Parc Ferme: Miracles of Brazil and Teammates with a small ‘t’

Parc Ferme: Brazil Miracles and Teammates with a small ‘t’

Parc Ferme: Miracles of Brazil and Teammates with a small ‘t’Poised for another Red Bull rout of the Formula 1 grid, I had already pre-fluffed my sleep pillow for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, that is until Kevin Magnussen got himself into Q3!

Leading the other drivers out of the pits in his Haas, “K-Mag” did what the rest of the field couldn’t – a flawless lap. Then as if by design, George Russell put himself and his Mercedes in the gravel at Turn 1 precipitating a Red Flag.

Sitting in the pits whilst Russell was being dug out of the sand, he must have wondered how long the name “K Magnussen” would stay at the top of the time sheet. Then the rain started to fall, and he received his answer, he had just earned his first career pole.

With Haas sitting on the front row of the grid for the Sprint Race, you would have thought the Racing Gods would have had their fill of interference for the weekend. But no, they were going to stay for the duration and well, play God.

When you’re down… you’re out

However, the Universe demands balance. The Racing Gods can’t just dish out miracles willy-nilly. If they give to one, then they must take from another. In this instance, Mick Schumacher appeared to be the loser. With his teammate on pole and his seat under question for 2023 (he was confirmed to be out of Haas by the time this piece was published), qualifying at the opposite end of the grid was not a good look.

Regardless of the reasons, everyone on the pit wall must have heard the huge sigh heaved by Guenther Steiner as he nudged Mick Jr.’s 2023 contract into the bin.

Cinderella, you shall go to the Ball!

Meanwhile, the Racing Gods continued handing out the good stuff, mainly to Mercedes and “Boy Russell”. To win a Grand Prix is one thing, but to win the weekend’s Sprint Race too, was the second miracle.

George drove exceptionally well all weekend and the Team deserved the result if nothing else for their never say die attitude they have displayed all year. However, the Feature race victory would never have happened if it hadn’t been for his fairy godmother in the form of Lewis Hamilton.

Unlike the display from other so-called teammates, Hamilton played a major part in Russell’s victory; especially when he turned Max Verstappen’s car into a pumpkin at Turn 2. He then continued to fulfil the role of a committed wingman, protecting George’s six for the balance of the race. Something most un-race driver like.

Oops, was that you there?

Hamilton’s and Verstappen’s coming together was reminiscent of their 2022 clashes and it is unlikely much will change in the future.

I appreciate many will not understand why “The Klompmeister” got the penalty but suffice it to say I suspect he used one of his Max MK1 tactics which will have shown up on the telemetry. Either way, the Stewards gave him a nominal five-second penalty which was nothing compared to the damage to his car.

However, despite multiple pit stops he still managed to finish in sixth, passing his teammate a few laps before the end of the race. This performance was worthy of the Driver of the day award until another incident put paid to that…

Take one for the team?

Asked by Christian Horner to give the place back to Sergio Perez and assist the team to achieve the driver double in the Championship, his answer was an unwavering ‘nee’.

Max has his reasons apparently, something to do with Perez’s actions in Monaco. However, on balance Checo has been of more help to him than a hindrance in winning his Titles. Ultimately, he (Max) had nothing to lose but decided to put a sixth-place finish ahead of his boss, his Team and Perez.

Disappointing considering what they have all done for him and possibly short-sighted for the future. ‘Pas op’ Max, Karma may be a bitch in 2023.

Sacre Bleu!

To be fair he wasn’t alone in giving the “bird” to his boss and teammate. Esteban Ocon was also handing out some “non’s” too although not being shy, Fernando Alonso was also handing them back! If you think there are driver fireworks at Alpine now, just wait till 2023 and the arrival of Pierre Gasly. I foresee a French comedy gift here.

S’il vous plaît…

Meanwhile, at Ferrari,  Charles Leclerc lowered himself to ask Carlos Sainz to bend over and drop his podium for the team. Sorry, but non!  Giving up sixth place is one thing, but giving up a podium, I don’t think so.

For me, Leclerc has been somewhat absent since Japan when the 2022 World Championship Avenue became a cul-de-sac.  Yes, Ferrari has been doing what they do best pit side, but Sainz has continued to battle away despite their finest efforts to thwart him. The team know this, which is why we only heard Charles’ voice crying over the radio.

Pull yourself together man and show some grit for that large sum of money you’re being paid!

Eagles may soar but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines…

Finally, the person I thought was dragging himself out of the “drivers in F1 who shouldn’t be“ Club returned to it with a bump – literally.

Lance Stroll’s move to the left in Austin on Alonso was relatively subtle compared to the one he made on his teammate in Brazil. Forced well onto the grass, Sebastien Vettel’s stoic response of “Ok” was the most repressed expression of indignation I’ve ever heard a driver voice.

The Brazilian Grand Prix underlined two distinct aspects about F1 that secretly we already knew: Firstly, it exists in a fairy tale world all its own. Secondly, and this goes for motor racing generally, the term teammate is an oxymoron. There might be no “I” in it, but there is “me”, twice!