Hamilton, victory at home?
And no… we are not at Silverstone this weekend, but in Sao Paulo, on Ayrton Senna’s land. This week, Lewis Hamilton was officially made an honorary citizen by the Brazilian Parliament, becoming the first foreign personality to be honored in this way. A year after having signed an incredible double recovery (from P20 to P5 in the sprint race, then from P10 to winner) at Interlagos, the Briton has not won since December 5 and hopes at all costs to unlock his counter this year, to conclude its 15th season in F1 in the same way as his first 14: with at least one victory on the clock.
The late recovery of the W13 indeed allowed the Germans to get closer to Red Bull, but not yet able to conclude, despite good progress in Austin and Mexico. In front of an audience that adores him and on the grounds of his idol, Lewis Hamilton has one last chance to glean a much-desired victory, which would be a declaration of intent for him and for mercedes with a view to 2023. Why a last one? Because the new layout of Abu Dhabi, which cuts the lion’s share of the straight lines, risks not corresponding to this W13 with its extravagant drag, unlike Interlagos and its very slow and technical sector 2. To see all the same if the long straight line straddling the last and the first sector will not give too great an advantage to the RB18.
Consoling bullet for Ferrari
To see the first three rounds of the season (2 victories with Leclerc), we rather imagined Ferrari in the fight with Red Bull for the Constructors’ title at the end of the year, rather than with Mercedes to pick up the crumbs. And yet, the fall in performance of the Scuderia, combined with the return to form of Red Bull before the summer, had the gift of relegating the Italians to the second role. Quietly, Mercedes, despite a recalcitrant W13, never lost contact with the Scuderia, thanks to impeccable reliability and an ability to operate without a hitch or almost, when Ferrari spent its time falling apart on the low wall. or helplessly watching its engines go up in smoke. Before the last two rounds of the season, the Italian firm is 40 points ahead of Mercedes and has the opportunity to secure its 2nd place. For this, the prancing horse will have to be 44 points ahead of the German structure. To make the difference, the Scuderia will have both the sprint race on Saturday and the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Verstappen king of the sprint?
At the heart of a record season that saw him become the winningest driver in a season, the Dutchman has the opportunity in Brazil to win the third sprint race of the season after having already won the first two at Imola and Spielberg. Implemented in 2021, the sprint races were shared between Valtteri Bottas (2) and Max Verstappen (1) last year. In the event of victory on Saturday, the Batavian would therefore become the first driver to win all the sprint races in the same year. A distinction that could be difficult to match in the future, when we know that they will be six in number from next year. So, will Max Verstappen take it all?