Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola hailed last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix as “one of the most entertaining races” in the 2018 season, with various strategies in play.
Lewis Hamilton inherited an almost certain victory from Max Verstappen, after the Dutchman collided with Esteban Ocon on lap 44 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace as the Racing Point Force India F1 Team driver attempted to un-lap himself.
Hamilton started on the super-soft tyres, utilising a one-stop strategy to take the medium tyres from lap 19 to the end of the 71-lap race. Verstappen meanwhile used the two softest compounds brought to Interlagos, starting on the super-softs – stretching his further into the race – before ending the race on the middle tyre, the softs.
Scuderia Ferrari went against the grain in Saturday’s qualifying session, choosing to put Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen on the softs in Qualifying 2 – a decision that put them at a disadvantage at the start. Räikkönen made a one-stop work, avoiding the super-softs, while Vettel used all three tyre compounds on his way to a disappointing sixth place.
Isola noted that the warmer ambient and track temperatures contributed to “some cases of blistering” in the race, albeit not as drastic as the damage seen in Mexico City two weeks’ prior.
“As expected weather conditions were warmer, which contributed to some cases of blistering,” explained Isola.
“Brazil was definitely one of the most entertaining races of the year, where strategy was not only crucial but also very varied.
“Despite these extremely different approaches, the fight was very close among all the top teams and there was plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing, which is exactly the objective that we are all aiming for in Formula 1: drivers pushing hard for the win rather than managing pace.”
Just five seconds separated Hamilton, Verstappen, Räikkönen and the second Aston Martin Red Bull Racing car of Daniel Ricciardo at the chequered flag; the result enough to see Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport secure a fifth successive Constructors’ Championship title, with one round to spare.
“Red Bull and Verstappen made particularly good use of the tyres by showing consistent race-winning pace while using only the two softest compounds and stopping just once,” Isola added.
“Congratulations to Mercedes for another manufacturers’ title, sealed with another victory for Hamilton.”