Brazil Grand Prix is the first race that Lewis Hamilton won as the five times world champion after was crowned last weekend in Mexico. Wining Brazilian race Lewis guaranteed the five Constructor Cup for his team. But just image, Mercedes’ championship was in a step away from the failure. During the race there was a moment when the failure of power unit on Lewis’ car was imminent, and the race could end with the retirement of the newly champion.
However, after Toto Wolff’s words about potential retirement, some people were in a doubt about the truth of Mercedes principal’s statement. So, was it a real problem or just a «drama» trick, let’s see.
The beginning of the weekend
In Brazil Mercedes team wasn’t the favorites of the Grand Prix, what was clear since Friday practices. In the first session Lewis set the third time, and Bottas only the sixth. Next practice Mercedes drivers a little improved their results – Lewis was the second, and Valtteri was on the first place. But in the final practice Sebastian Vettel took the lead, and Lewis with Valtteri were on second and third positions respectively.
But in qualifying session Lewis regained his lead. In Q2 there was some strange episode with Hamilton and Sirotkin, when Sergey was too close to clash with Lewis. As Charlie Whiting said, the Steward didn’t see something dangerous in that incident. So, both drivers avoided a punishment.
The incident with Russian didn’t stop Lewis to set the best time in the final of Q3 and take the pole position – the 82nd in his career.
The practices and qualifying didn’t give any causes for concern. So, it seems quite strange why and how Lewis race was at risk.
The key success of the race in Brazil was the strategy. Mercedes and Red Bull did a right choice setting the Super Soft tyres, but not Ferrari who chose the Soft. Moreover, Sebastian Vettel had big problems with the car, what we saw already on formation lap. So, Vettel wasn’t the real rival for Hamilton at Interlagos.
But there was Max Verstappen who drove incredibly that weekend. The Dutchman started from P5 behind two Mercedes and two Ferrari. Already on the third lap Max overtook Kimi Raikkonen, and then Sebastian Vettel. From the 8th to 10th laps Max made beautiful attacks on Bottas and at the end overtook him too.
It is noteworthy that Red Bull drivers worked with Super Soft much better than Mercedes. Lewis went to the pit stop on the 20th lap, when Max stopped in boxes only on the 36th lap. The strategy of the drivers was different: Lewis chose Medium, but Verstappen continue the race on Soft. Obviously, the decision in a favor of Soft was right, because in four laps after the pit stop Max overtook Lewis and took the lead in the race.
Since that moment there were 90% that predicted Verstappen’s victory. But Lewis’ luck was on maximum and changed Max’ plans.
On the 28th lap of the race, Mercedes engineers handed over to the pit lane that the engine failure is inevitable, as a breakdown in the exhaust system led to an overheating of the power unit. As we remember that time Lewis – after the pit stop – had a potential battle with Verstappen, who headed the peloton on the old tyres. So, it was very risky situation for Hamilton and the whole team, because Lewis could retire at any moment.
We don’t know how Mercedes engineers at the pit lane and at the base in Brackley could solve this problem within few laps, but Lewis stayed on the track, although he was overtook by Verstappen. But it doesn’t clear why: due the engine issues or Medium tyres.
However, in 5 laps after being overtaking, Lewis was given a perfect chance to back at the first position. On the 45th lap Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen didn’t share the track and had a collision.
If this is not a luck, how can it be called? Despite the serious engine problems Hamilton didn’t fail. Then the leader and the main rival was hit by another driver. Moreover, Verstappen, who had a better car and tyres couldn’t catch Lewis, who had big problems with the engine. Just a perfect scenario.
So, return to our question. Is it true or false, that Toto Wolff said about engine failure? Unfortunately, we can’t know it exactly, and we don’t have some data confirming it. Any way Lewis become a winner of the race, where he could retire at any moment. On the other side, in Abu Dhabi Hamilton may get a penalty. So, wait until the final stage, and will know what was it – reality or special trick to make Lewis’ victory more dramatic.
However, the fact of the luck is huge. All events of the Brazil Grand Prix talk about it. Even Lewis didn’t have problems with the power unit, how can be explained the incident between Max and Esteban? The luck is a huge part of the sport, and it’s just wondering how Lewis has all of this.