And that, my friends, was 2011. The Brazilian Grand Prix topped off an exciting but possibly unsurprising season with a surprisingly average race at Interlagos if not for a very well driven race from winner Mark Webber. It’s really nice to see Mark back on the top spot an it’s just what he needed after failing to live up to his almost-champion success of 2011 but there’s plenty to look at as we look back at both the race and the season. Of course, many will dispute (just as I did during the race) that the whole gearbox stuff with Sebastian Vettel was a bit inconspicuous but that’s just us F1 fans being lovably paranoid as ever. So, Interlagos – how was it for you?
- Don’t Bottle it Now – I was quite surprised to see Adrian Sutil finish a very strong 6th place at the Brazilian Grand Prix as he’s had an oddly productive season. I say odd because, apart from getting rowdy in a Chinese club with a bottle, we haven’t really heard much from Adrian with his rookie team mate being impressive but he’s ended up 9th in the World Championship – 1st outside of the top 4 teams, undoubtedly a big success for Force India in that respect yet he’s unsure of a drive in 2012. As for Interlagos though he did drive very, very well and Force India really have come on since that day in Spa when Giancarlo Fisichella stunned everyone with that pole lap so fair play to both Sutil and the team, very very strong race for the German. Another driver that once again deserves credit for a strong drive has to be Jenson Button too, once again finishing on the podium for what must be at least 10 or 11 times he’s got on the podium now this season. What a year he has had, totally blown away his team mate and definitely quietened doubters who felt he couldn’t force his way into a team like McLaren.
- Seven Heaven – It turned out to be Sauber who managed to secure that seventh place championship finish too, after a nice little battle between themselves and Toro Rosso for that position in the constructors table. Kamui Kobayashi has been all but missing at times during the latter half of 2011 in all honesty but much like Sutil he drove a very solid race to finish up in the points and get this elusive position as any higher position means more money for these smaller teams. Money is also going to be a big factor for Lotus aka Team Lotus aka Caterham aka Air Asia aka Tony Motors or whatever. Two years in a row with a 10th place championship finish means a $30million+ sum being injected into the team – exciting times for the green and yellow outfit
- The Rain in Spain isn’t in Brazil – So where was that rain we were all told about constantly all weekend in the race? I mean, I love Interlagos anyways as a circuit and even though the race it provided definitely wasn’t a classic it still kicks the backside of most but it was bone dry throughout. The race itself was pretty much nothing memorable – probably the real talking point was getting the pleasure of watching Massa and Hamilton battle it out once more but with no end result following a gearbox issue for Lewis. Gearboxes up and down the circuit were feeling the effects of a long season though with plenty of issues to the likes of Di Resta, Hamilton and Vettel all suffering but it didn’t change the race hugely. Vettel submitted another win, Di Resta still topped off an impressive season and Lewis was prevented another meeting with his Brazilian foe. On the plus side, the two hugged after the race and all is well again which is lovely news.
- I’m Just Not Inter You – It’s a shame the season ended on a bit of a dud but it could’ve been far worse. It could have been Abu Dhabi, for example. I think what redeems Interlagos as a race is the fact even through the TV you can feel the atmosphere heaving through and the crowd chants, the passion from the fans, and the fact it’s still an enjoyable circuit to watch. Brazilian fans are just such a joy to watch as they chant ‘RUBINHO! RUBINHO!’ or of course remind us of the late great Ayrton Senna. So I can forgive it for having average races but I still didn’t necessarily feel bored – there just wasn’t a huge amount to talk about and it just kind of ended the season quietly. Apart from Timo Glock who’s team clearly wanted to remind him how frustrating 2011 has been by ending his season a wheel down on his car. Just about sums up his season, sadly.
So that’s another season of Formula 1 sorted and now we look to the off season, the cold, saddening period with no races to watch and no news for a month or two until the launches. The length calendar means we’re getting a shorter off-season than usual but I’ll miss Formula 1 as I always so. Yes, Sebastian Vettel dominated the victories but we’ve had some wonderfully entertaining races and we never had Bahrain either, win win. The latter half of the season produced a few duds but that’s F1, nothing can be perfect. Even that Vettel chap hasn’t been perfect this year. Close, though.
I’ll have a bit of news for the future of this blog and what’s happening hopefully over the winter very soon but I have yet to decide whether these race reviews will return in 2012. I’m sure I’ll let you guys know in good time but if it is the case we no longer have these reviews then I thank you very much for reading and contributing every race. It’s always been a pleasure.
This is where I cut off the power and end the programming early in true BBC F1 style.