Max Verstappen second after fierce battle at Brazilian GP: 'Gave it our all'
Published on 14 November 2021 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen finished second fastest at the Brazilian Grand Prix after a fierce battle. The race in Sao Paulo ended up being a fight between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. At the start, Max snatched pole but Hamilton, who started the race from P10, moved all the way up to second. Verstappen was able to fend off the attacks launched by the much faster Mercedes, but on lap 59 he eventually cracked. Hamilton won the race with a 10 seconds gap on Verstappen, who in turn still leads the championship by fourteen points. Valtteri Bottas rounded out the podium.
After the race, Max had the following to say: ´We tried everything we could today to keep Hamilton behind of us. It was a good fight but we just lacked pace. On this circuit Mercedes was able to follow reasonably easy. Lewis just had a bit too much top speed and when he was within eight tenths of second I was forced to defend already at Turn one. In any case I enjoyed myself, we gave it our all and in the end it´s a good result.´
Even though Hamilton came out on top today, Verstappen still has good hopes for the last three races of this season: ´We were very strong in Mexico and we know that Mercedes can extract a bit more with a fresh engine. That will gradually diminish and things will even out again. We still have a good points lead in the championship. Today was more about damage limitation in a weekend that was a bit difficult for us, but I am sure that we will bounce back in the coming races.´
Today is considerably warmer compared to Saturday on Autodromo José Carlos Pace. The entire field is on the medium compound tyre, with the exception of Yuki Tsunoda, who has mounted the softs on his AlphaTauri. Starting from second on the grid, Max gets well off the line. He dives on the inside of pole sitter Bottas and grabs pole entering the first corner. Because Bottas has a poor exit out of Turn one, Perez is able to slot in behind the Finn. He makes little work of Bottas and takes second at Turn four. This is a dream start for Red Bull Racing. Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris collide with each other in the run to the first corner. The latter is forced to slowly limp back to the pits. Hamilton, who started tenth due to a grid-place penalty for an engine change, eases his way through the pack on his way to the front. On lap five, the seven time world champion has moved up all the way to fourth, behind his team mate Bottas, who lets him by for P3 after a team order.
At the back of the field, Yuki Tsunoda launches an attack on Lance Stroll on the inside of the first corner. The two hit each other and the young Japanese loses his front wing. As a result of the debris on the track, race control decides to deploy the Safety Car. On lap ten the field is let loose again. At the restart, Verstappen and Perez have their wits about them and maintain their 1-2 position. The lap after the restart is without a hitch but one lap later it´s Mick Schumacher who loses his front wing after brushing Kimi Raikkonen´s left rear tyre. Because of the debris on track again, a Virtual Safety Car is triggered this time round.
On lap fourteen the track is cleared again and Hamilton immediately starts mounting the pressure on Perez. The Briton overtakes the Mexican with the aid of his DRS on lap eighteen at Turn one. Perez counters the attack by snatching back his second place at Turn four. A lap later Perez is finally outdone by Hamilton as he decisively takes over second from the Mexican.
In the following laps the gap between Verstappen and Hamilton remains about 3,5 seconds. Hamilton is the first of the front runners to do his pit stop on lap 27. Verstappen follows suit one lap later. In a flawless 2,4 seconds pit stop, the Red Bull Racing-mechanics switch the medium compound tyres for the white walled hard ones. Verstappen rejoins in third, just two seconds ahead of his rival for the title Hamilton. Lance Stroll loses some parts from his car which triggers a brief Virtual Safety Car. This gives Bottas the chance to do a pit stop and rejoin ahead of Perez. This puts him in third. Verstappen takes back the lead of the race with Hamilton right behind of him.
Max decides to do his second stop on lap 41. He swaps his current tyres for a fresh set of the harder compound and rejoins in fourth. In the following laps Bottas, Perez and Hamilton head in for their second pit stops, which puts Verstappen back in the lead and 2 seconds ahead of Hamilton. It doesn´t take too long before Hamilton is on Verstappen´s tail. The Briton tries his luck on lap 48 and engages Max on the outside at Turn four. Both drivers brake extremely late and go off track. Verstappen keeps his lead but Hamilton keeps the pressure on. On lap 59, there is nowhere to run for Verstappen and Hamilton overtakes the Dutch ace with the aid of his DRS at Turn four. The Briton takes off and in the closing stages of the race, Verstappen is mainly focussed on securing his second place.
Perez heads back in once more on the penultimate lap to try and take away the fastest lap from Hamilton. On the red compound tyres he succeeds in doing this and secures the extra point. At the front, Hamilton takes home his sixth win this season. Verstappen finishes second fastest and despite losing seven points to Hamilton, he still leads the championship by 14 points. Bottas comes home in third with Perez fourth fastest. Ferrari running Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are fifth and sixth. Pierre Gasly is P7, Alpine-drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso take eighth and ninth while Lando Norris takes the final point.
|2||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+10.496s||18|
|4||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda||71||+39.940s||13|
|7||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||6|
|8||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||70||+1 lap||4|
|9||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Alpine Renault||70||+1 lap||2|
|10||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||70||+1 lap||1|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Aston Martin Mercedes||70||+1 lap||0|
|12||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|13||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||70||+1 lap||0|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||70||+1 lap||0|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda||70||+1 lap||0|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||70||+1 lap||0|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||MAZ||Haas Ferrari||69||+2 laps||0|
|18||Mick Schumacher||MSC||Haas Ferrari||69||+2 laps||0|
|0||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||McLaren Mercedes||49||DNF||0|
|0||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||47||DNF||0|