Pole and sprint victory for Bottas and comeback for Hamilton


  • The FIA ​​notifies, 20 hours later, the harshest sanction to the Mercedes driver for breaching the DRS regulations on the rear wing

Valtteri Bottas has imposed his law this Saturday in Brazil, in the third sprint race this season with a view to adopting this experimental format in the future. The Finn, who has already won the short race at Monza, has repeated at the top of the podium, has added the three points of victory and has secured the pole for Sunday against a Max Verstappen who has offered his most conservative version, reserving his ‘bullets’ for the long race tomorrow Sunday. Carlos Sainz has completed the podium after a powerful display at the start and has endured the ‘type’ before Sergio perez, while Lewis Hamilton he starred in a stellar comeback from the back of the grid to finish fifth.

Unnecessary suspense

The true story has been written in the run-up to the race and more specifically in the FIA ​​offices at the Interlagos circuit. A story that could be summarized with the sentence of Mercedes: “We are not going to appeal the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton. We want to win this title on the track & rdquor ;.

It was the end of a strange chapter that began 20 hours earlier on Friday after a qualifying session that Hamilton overwhelmingly dominated. Championship leader Max Verstappen finished almost half a second behind. Incredulous, the Dutchman got out of his car and approached Hamilton’s, noticed the wing of the W12 and without thinking too much he even dared to touch it. Big mistake.

The stewards detected a configuration fault in the Mercedes number 44. The FIA ​​regulations state that with the DRS activated and the upper wing open, the maximum distance between the 2 elements of the rear wing must be 85mm. That of Hamilton’s car was superior. Safe sanction, regulation in hand. The FIA ​​technical delegate, Jo Bauer, was the one who sent the report after removing the wing and sealing it.

But at the last minute the surprise jumped. When Hamilton himself already assumed that he would be disqualified (he even deleted a tweet about it on his social networks), it was announced that the decision was postponed until this Saturday and that the commissioners would also call to testify to Max Verstappen for touching the Mercedes in the parc fermé.

The FIA ​​has maintained the suspense and Hamilton has had to contest the free practice with another wing, while they continued investigating. In the middle of the afternoon the decision was known: a fine of 50,000 euros for Verstappen and disqualification of Hamilton, forcing the seven-time champion to start last. “The world is not over & rdquor ;, they pointed from their fan club. Indeed, the sprint race distributes only 3, 2 and 1 points to the leading trio.

Verstappen, who won the first sprint event at Silverstone, started first, with bottas stuck in his wake. The Dutchman was surprised by the very aggressive Mercedes Finn with his soft-tire strategy, which has beaten him cleanly. Hamilton has recovered four places at the start and Carlos Sainz has won three to even surpass Verstappen and place second with the Ferrari. Impressive start for the Madrilenian, who despite everything has been ‘hunted’ at the end by Max but he has been able to withstand the pressure to which he has been subjected ‘Czech’ with the other Red Bull.

Alonso finishes 12th

The final fifth position of Hamilton, his ability to come back from the back of the grid in just 24 laps, has been essential for the race this Sunday. And is that Lewis It drags another five-position penalty for tomorrow after resorting to the fifth internal combustion engine. Mercedes has insisted that this is not due to reliability problems, but rather it is about maximizing performance in the last four grands prix of a ‘high voltage’ season. Hamilton it is ‘touched’ but not ‘sunken’.

As to Fernando Alonso, who had led free practice 2, this time the Spaniard had to settle for 12th position.

Sprint and grid classification:

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 29’09 “559

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) a 1″170

3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) at 18 “723

4. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) at 19 “787

5. Lando Norris (McLaren) at 22 “558

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) a 25″056

7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) a 34″158

8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) a 24″632

9. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) a 34″867

10. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) a 20″872 [*]

11. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) at 35 “869

12. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) a 36″578

13. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) at 41 “880

14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) a 46 “150

15. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) a 44″037

16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams a 46″760

17. George Russell (Williams) a 47″739

18. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) a 50 “014

19. Michael Schumacher (Haas) a 61″680

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20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas) a 67″474

[*] 5 penalty positions


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