The 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix starts this weekend and during the lead-up to the race we are reflecting on the Sao Paulo race from last year.
The 2021 season was very different to this year, a big difference being the many issues that Mercedes have suffered from. The team have not had a race win yet and many Mercedes fans will be hoping Lewis Hamilton can pull a similar performance to 2021 out of the bag.
The seven-time world champion won the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix after an incredible battle between Red Bull rival Max Verstappen who took second place on the podium. Valtteri Bottas, who was driving for Mercedes at the time, started on pole position but ended with third place.
Hamilton started back in tenth on the grid but had a fantastic start and very quickly started making his way up the rankings. By lap 17, Hamilton entered a battle with Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and at Turn 4 of lap 19 Hamilton managed to get the overtake done to put him in P2. The first pit stops were made around the 25th lap and Verstappen pitted for the second time on lap 41, and Hamilton on lap 44.
Hamilton and Verstappen had a terrific battle to the end, with Hamilton behind after the second pit stops, he attempted an overtake at Turn 4 of lap 48 but was shoved wide which the stewards noted but did not feel needed investigating. The Mercedes driver went for it again on lap 58 but Verstappen’s defence was too strong for him. Then on lap 59, Hamilton took advantage of DRS and took the winning overtake at turn 4. Hamilton continued to charge his way to the end, finishing a whopping 10.4 seconds ahead of the Belgian-Dutch driver.
Bottas, who finished in third, managed to get a great pit stop in under the virtual safety car in lap 30 and had his second on lap 41. Perez, who started and finished fourth, took an extra point for the fastest lap after pitting for soft tyres on lap 70.
This is similar to the battle between Red Bull and Ferrari this year with many races ending in the top four being those two teams. Well, the Ferrari’s were close behind in 2021 with Charles Leclerc finishing in fifth and Carlos Sainz coming in just behind him in sixth, despite losing three places when he had contact with McLaren driver Lando Norris at the start.
AlphaTauri driver, Pierre Gasly, finished in sixth followed by the two Alpine’s of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in seventh and eighth, respectively. Norris came in afterwards to finalise the top ten.
It is safe to say that Hamilton was the driver who stole the show at the the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, which the crowd loved. Especially after he was disqualified from qualifying on the Friday and managed to get back up to P5 during Saturday’s sprint race after starting right at the back. He then had to take a further grid penalty on the race day after an engine change meaning he started in tenth.
Hamilton held up the Brazilian Flag on the podium showing his love for the country. That, along with his childhood hero being Brazilian F1 legend Ayrton Senna, and the fact that he is a prominent advocate against racism and other standards of equality led to him being honoured with a Brazilian Citizenship earlier this year.
Unfortunately, for Hamilton he is not heading into this weekends Brazilian GP from the same position he was last year. Verstappen has already taken the win for the driver’s championship. However, the battle for second continues, but Hamilton is not in the mix for this either. Perez and Leclerc currently sit in second and third with 280 and 275 points, respectively. Hamilton’s teammate, George Russell, is fairly close behind with 231 points and Hamilton is going into the weekend in sixth place with 216 points.
Red Bull bagged the win for the constructor’s championship after Verstappen’s win at the Austin Grand Prix. Currently running in second is Ferrari with 487 points, closely followed by Mercedes with 447 points. Ferrari have been experiencing engine issues recently, which fans saw at the Mexican GP where Mercedes had an improved performance in comparison.