After running as high as sixth, Sebastian Vettel fell just short of the top 10 after an ill-timed Virtual Safety Car period hampered his race strategy at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix. Early contact for Lance Stroll impacted the Canadian's car performance, with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team driver failing to see the chequered flag.
I thought we had a good opportunity to score points today, but the Virtual Safety Cars did not help us.
"I thought we had a good opportunity to score points today, but the Virtual Safety Cars did not help us and cost me a position to Esteban [Ocon]. Without that, it would have been a different race. We still tried everything we could and chose the two-stop strategy, rather than the one-stop. We were close to scoring a point in the end against Lando [Norris] and we were catching him in the final laps, but it was not quite enough."
It is disappointing to retire, but this weekend has made me even more determined to finish well in Qatar.
"After making up some ground yesterday, I think we had a good chance to score points today. After a strong start, [Yuki] Tsunoda made contact with me in Turn One. He was on the Softs whereas I was on the Mediums, so at that stage he was faster. I think his move was desperate and he was way too optimistic. That contact damaged my car and from there more pieces were falling off, which meant that the pace got worse and we were just going backwards. It is disappointing to retire, but this weekend has made me even more determined to finish well in Qatar next weekend."
Sebastian and Lance both made excellent starts to be sixth and 12th on lap one.
"Sebastian and Lance both made excellent starts to be sixth and 12th on lap one. The flying [Lewis] Hamilton passed Sebastian on lap two, then, one lap later, [Yuki] Tsunoda recklessly hurled his car down the inside of Lance’s at Turn One, causing a collision, for which clumsiness he was rightly given a 10-second penalty. Thereafter, Lance did his very best, but his car had been so badly damaged by Tsunoda, and its performance so seriously compromised, that, through no fault of his own, we finally had to retire it. Sebastian ran as high as sixth at about one-third distance, but, unfortunately, also through no fault of his own, his pit stop occurred just before the Virtual Safety Car was deployed and that bad luck dropped him out of the points. In the end he finished 11th. Roll on Qatar."
Lance and Seb make moves
Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll made moves in the third and final Sprint of the 2021 season, progressing through the field to start the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix from ninth and 14th on the grid.
Brazilian Grand Prix
Cars. Speed. Brazil. For Mariana, these three words have been a way of life for her and her family. A passionate fan of Formula One, watching the race on a Sunday became a key part of her family's weekly routine.
Guide to São Paulo
A mix of high-speed sections, banked turns and a snaking infield section makes Brazil challenging for any driver, but it's just as tricky on the pit-wall when there's limited opportunities for overtaking. Analysing recent car performance and historic data, our Title Partner Cognizant presents the challenges expected in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Cognizant's Keys to the Race
Deciding the optimum strategy is challenging in Brazil. In 2019, one- and two-stop strategies proved closely matched, and were affected by two late Safety Cars. But in 2018, a one-stop strategy ultimately prevailed, when a spread-out midfield contributed to the stasis. Pirelli has allocated the C2, C3 and C4 tyre for the 11th time this year.
There's been an incredible nine Safety Cars in the last five years in Brazil, although no fewer than six are accounted for in the 2016 race, which also featured two red flags. However, Safety Cars are still common. Since 2015's Grand Prix, they have also featured in 2017 (once) and 2019 (twice).
Overtaking is challenging at Interlagos, and is compounded by the short run to Turn One and a tight first sector. In 2019, there were 35 overtakes (excluding the first lap and Safety Car restarts). DRS is usually crucial for making an overtake, accounting for roughly 65% of moves, with the run from Turn 15 to Turn One often the best point to make a move.
From the snaking Senna S, through mid-lap camber changes to a blast uphill into the final banked corner, there's plenty of time to be made with a perfect lap of Interlagos. Find out how to maximise a tour of the Brazilian Grand Prix circuit with our official Cyber Security Partner SentinelOne, presenting the key challenges behind the lap.
Unlocking the Lap
A lap of Interlagos is a true challenge of driver strength as the anti-clockwise circuit and succession of left-hand corners stress the neck muscles and test behind-the-wheel bravery.
Maximising a lap of Interlagos begins back at Turn 12 on the previous lap. Getting a good exit at the lower-speed corner is crucial as the gradual bend of Turns 13 through 15 are all about speed, and set up the next lap.
Exiting the banked final corner at maximum speed sets drivers up for the main straight, which is a gradual incline to Turn One before the circuit plunges downhill into the Senna S at entry speeds of 220km/h (136mph).
Avoiding front-locking and keeping a high average speed sets drivers up for a DRS-induced blast to Turns Four and Five.
Unlocking the Lap
It's a dab of the brakes at speeds of roughly 325km/h (200mph) before pulling left onto a short straight that links to the infield section, complete with a second and final use of DRS.
With elevation changes, off-camber corners, grassy run-off, and plenty of g-force pressure on the neck, the quickfire Turns Six to 10 provide little overtaking but test the set-up of the car.
This section can reward patience at speeds as low as 100km/h (62mph) with lap time gains, but mistakes usually lead to flat-spotted tyres.
The higher-speed Turn 11 is then followed by the downhill run to Turn 12, which makes the braking approach critical.
Once clear, drivers are already preparing for the next lap through the long gradual bend of Turns 13, 14 and 15.
Brazil is home to some of Formula One's greatest legends, and the race has earned an enduring legacy on the calendar since arriving in the early 1970s. Global Partner NetApp delves into the Brazilian Grand Prix archives to bring you the best stats and facts from Interlagos.
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