane. Massa, more than any driver has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows at his home circuit. With a 250th and final grand prix to go, he will be greatly missed around the paddock.
More woes for Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen crashed on the home straight and Vettel finished 5th. It's been a hellacious year for the scuderia and one they would soon like to forget. The problems appear to run much deeper than just the car.
Big changes for McLaren in the days that followed the Brazilian Grand Prix. The team will not be the same without Ron Dennis, but that deserves its own post.
Unlike last year, the season finale at Yas Marina will decide the championship and it should be a good show.
Image credit: Red Bull Racing