More Racing Points in the Bag at Scrappy Interlagos
19 November 2019 | Ravenol Marketing
Our F1 Technical Partners SportPesa Racing Point got another couple of points at the Brazilian GP, amid the chaos of the closing stages of the race, after Sergio “Checo” Perez came home in 9th.
The race started far better for teammate Lance Stroll, who made up for a poor qualifying by gaining three places on the opening lap, to take him ahead of Checo and up into 14th. And whilst Checo was struggling with his battle with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, Lance was sailing past the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo and the Haas of Kevin Magnusson, up into 12th.
Then on Lap 8 there was a little taste of the drama later to come, as serial overtaker Ricciardo was a little messy passing Magnusson and caused him to spin, damaging his own front wing in the process. But both cars made it back to the pits and back out onto the track.
Checo, who was on a 2 stopping strategy, came in for his pitstop early on Lap 18, and came back out in 17th, but the surprise move meant he managed to undercut a fair few drivers ahead. He was also able to go on the offensive with his fresh tyres, and soon caught up to Magnusson to take 15th. A few laps later, race leader Max Verstappen also came in for his 1st pitstop, the Red Bull crew managing an amazing 1.9 second pitstop to take the shortest stop record.
Meanwhile 1 stopping Lance was already running in the points as the others pitted around him, but soon came under fire from front running Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso. He came in for his stop on Lap 29 and rejoined the track in 16th, well behind teammate Checo who was up into 10th by now, but many of the cars ahead would be stopping again.
Checo came in for his 2nd stop on Lap 46 and came back out in 15th, with Lance slightly ahead in 12th. However, a few laps later, the Interlagos drama started. The Mercedes engine of Valtteri Bottas’s car started smoking. He made a move to pass Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, but didn’t have enough power to pull it off, then shortly after had to pull over. Even though he was well off the track, a Safety Car was eventually called, which was bad luck for Checo as he wasn’t able to take advantage of a free pitstop. Lance did stop a couple of laps later and rejoined in 15th.
By the time the Safety Car came in on Lap 60, Checo was in 11th, but lost a couple of places at the restart. Up at the front, Verstappen managed to get past Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to retake take lead, and despite the World Champion’s best efforts, the flying Dutchman made it stick. His teammate Alex Albon also got a great restart, managing to make it past both Ferraris.
A few laps later, Lance was hot on the tail of Magnusson and managed to get past him an up into 14th, then the F1 drama carnival visited Interlagos. Leclerc overtook teammate Sebastian Vettel, who wasn’t content with this and made a move to take the place back under DRS. There was contact – although it wasn’t a particularly hard knock – and Leclerc’s wheel almost instantaneously delaminated, sending him off the track and almost into the barriers, and Vettel too ended up pulling over out of the race. Debris was strewn all over the track, unfortunately right into the path of Lance. He was unable to avoid it and ended up with suspension failure and had no choice but to pull over.
The Safety Car came out for a second time, as the Ferrari double DNF moved Checo up into the points positions. Up at the front, Verstappen was now leading from teammate Albon, followed by Gasly and Hamilton. Once the cars restarted again on Lap 29, Hamilton made short work of Gasly and set his sights on Albon on the closing laps. Determined to finish on the top step, he made a move on Albon but there was contact and Albon spun, dropping him down to 15th. This gave Checo a boost into 9th and Racing Point some much needed extra points.
Meanwhile Verstappen came home with a win for Red Bull, followed by a jubilant Gasly for Toro Rosso – his 1st F1 podium. There was also another 1st podium for Carlos Sainz, who was promoted to 3rd after the race when Hamilton was given a 5 second penalty for causing a collision.
So the penultimate F1 race is over. Just one more chance for Racing Point to get some more points in the bag this season before all attention is turned to 2020 and the start of a new season. Next up, Abu Dhabi. We’ll join you again on the 1st of December for this extra late F1 season special.