A one-stop strategy from supersoft to soft won Sunday afternoon’s penultimate round of the 2017 Formula One season in Brazil on Sunday afternoon, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking the lead in the action-packed first lap of the race and then maintaining his advantage to the finish – managing to make his sole pit stop without losing the effective race lead.
Two alternative strategies provided other highlights of the race.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was forced to start from the pit lane and worked his way up the field after being one of just five drivers to start the race on the more durable soft tyre. He pitted from the lead on lap 43, rejoining fifth, then used the extra speed of the supersoft to help him finish fourth.
“I had a great time, I enjoyed the race very much. I had so much pace today, it would have been an easy win this weekend,” said Lewis. “So on the one side I am disappointed that I put myself in the worst position for today. But yesterday is behind me, today has been very positive, I had fun coming through – it felt like the go-karting days where I would always start in the back in my first year or two.”
“My goal today was really to just try and redeem yesterday’s mistake, to make the team proud and get some points back. I was trying to get back to third, I just ran out of tyres in the end. But I enjoyed the battle today and hopefully that continues to show to everyone that I still have a lot of fire in my heart and many, many more races to go.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo also started on the soft tyre from 14th after a grid penalty, but dropped even further down the order after being caught up in the early drama and having to stop for a fresh set of softs on lap one. He then stopped again for supersofts later in the race, working his way up to sixth at the finish. His team mate Max Verstappen also used a two-stopper, finishing fifth after a late stop for more supersofts.
“Today we experienced the hottest track temperatures that we have seen so far this weekend by some margin; largely in excess of 50 degrees centigrade at the start of the race,” said Pirelli’s Mario Isola. “ Nonetheless, most frontrunners were able to complete the race with just one pit stop as expected, helped by an early safety car.”
“ Lewis Hamilton in particular drove an extraordinary race, setting fastest laps on old soft tyres even when surrounded by cars on newer supersofts. Red Bull also proved that an alternative strategy could work, with both cars finishing strongly despite Daniel Ricciardo being forced into an extra stop at the end of the first lap.”
“We now remain at Interlagos for the final 2018 tyre test of the year, with McLaren on Tuesday and Wednesday, before all the teams get the chance to experience next year’s tyres for the first time at Abu Dhabi after the last grand prix of the season.”