São Paulo – Unlike years past, Brazil does not mark the final race of the 2014 season. That honour falls in two weeks to Abu Dhabi. That being said, the question of who will win the drivers’ championship could very well have been made more clear on Sunday in São Paulo, had Hamilton won.
In a surprisingly dry race, much of the decisive action fell to tyre degradation. By Lap 5, the first of the pit stops, made by Maldonado, were undertaken as the new surface at Interlagos were none too friendly to the Pirelli tyres on hand. This in particular effected Lewis Hamilton, who spun out, going far off track at Turn 4 on Lap 28, which could very well have cost the Briton his sixth consecutive race win.
Local hero Felipe Massa had a troubling time after being handed down a 5-second grid penalty for speeding in the pit lane on Lap 9, which he served during his next pit stop on Lap 26. Massa was able to keep his Williams in the top of the field, finishing in 3rd. His teammate, Valtteri Bottas, had some major problems regarding his seat belts during a pit stop on Lap 27. This dropped the Finn down below the points-scoring positions for the majority of the rest of the race, finishing in 10th after some great battles with fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen and German Nico Hülkenberg.
One of the great success stories from Interlagos was McLaren’s Jenson Button, who held his own throughout the race, staying within the middle of the points-scoring positions. Button was able to finish just behind Massa in 4th. Earlier in the weekend, Button hosted the British media for dinner, as is his tradition in Brazil, quite possibly, as NBC’s pit commentator Will Buxton pointed out, for the last time.
The Red Bulls had a decent race. Four time, and defending, World Champion Sebastian Vettel had a good race, staying in competition with Button, and the Ferraris to finish in 5th. His Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo had a far more troubling race, retiring on Lap 39 due to a suspension failure on his front-left tyre. This retirement ended the Australian’s 15 race points scoring streak. That being said, Ricciardo still stands in 3rd overall in the drivers’ championship.
Ferrari saw some great racing between their drivers, Spain’s Fernando Alonso and Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen. The duel of Ferraris began after Räikkönen passed fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas on Lap 42, after Bottas was forced off track by Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg. The fight between the Ferraris for 6th during the last few laps of the race was monumental. Alonso eventually was able to win out, finishing in 6th, leaving Räikkönen to finish in 7th.
The race finished with Rosberg on top, followed by Hamilton, who trailed the German by one second. However it was the man in third who got the greatest reaction from the crowd, as Felipe Massa was greeted at the chequered flag by chants of “Olé, olé, olé, olé! Massa! Massa!”
Sunday’s crucial win for Rosberg leaves him with a chance of winning the World Championship in two weeks in Abu Dhabi. After Brazil, Hamilton leads with 334 points, Rosberg standing a mere 17 points behind at 317. With double points in mind, if Rosberg finishes in 1st and Hamilton in 2nd, the German will finish the season with 367, whilst the Briton will finish with 370. So, for Rosberg to win the championship, he will have to win in Abu Dhabi, and Hamilton will need to finish third or lower. However, if Hamilton finishes in first or second, no matter where Rosberg finishes, the Briton will win his second world championship.
The 2014 Formula 1 Petrobras Brazilian Grand Prix finished as follows:
- Nico Rosberg, GER, Mercedes, 1:30:02.555, 25 pts
- Lewis Hamilton, GBR, Mercedes, +00:01.457, 18 pts
- Felipe Massa, BRA, Williams, +00:41.031, 15 pts
- Jenson Button, GBR, McLaren, +00:48.658, 12 pts
- Sebastian Vettel, GER, Red Bull, +00:51.420, 10 pts
- Fernando Alonso, ESP, Ferrari, +01:01.906, 8 pts
- Kimi Räikkönen, FIN, Ferrari, +01:03.730, 6 pts
- Nico Hülkenberg, GER, Force India, +01:03.934, 4 pts
- Kevin Magnussen, DEN, McLaren, +01:10.085, 2 pts
- Valtteri Bottas, FIN, Williams, lapped, 1 pt
- Daniil Kvyat, RUS, Toro Rosso, lapped
- Pastor Maldonado, VEN, Lotus, lapped
- Jean-Éric Vergne, FRA, Toro Rosso, lapped
- Esteban Gutierrez, MEX, Sauber, lapped
- Sergio Pérez, MEX, Force India, lapped
- Adrian Sutil, GER, Sauber, lapped
- Romain Grosjean, FRA, Lotus, retired, 63 laps
- Daniel Ricciardo, AUS, Red Bull, retired, 39 laps