The San Pablo Grand Prix of Formula 1 was a turning point for the definition of the title between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who released a combustion engine and swept the José Carlos Pace racetrack in Interlagos. Last weekend the Englishman kept that driver and imposed in Qatar and reduced the difference with the Dutch, who leads the championship with two rounds to go. In the next race the Briton will give another blow to capitalize on a new victory.
Since 2014, the Máxima has introduced hybrid technology in the motorization of its cars with an electric motor and another with combustion. Drivers have new drivers throughout the season, but each time they replace them they have penalties. In Russia Verstappen changed both and started last, something that did not prevent him from being second behind Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes).
Hamilton debuted one of combustion in the Brazilian event where in the sprint competition, the short one that was tested on two other dates (Great Britain and Italy), and despite starting last due to exclusion due to irregularities in the DRS wing (the moving to allow better air intake and give the car behind more speed), finished fifth. On Sunday he had five penalty places for the engine replacement, but soon he did his thing.
The Englishman won five places at the end of the first round, then he realized Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and being behind Bottas also left him behind, as he received the order to let him pass, and placed third behind the two Austrian cars. Later, Sergio “Checo” Pérez reported (Red Bull) and then he had another duel with Verstappen, who could not defend himself from the higher speed of his rival.
An analyst, in the best style of a track engineer, and a strategist like few others, Hamilton dispensed with that driver in Qatar, a new scenario, conceived for motorcycling (MotoGP runs there), but he still prevailed. Lewis gave him a break so he could have the coolest engine for Saudi Arabia, where it will race on December 5.
“Saudi Arabia should be a good track for us, but we know that this year, when you think it is good, it can turn around,” said the Mercedes boss in Sky F1.
“It’s a long straight, we’ll get our special team for Saudi Arabia which we do not use in Qatar and hopefully Valtteri Bottas is also well at the top, we need him. Although, in any case, if everyone finishes the race, the definition will go to Abu Dhabi ”, added the team-manager.
This engine will run at higher power settings, because it has low mileage and because it doesn’t have to last as many runs as are normally required of engines, with only two to go.
Mercedes track engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, said in statements to Motorsport that “hopes for the Saudi Arabian GP were high, especially knowing that Hamilton will have more power.”
“We have seen quite big changes in performance in the last few races, but if we look at the Saudi Arabian circuit, I think it will come in handy,” he added. “For Lewis, we have the most powerful engine at our disposal, so that will give him a useful unit of power.”, the technician warned.
In the F1 environment they called Hamilton’s weapon the “rocket-engine” because of the speed that the Englishman had when he premiered it in São Paulo. Why did Hamilton save it for Jeddah? It is that the brand new Saudi street circuit has characteristics of a racetrack. Most of the track was made from scratch (there were no fairways). The 6,174-meter track along the Red Sea has 27 curves, almost all of them high-speed. The average may exceed 250 km / h. and it would be the fastest after Monza, the fastest track of the season.
Lewis saw her coming in her countless hours on the simulator to meet the Arab scene. He knows he has an all-out battle with Verstappen and saving that set up for the last two dates was a chess move that could earn him his eighth Maximum title.
Verstappen leads the tournament with 351.5 points against Hamilton’s 343.5. In each of the two remaining appointments, 26 units will be at stake: 25 for the winner of each race and one for the one who sets the lap record. There will be no sprint race, so those extra points will not be at stake.
The secrets of Hamilton’s new Mercedes engine that changed the rules of the game in the definition of Formula 1
How the Formula 1 title will be defined between Verstappen and Hamilton