Start, Interlagos, 2021

Bottas beats Verstappen to sprint win as Hamilton races from last to fifth

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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[raceweekendpromotion]Valtteri Bottas claimed pole for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix by triumphing in the Saturday afternoon Sprint Qualifying.

The Mercedes driver started second on the grid for the 24-lap race. With his soft compound Pirelli tyres providing more grip than the mediums used by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of him, Bottas immediately shot past him at the start.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr also picked the soft tyre, and he demoted Verstappen to third at turn four. The championship leader then ran wide off track and hit the transition from the grass hard as he returned to the asphalt almost lost another spot to team mate Sergio Perez.

The dirt picked up on the tyres during that off meant that the top two were able to break away from Verstappen. Bottas was 2.7 seconds clear after two laps. The more durable medium compound came to Verstappen’s advantage later on, however, and after diving down the inside of Sainz on lap four he hunted down Bottas.

But with the ambient temperatures not punishing the soft tyres too much, Bottas was able to respond to Verstappen’s pace late on and beat him to the line by just over a second.

The two points for second place still means Verstappen extends his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton, who also chose medium tyres as he charged from 20th on the grid up to fifth following his disqualification from qualifying.

Taking the outside line at the opening corner was Hamilton’s preferred method of passing as he moved up the order, and on the opening lap he passed four cars fairly promptly. His Mercedes visibly struggled in the dirty air at times though, and it took him several laps to find a way by Daniel Ricciardo.

Sainz secured third place ahead of Perez, meaning they will share row two of the grand prix grid, but Perez was not happy as he perceived Sainz to be moving under braking when he was trying to pass him.

Lando Norris passed Charles Leclerc for fifth, then lost the place to an inspired lunge by Hamilton down the inside of the first corner as the final lap began. The world champion will take a five-place grid penalty before tomorrow’s race, meaning he will start the grand prix from 10th position.

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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79 comments on “Bottas beats Verstappen to sprint win as Hamilton races from last to fifth”

  1. Superb drive by Lewis. Absolute class act.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      13th November 2021, 20:30

      +1

      1. geoffgroom44 (@)
        13th November 2021, 20:32

        staggering how LH just never gives up. after all these years, still hungry for wins and for giving his best. an amzing man.

    2. I agree that was a mega drive, and with a lot of pressure on him to not make a mistake.

      1. Mega :) In a 1 sec faster car, oh come on.

        1. You think Bottas would have made P5 if he started from the back?

        2. Usually you need more than a second advantage to pass easily, if you look at recent races and. You need a meaningful tire overlap or pass a fast car.

        3. 1sec faster car and opponents not that eager to waste PU lifetime on a meaningless fight for a position that didnt matter on Sunday.

    3. 100%
      Middle Finger..

  2. It may be time to reshuffle Mercedes motorsport’s managerial positions. Starting with Wolff. What was that message at the end? Did he refer to the stewards’ decision? So he was fed up with a penalty for an illegal car and that’s all he can tell about it? Sounds like time for a change for me.

    1. I get wolffs frustration as the wing was tested in fp1 and was fine and the centre part of the win was fine. This means it’s a fault or damage to the wing. Not a blatant illegal car. Anyone in that position would be frustrated but rules are rules even if it happened during qualifying and you can not do anything about it.

  3. The overspeed Hamilton has was amazing. Turns out that this race is Hamilton to lose. Let’s see tomorrow, I guess a nice battle with Verstappen.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      13th November 2021, 20:28

      assuming the RB can make it through 71 laps,huh? I mean, it may take a lot of tape to hold it together :-)

      1. Ahah, relevant joke with that last race weekend.

  4. Very surprised that the best car of the field, on the longer lasting tyres, couldn’t beat Bottas.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      13th November 2021, 20:30

      Maybe their engine is getting tired ? Even engines can get fed up listening to Marko,huh?

      1. @geoffgroom44

        Honestly, at this point, Marko is just a troll. I have stopped reading and listening to anything he has been saying. Too much bad wine just like Toto said. At least Horner has sense in the things he says. But Marko is just a troll already.

    2. Bottas’s laps towards the end were scruffy at best. Sliding all over through the last corners and he still won.

      1. Verstappen had a big drift through t12 on lap 22 or 23 and that was it.

    3. Max didn’t take risks there. He had plenty to lose and nothing to gain.

      Perez stuck behind Sainz on the other hand, embarassing.

      1. Well, to play devil’s advocate, perez threw away plenty of points by taking too many risks this year, if he can’t pass without making troubles, it’s better if he stays 4th (remember imola spin example).

    4. Very surprised that the best car of the field, on the longer lasting tyres, couldn’t beat Bottas.

      Because Mercedes has been the fastest car in Brazil. Isn’t that clear already? New racing weekend, new story. Red Bull was clearly the fastest in Mexico as it’s been ebbs and flows between them this season.

  5. That was insightful. So tomorrow Max 1, Lewis 2, Bottas 3, Perez 4. Basically Lewis only has to overtake Perez. The rest will be a breeze for him seeing what he can do over just 24 laps. I was underwhelmed by Leclerc, Lando and Perez today.

    1. Really? I think Lando did great.

      1. He did a great faking a defence against Hamilton.

        1. That ICBM from Hamilton was nuts. Give Lando a break there.

          1. @dmw
            He let Hamilton pass in the last lap knowing that he will not lose his position due to Hamilton’s grid penalty. Lando has shown this year that he would rather die than being overtaken and didn’t refrain from pulling questionable moves over his rivals.
            However, he has been very soft with Hamilton whenever he saw him in his mirror. Name any driver this year who has overtaken Lando Norris from the inside without a fight besides Hamilton.

      2. You are right. Lando is not rightfully in that list. The overspeed of Ham was too big and he did get Leclerc

  6. Basically Lewis only has to overtake Perez

    Hamilton has a 5 position penalty tomorrow

  7. Eh, Hamilton’s drive reminded me a lot of Michael Schumacher’s race at this venue in 2006. In a car clearly faster than those around him he carved through a field who weren’t generally that bothered about defending against him. Mind you, some people seem to rate Schumacher’s drive that day as one of the greatest of all time, so maybe by that yardstick it was truly epic. I just didn’t see it that way.

    1. Reminded me also. Schumacher did the comeback twice due to the puncture. Also, those were DRS-less times. And that was a race, not a something.

    2. It is not really about that.

      It is about the positioning of the car. The different lines he was taking all the time. The lunges he was going for. The continuous 24 lap pounding he gave to the car. The managing of the tyres that he was able to push for so long and did not make a single mistake.

      Do you really think that Max would have reached p5 in a Merc? I think he would have reached p6 at the most.

      1. I don’t think there is too much tire managing in the spring race, more so on medium tires and low temperatures like today.

      2. Nope, he reached P3 in a red bull in 2016 ;)

        1. In a full rave, not in 24 laps!

          1. In 16 laps actually…went from 2nd to 17th in lap 55

      3. Jose Lopes da Silva
        14th November 2021, 8:25

        “Do you really think that Max would have reached p5 in a Merc?”
        Yes.

    3. There was a degree of we can’t be bothered by the ones overtaken indeed. And rightfully so. Why take a risk in a Sprint, while the Merc is usually 20 secs up the field showing its got some overspeed in there. I expect the same tomorrow. The first challenge for Lewis is Perez. All before that will open the door again. Why postpone the inevitable and interfere with the championship? They’ve got their own battles going on for the constructors. Far more important than keeping Lewis behind.

  8. Tomorrow will an easy win for HAM.

    1. From P10?! I hardly think so. If Perez doesn’t have a good first lap, then Hamilton could get up to P3 or P2, depending on where Bottas is (he will definitely give 2nd place to Hamilton).

      1. I don’t think so either. Lewis was 20 seconds behind Bottas and Max.

        1. If the sprint race had continued, hamilton would’ve quickly passed perez and sainz and then would’ve struggled more with verstappen and bottas cause not only did they have a sizeable gap, but they were the fastest cars on track apart from him.

    2. Depends on where Bottas vs Max is once Lewis clears Perez.

      1. once Lewis clears Perez

        Don’t take that for granted. No one could be bothered today to defend from Lew, but Perez will. And he has shown before he is able to do it.
        Having both Red Bulls finishing before Lew tomorrow (and Max ahead of Checo, which is a given) would be disastrous for Lew’s WDC hopes, as Max would come very close to the point in which he could win the WDC by being third in the rest of the races, not needing to fight the Mercs. However Valtteri may be a tough nut to crack tomorrow, for what we have seen today, unless Max can manage to get to T1 first. Or maybe undercutting…

    3. And then the fairies are coming out to play.

    4. Yep. That Merc is yet again showing its the class of the field. All these people saying the RB is quickest are deluded.

      1. The RB was the fastest car in Mexico though. And in Zandvoort too. And at others tracks as well.

  9. Good job by Bottas to not only take pole away from Verstappen, but also one extra point.
    Verstappen lost a crucial amount of time, after being passed by Sainz on the opening lap. He had the speed for pole, but just couldn’t get close enough to overtake Bottas. But P2 is still a good starting position for tomorrow’s race.
    Great drive by Sainz to seal P3 and get an extra point for the team. Great start, possibly the best in the entire field, and good managment on the soft tyres.
    Disappointing performance from Checo. He clearly had enough of a pace advantage to overtake Sainz, just didn’t manage to get close enough. RB’s weak straightline speed didn’t help him either. He should be able to clear the Ferrari comfortably tomorrow though.
    A nice recovery from Hamilton. He made very good use of that fresh engine to battle through the field and into the top 5. Starting from P10 tomorrow, P4 is definitely an achievable goal, possibly even a podium. Under normal circumstances, he would need a nicely timed SC to have shot at the win (or Verstappen having contact with somebody on lap 1/retiring altogether).

    1. Great drive by Sainz to seal P3 and get an extra point for the team.

      Some great races by Sainz lately. He’s currently the better Ferrari driver IMO.

      1. jff

        Some great races by Sainz lately. He’s currently the better Ferrari driver IMO.

        Some quiet and effective races from Leclerc seem to have gone unnoticed by you, like P4 in Austin.

      2. If sainz is the better ferrari driver atm ferrari has the best line up of the field, seeing as the worse one is like a top 3 season driver.

        1. @esploratore1

          If sainz is the better ferrari driver atm ferrari has the best line up of the field, seeing as the worse one is like a top 3 season driver.

          In may rankings Leclerc just reached top-2, overtaking Norris who has been a bit underwhelming lately. If you didn’t forget Hamilton’s significant mistakes and his and Mercedes’ bad strategy calls lately, you still put him behind them both.

    2. I think that is very pessimistic for hamilton, in my opinion he’s in for the win everything going smooth.

      1. Looks like I was right with this prediction, though I had also expected hamilton to be in for the win in hungary starting from 11th, and I’d say he could’ve gone to 3rd eventually, the weather didn’t help him, but the ultimate pitting decision at 7 laps to go wasn’t great.

  10. Very very average race from Ric….. Disappointing.

    1. Not surprising though. One of the most overrated drivers on the grid.
      I remember all the comments pre-season that he would beat Norris easily. Well, that’s not happened.

      1. Agree. DR gained an inflated reputation on trouncing SV in one of the latter’s worst years in F1. DR certainly did well that year, but the real great drivers are there, every weekend, every year. It reminds me of Heinz-Harald Frentzen who had a spectacular year in 1999, but other than that was decidedly average.

        1. Actually the frentzen narrative was that he ALWAYS drove well except when he got a championship car in 1997, so he’s like a fisichella, gasly etc., one who can drive cars well but can’t rise to the challenge of a top car.

          1. Gasly only had one year of experience in a F1. The RB was very tricky (euphemism) to drive. Verstappen said so, and as indicated that it got better the following years.
            All in all, it’s unfair to put Gasly in that list yet. He’s shown great mental strength since his demotion, and had driven superbly. Give him a championship contender and see what he’s capable of now.

  11. The procedure of formation lap must be revised. Race after race the drivers at the back are leaving themselves bigger & bigger gaps. The leading drivers are stuck on the grid for so long and sooner or later there will be accidents because of that.

    Drivers ought to be addressed that the 10 car gap is the absolute limit and if they get over it they will be punished.

    1. why are we going to have accidents before of that?

      1. Because of cold tyres, cold brakes.

  12. Awesome drive from Hamilton. I expect Max to be much quicker than Bottas tomorrow if they both start in mediums.

    1. True. But it will be hard to pass that Mercedes if Bottas holds the lead at the start. Max might be forced to pit early to get past him. I expect Hamilton may go long if he doesn’t get stacked behind the ferraris, gasly, and Norris.

  13. Funny how it a week ago rbr blew Mercedes doors off now the tables are turned. What a season. The only thing we can be sure of every week is that partisans will say, about the faster team, it’s the car.

  14. Just watched this on CH4 highlights. Wow. Incredible drive from Lewis. Fair play to Bottas as well. Exciting grid for the race and nothing is over yet.

    Hamilton though.. holy sh!€. What a drive.

  15. All emotional reactions by side, Lewis did a great job without scoring any points. Now we wait what show we get tomorrow. Can’t wait.

  16. All the “Lewisteria” about a drive from 20th to 5th, in a car which was obviously superior to all those he overtook, aided by DRS. No doubt a very good drive by LH, but I don’t recall nearly as much fuss being made about MV’s recovery drive from 20th to 2nd in Sochi.

    1. Don’t forget: overtaking cars that couldn’t be bothered to defend.

      1. Yes indeed. I wonder what TW would had to say about one of those cars if they had defended harder collided with golden boy LH? I’m guessing it wouldn’t have been written off as a “racing incident” like Silverstone.

      2. This. Sure it was a great drive from HAM, but other drivers were being extra cautious as their finishing positions determine the grid spot for Sunday.

    2. Even as a verstappen fan, there’s a noticeable difference: this was a sprint race (1\3 duration), that was a full race, and it had unusual circumstances that helped verstappen, the rain in the end.

      1. That may be true – but I still didn’t see any fuss made about, what was, a tremendous recovery drive. Regardless of what the circumstances were, MV exploited them to the maximum. LH did so here too – but it’s just the disparity of accolades between the two which I find astounding.

        1. I’m sure there are areas of the internet that went totally ballistic after Sochi and Verstappen’s drive. After all, he’s the most popular driver in F1 among the fans and is more often than Hamilton in contention for ‘driver of the race’ vote.

          1. @x303

            I’m sure there are areas of the internet that went totally ballistic after Sochi and Verstappen’s drive. After all, he’s the most popular driver in F1 among the fans and is more often than Hamilton in contention for ‘driver of the race’ vote.

            Here’s the disparity. Hamilton is still the media’s golden boy by miles ahead of Verstappen. And I don’t see it changing easily. If even an inconsistent season by Lewis (comparing to high standards here) and an amazing throughout performance from Max this year haven’t changed that, what else will? Only an utterly decline from the former, maybe.

          2. @rodewulf

            I see where you’re coming from @rodewulf. But media perception is exactly that: a perception. By the way I thought the initial point was about the fans reaction, not the media coverage.

          3. @x303

            I see where you’re coming from @rodewulf. But media perception is exactly that: a perception.

            Fair enough, a perception of people who have some level of influence, to say the least.

            By the way I thought the initial point was about the fans reaction, not the media coverage.

            Both are within the topic. Fans might be slightly more inclined to Max overall, but in British media and the others influenced by it the margins are clearly bigger on Lewis’ favour. You simply can’t overlook that. British media more or less plays the role of “global media” in Formula 1 and it has, as expected, a noticeable bias for him.

  17. Isn’t it surprising to anyone that Bottas can have a good race ONLY if Hamilton starts way behind?
    Expect the new engine for Bottas the next race in Qatar because he overstresses it attempting to keep Verstappen behind at all cost.

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