The controversy of the Brazilian GP was marked by controversy, first in Senna’s S and then moving to the walls. First Alpine, with a big rebuke to Ocon that the Frenchman did not take very well. Later on, Ferrari and Red Bull had to deal with equally tense situations as they battled for the drivers’ runner-up spot.
In the restart after the first Safety, Max launched himself around the outside in the first corner of Senna’s S (the scene of many touches in the Brazilian GP) and collided with Lewis at the apex of the second. In direct, and even after some repetition, it seemed that the one who could receive a sanction was Hamilton for not leaving space, but the commissioners decided otherwise. The logic behind the sanction is that the position belonged to the British and Verstappen was the one who made contact with the Mercedes, considering that Hamilton did leave Verstappen enough space and defended him legally. This interpretation is based on the fact that Verstappen never puts all 4 wheels outside the white line and Hamilton is half a car ahead at the time of touchdown.
Controversy in Alpine
After a season of clashes in which the tension between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon has been increasing, Brazil was one of the most tense episodes. The weekend began with 2 touches in the first lap of the Sprint. Alonso got the worst of it as he had to change the wing and received a penalty after admitting a misperception on second touch which led to him colliding with the back of Ocon’s car. Even so, Alonso angrily complained about the behavior of his partner on the radio, understanding that at the first knock he had closed the door excessively aggressively.
In the race it seemed like everyone at Alpine was crossing their fingers that their two drivers didn’t cross paths, but the latest Safety Car was a gift of poison. On the one hand, it was perfect for Alonso to aspire to the top 5, but his path began before an Ocon who in turn had a Vettel in front of him in a worse situation than him and was an easy prey. Fearing the umpteenth disaster of the season, Alpine took action on the matter, ordering Ocon not to fight the Spaniard. The Frenchman threw balls out, arguing that he would attack Vettel and after passing him he would analyze the situation. But his engineer did not want to leave room for doubt, he repeated the message and asked for confirmation, which the pilot reluctantly gave.
Finally, Ocon passed Vettel and subsequently did not do much to defend the position against Alonso, who came with new wheels and a pace that would lead him to overtake Checo Pérez and stick with Leclerc.
Controversy at Ferrari and Red Bull
In those last laps of the race, after the restart, there were two very similar situations among the competitors for the drivers’ runner-up. Leclerc, completing a spectacular comeback after Norris literally sent him to the wall, had Sainz in front of him. Checo Pérez in turn, had Verstappen in front of him, faster than him due to tires. Both drivers asked their teams to change position to improve their position for the last race, which with the current positions was tied.
Ferrari’s answer was negative, Leclerc insisted, the 3 extra points would give him enough of an advantage to only have to be just behind Pérez unless the Mexican won the race or finished on the podium and set the fastest lap. Ferrari remained in the refusal, since the proximity of Alonso and Verstappen made a change of position risky on a straight as long as that of Brazil, putting Sainz’s position at risk and being able to open up the fight for second position in the race. Constructors’ Championship with Mercedes.
More dramatic was the situation at Red Bull, with Max and Red Bull already champions, the only thing Red Bull is fighting for is Pérez’s second place in the drivers’ championship. With this in mind, Red Bull approved Perez’s request, the one who did not was Verstappen. Referring to a conversation in the summer, Max said that they had already discussed it and that he should not be asked to give up the position. Christian Horner himself tried to convince the two-time world champion to have the gesture with his squire, without success.
Pérez, notably injured when he crossed the finish line, had harsh words for his partner, of whom he said “we already know what he is like” on the radio and “he is a two-time world champion thanks to me” speaking to the media. Red Bull hopes that what happened in Brazil does not turn against the team, although obviously now it will be more difficult to ask the Mexican to let his teammate through in the future.