Lewis Hamilton showed in Brazil that he is about as good a forecaster as he is a racing driver. After his team mate Nico Rosberg took pole on Saturday Lewis in second said that following a car of similar pace close enough to pass here is near-impossible. His opportunities to usurp Nico therefore lay at the start and on strategy. Otherwise it was Nico’s race.
And that is almost precisely what we got. Lewis didn’t pass at the start, and one way or another couldn’t pass on strategy. It was Nico’s race.
Brazilian GP 2015 – Far from a thriller
And given this pre-ordained nature the entertainment fare was rather lacking. It might just about have been rescued had Mercedes let Lewis roll the dice on strategy. He asked; he was turned down. It’s strict Merc policy that drivers can’t diverge on this. Even now with the titles wrapped up. Merc boss Toto Wolff, like technical head Paddy Lowe and Nico himself, spoke later that it’d be unfair if one driver ended up with a better strategy than the other, and that there’d be massive fallout. While we can see the latter point, it’s part of the game, no?
With the honourable exception of Max Verstappen there was little overtaking elsewhere for the same reason. Once again too Mercedes dominated and with Ferrari were in a different race from the rest virtually. It was on during prime time in the sport’s European core market and for once there was nearly no football to take attention away. F1 had the stage and fluffed its lines.
If the race did anything it was to shine a pitiless light over F1’s problems of the now and the sense that the sport can’t go on like this was heavy afterwards. Gumball Pirellis and DRS were sticking plasters that now seem to have lost their stick. We can’t blame the track either as Interlagos is one of the better ones for overtaking. The culprit, as it always has been, is aero. But we have the usual matter of whether the sport can concoct something that will solve things. Not too many are confident.
Rosberg refuses to relent
In among all of this sight should not be lost that Rosberg utterly deserved his win, and whatever else went on once again appeared to have the edge on his team mate all told. He also did much the better job of looking after his tyres on a day that degradation was higher than anticipated. Further it was continuation of his good form recently.
As is F1’s way a few theories have come forth. One we knew about already, that Nico is performing with the pressure off. Another one that Lewis has relented with the title won was denied strenuously by the man himself and makes no sense given he’s been irked conspicuously by the recent order. Lewis did though mention a “change to the car” since Singapore, roughly where Nico’s form began, which some suspect might reflect a new Mercedes approach in response to Pirelli’s stricter tyre pressure limits. Alex Wurz reckoned it was simply that Nico has learned to concentrate on himself rather than forever worry what his team mate’s up to.
Whatever it is that Nico’s up to, right now it’s working.
Images: The Independent