This year’s Brazilian GP was truly one of a kind. A thrilling and delightful mixture of suspense, electrifying battles and clamorous twists, basically the perfect occasion to revive my infamous Top 5 Awe Moments.
The grand prix truly featured everything fans could wish for, from pre-race controversies to an utterly eventful race spiced up by DNFs, brilliant charges and a massive clash between teammates that goes deeper than the sole mishap on track. The following will be my personal picks as my favourite moments/achievements from the whole event.
5. The exciting three-way battle between Leclerc, Ricciardo and Norris
Charles Leclerc’s fiery charge from P14 started off in cracking fashion, as the Monegasque found himself involved in a three-way fight with Renault-powered Ricciardo and Norris. The intense wheel-to-wheel action lasted nearly a full lap after the start of the Brazilian GP, and reached its peak on the main straight thanks to the impressive tow game this track offers.
4. Hamilton and Albon collide, the rookie misses out on an incredible maiden podium opportunity
Everything seemed to be settled for the end of the race following the shocking Ferrari intra-team clash, but Hamilton caused Alex Albon’s Red Bull to spin on the penultimate lap. It actually happened too quickly, as it was hard to even digest the fact that the Ferrari drivers had taken out each other. Lewis Hamilton admitted his fault for the crash that led Albon to lose his first podium chance, after impressive offence and defense from the Thai driver throughout the race. His overtake on Vettel after SC is definitely worth a mention.
3. A Honda-powered 1-2, Pierre Gasly’s first podium
When you thought the craziest acts happened at Hockenheim, Interlagos just brought his A-game to compete for the most-eventful-race award. Toro Rosso achieved his second podium finish in 2019 with Pierre Gasly, the driver that Helmut Marko decided to demote from Red Bull before the Belgian GP. Not only did Verstappen get retribution from last year’s race in Brazil, but also Pierre Gasly got some sweet payback from the last 8 months, throughout which he has been emotionally battered by Red Bull’s selectiveness. Honda’s astonishing double podium makes it the first 1-2 since the 1991 Japanese GP, when Ayrton Senna clinched his 3rd world title.
But let’s take a moment to appreciate Gasly’s emotional and loud team radio after the race. Those screams, I bet everyone really felt them.
2. McLaren and the 2072-day wait to get back to the podium
Carlos Sainz, the driver who was very vocal about the lack of TV time he got, did not manage to celebrate his maiden podium finish on live TV. Lewis Hamilton jumped on the podium in 3rd place while his collision with Albon was under investigation. The Briton then received a 5’’ penalty and was therefore demoted to 7th, which gifted Carlos Sainz with the first podium finish of his career. Such an incredible achievement is also meaningful to McLaren, a team that went through extremely tough times from the disastrous Honda stint to a significant and on-going overhaul. The 2072-day wait from Australia 2014 (with Magnussen’s P2 and Button’s P3) to Brazil 2019 was the longest ever podium drought for the Woking-based team.
1. Turkey 2010 2.0, when teammates collide
The Vettel-Leclerc pairing was bound to explode sooner or later, and the incandescent finale of the Brazilian GP provided us with such a resounding incident. Out of Turn 3 Vettel slightly moved to the left and Charles Leclerc inevitably crashed into his teammate. Both cars sustained significant damage and were therefore unable to run any further, losing important championship points especially on Leclerc’s side. Both drivers also raged on via team radio, resembling the Red Bull hara-kiri from Istanbul 2010, which saw Vettel and Webber out of the race after a collision.
Yesterday’s clash opens up different scenarios, as it is now evident that both drivers will demand clarity over their roles. Leclerc’s position is currently more favourable than Vettel’s, which makes everyone wonder whether he is willing to endure another season with Leclerc as his teammate. Moreover, the Ferrari pitwall cost both drivers a significant amount of points by botching strategies on multiple occasions this year, with an inexplicable inability of managing the two drivers, whose personalities and attitudes appear rather impetuous.
What about you? Tells us what your Top 5 Awe Moments looks like!