A lap too far for Lewis
Hamilton’s tyres couldn’t keep up with his performance and a spin handed the win to Rosberg
One lap. One error. One chance of victory gone. With the world championship going down to the wire, the Brazilian Grand Prix showed that it would be decided by the tiniest of margins. As the intensity built towards the showdown, every turn on every lap came down to the self-belief of both title protagonists and their ability to prevent mistakes creeping into their game.
After Sochi (rst corner lock-up) and Austin (defensive error), Nico Rosberg was determined in Brazil to convert his qualifying pace into victory to reverse the momentum that saw his title aspirations drift away over the course of the year. He did – and this time it was Lewis Hamilton who made the mistake.
Rosberg’s fth win of 2014 came in the sultry heat and humidity of Brazil, more than three months after his last win at the German GP. It was important for Nico to re-assert his authority over his all-conquering team-mate before we headed back across the globe for the showdown in the dusky desert of Abu Dhabi.
The sun-kissed Interlagos circuit is still a wonderful throwback to a former era of F1. The tight, narrow connes of the track surrounded by the concrete jungle in the heart of São Paulo command an intensity unlike any other venue.
From the undulating start/nish line to the steep, grandstand-lined sweep up through the nal corner Junção, the Autodrómo José Carlos Pace is a magical place – and fast, too.
For the past ten years, the pole-position record has remained the preserve of Rubens Barrichello, who set a 1min 10.646sec lap in his 2004 Ferrari. This was in the era of three-litre V10 engines and during a tyre war. In qualifying in Brazil this year, Rosberg set a new pole record of 1min 10.023secs in his Merc, 0.623seconds quicker than the old record. Where the 800-metre altitude of São Paulo used to reduce the power output of the normally aspirated units by eight per cent, that’s not the case with today’s turbochargers. And the power and top speed of the new efcient engines was impressive. Williams’ Felipe Massa rocketed through the speed trap at 213.1mph before braking hard into the Senna Esses.
Pirelli boss Paul Hembery was noticeably exasperated in the paddock on the Friday evening after practice. Pirelli had been planning to bring the medium and hard compound tyres to Brazil, but under pressure from the drivers – in particular an outspoken Felipe Massa – they switched to a softer compound.
But the track had only recently been relaid and with unusually high temperatures, added to the forces of an F1 car running over its surface, the asphalt started to seep oils. According to Hembery, it was half as abrasive as in 2013 and those factors combined to cause signicant