Strong rating for Brazilian GP despite red flags

2016 Brazilian Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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Did race control dither too long to get the Brazilian Grand Prix started? Or did waiting until the conditions improve permit a more exciting race than we would otherwise have seen?

This was the debate which divided readers in response to last weekend’s rain-hit race. However an average rating of just under eight out of ten made this one of the most popular races of the season by far.

Here’s what you had to say about the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Race control is far too conservative and they ruined then possibility of having one of the truly great races, so this one is merely good due to Verstappen.
Yosi (@Yoshif8tures)

Good race. Second red flag and Safety Car starts were ridiculous, however.

That said, I know current F1 cars have more difficulties to run under wet conditions than in the past. I see two reasons:
1: Pirelli’s wet tyres are bad (even worse than their slick tyres).
2: Parc ferme rules: no real wet set-ups allowed on cars. This is stupid and dangerous.

Instead of running for 30 minutes behind the Safety Car with temporarily increased rain intensity, the red flag came out and stopped the race-clock. That decision gave the spectator 20-25 laps more racing at speed when the rain eased off again.
Leo B

There have been only a handful of races where I’ve been scared for the drivers, and this was one of them: it seems like any lap we might see a catastrophic accident on the front ‘straight’, and it was hard to enjoy this race. Also the lengthy delays certainly did not improve the show, which was pretty good eventually.

With the championship hanging in the balance, Max Verstappen’s decision to switch to intermediate tyres may have played into Nico Rosberg’s hands. Having been second, his attempt to pressure race leader Lewis Hamilton backfired and dropped him behind the second Mercedes:

A highly entertaining race, even if it continues to prove the wet tyres need reworking.

Would have liked to have seen how the Red Bulls would have done if the team hadn’t tried to be clever. Disappointed it won’t be a winner takes all in Abu Dhabi after Rosberg got second and was distraught for Massa.

But still a very entertaining race. Goes to show how skilled some of these guys are.
Craig Wilde (@Wildfire15)

The race looked like it might be very interesting until Red Bull put Verstappen on inters which in my opinion was stupid. His drive late in the race was exceptional but I can’t ignore the fact that he was on much fresher tires than those around him.

It was interesting to hear the US broadcasters fall all over themselves praising Verstappen and wondering about his driving off-line when Michael Schumacher did it to good effect in Spain 1996. I’m definitely becoming a fan of Verstappen’s as he’s shown time after time that he’s there to race and not just safely collect points.

The race also saw an emotional departure for Felipe Massa:

Massa made an emotional departure from his last home race
It wasn’t really a great race but seeing Massa crash out, find a Brazilian flag and slowly walking down to the paddock (including the mechanics of Mercedes and Ferrari lining up mid-race to applaud him) made my eyes tear up.

Formula One has not been this emotional since 2008, when the very same man lost the world championship at the very same track. If I’m tearing up about F1, then something about this sport is still pretty healthy.
Christopher (@Chrischrill)

And spare a thought for this reader who was unfortunately failed by technology:

Such a great race. Unfortunately I was not able to watch it completely as my hard disk recorder was not able capture all (I did not plan for it to take so long) and it was not available on replay TV :(

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2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Strong rating for Brazilian GP despite red flags”

  1. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    17th November 2016, 14:32

    If there was no red flags this would get a 8 or 9.

  2. I’m quite surprised to see such a high score, with a mere 50-60 minutes of racing.

    Does this mean that people – who claim that a GP is too long – are correct?
    Does this mean that BE – who wants to introduce sprinklers – is correct?
    Does this mean that we need more emotion from racing drivers?

    PS – whatever it means, I want SP to be the final race of the year. The unpredictability is just great.

    1. @coldfly

      Does this mean that people – who claim that a GP is too long – are correct?

      Its not the quantity, its the quality.

      Right now, the mid-part of a race is spent conserving tyres and fuel, and that’s what makes it boring and makes me nap off in front of the TV.

      Instead, if the mid-part of the race were such that the challenging teams were running to a different and aggressive strategy, then it would keep viewers attention engaged as we built up to the final showdown in the last laps (e.g. where cars on two-stop and three-stop strategies converge and battle it out).

      I’ve tried viewing MotoGP a few times, and for me the biggest turn-off was its short duration. Those races were unpredictable, but that was partly because a single mistake often meant that there wasn’t enough time for that rider to recover quickly enough.

      I wouldn’t want Formula 1 to be converted to the twenty-twenty cricket format – all “wham bham thank you ma’am”.

    2. You forgot the only question that applies I think…

      Does this mean that people will enjoy watching a driver put in a legendary performance despite whatever politics are surrounding the game?
      A resounding yes.

  3. Red Bull should have known better, making a call for inters in Brazil was just plain silly, really stupid call from RB, it would have spiced up the show much more.

  4. @backwards – of all the races to miss out. I feel for you.

    Reversing Murphy’s law, I bet you’ll get the Abu Dhabi race recorded in all its pristine (and sterile) glory! Not that even a WDC battle can enliven it much.

  5. This race was a case where watching the highlights was an advantage – none of the waiting after red flags, none of the laps behind the safety car :) I was on the edge of my seat watching to see if one of the Mercs would fall off considering how treacherous it was; it’s been a long while since I was that tense during a race.

  6. Maybe a bit out of context, still…

    I’ve been seeing a lot of people closely associated to F1, and fans alike comparing Verstappen’s drive to Senna’s drive in Monaco in ’84. However, there are a couple of key differences in the two situations. One is that Senna’s Toleman qualified 2.3s off the polesitter, Alain Prost in a McLaren. This shows how little downforce he had relative to Prost that race and he still managed to nearly win it. The other fact is that this was an era when the slightest mistake meant a very serious or maybe even a fatal injury.
    Verstappen on the other hand was driving a Red Bull that has the class-of-the-field aero, evident from Ricciardo’s pole in Monaco . With the red flag making setup changes possible, it could be argued that Max had the best car on the track.
    So even though his drive was scinitillating and one of highlights of the season for me, I couldn’t argue that it was as great as Senna’s drive.

    1. It’s arguable I think, even having mechanical pace that Senna didn’t, he still showed incredible race-craft (nearly an overtake a lap!) and an understanding of the limit of grip that’s rarely seen across all forms of motorsport honestly. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see Rosberg or Hamilton further down the field, as they were the only drivers relatively untested in terms of comparable ability.

      There’s a reason everyone in the paddock congratulated him on that drive. While you’re probably right in that it wasn’t as great as Senna’s drive, I think it’s undoubtedly in the same ball park.

      1. Senna also had an advantage of sorts in Monaco 1984 ironically due to having less power in his naturally aspirated engine compared to his rivals from the turbo power big teams. It meant less wheel spin which has all sorts of positive implications. This fact was further cemented by other drivers in naturally aspirated cars such as Stefan Bellof also having a strong race in wet conditions. That said, the sheer performance gap between the 1984 McLaren and Toleman was indeed far greater than that between 2016 Mercedes and Red Bull.
        Verstappen’s drive is more reminiscent to that of Michael Schumacher in Spain 1996 due to the way how tyres played role.

    2. I understand your argument but Ricciardo finished 8th nevertheless, which shows Max did have exceptional pace compared to his teammate.

      1. Non comparable… Monaco is a low speed track, engine power is a lesser factor. Confirmed by the fact Monaco was the only track where RBR came up to Mercedes level. Brazil is not a track that suits RBR very well, the difference between Mercedes and even Ferrari was a factor.

        In the wet Mercedes power was still second to none. Max could overtake Rosberg cause 1. Rosberg is not the best wet master.. (although he did pretty good in Brazil) 2. Rosberg made a mistake. Mercedes was the faster car, no doubt about that.

        Senna is untouchable by default, maybe the drive of Verstappen reminded many of that era, but to compare the drivers is sheer impossible. Even to compare Hamilton and Verstappen is in no way fair as they drove a different race in a different car. Verstappen smashed his team mate like no other on the grid did… that if a fact and is a frame of reference of his performance

  7. It’s been a while we’ve had a race where the inter/wet phase hasn’t been so clear and many teams tried switching to inters. Many failed, others gained time and in the end the right call won as it should be, strategy was an actual thing combined with the perfect gamble. Would this be an exciting thing in dry races too were it not for the ridiculous ‘You need to use both an option and a prime’? Teams thinking they could do the entire race on a set of the hardest versus a team that thinks they would do one stop on the second hardest versus an all out attacking manor who’d try to double stop for the softest…

  8. If we take out the interruptions it was a very entertaining race, especially the fact there was a lot of pure overtakes for position.

  9. I’ve read a lot of comments about VES driving on fresh tires. But according to Pirelli almost all cars switched their tires twice at the red flags. Also the last tires of VES weren’t new but were used tires. Maybe less used then others but still not fresh.

  10. Quite a few of the GPs would have had a better rating if there was a challenge for the lead…..has been a bit boring at the front too many times…..(as it was when Seb was winning )…but the future is looking better

  11. Hey @keithcollantine, what about doing some kind of poll to find out everyone’s top 5 favorite circuits and then cross check those results with the average rating of those races in the years on your data base… could be interesting!

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