By Vlad Roman,
General Manager, Smart Games
Although the championship is over and we know both the constructor and driver champion there is still something to say about the last two races on the 2022 calendar.
The penultimate race at the José Carlos Pace circuit, better known as Interlagos, brought some surprises, some pleasant, some less pleasant… but all in due time.
The Brazilian circuit was inaugurated in 1940 and is located in Sao Paolo in an area bordered by two artificial lakes, which is why it was named “Interlagos”, meaning between the lakes. It was renamed in 1985 after the Brazilian pilot José Carlos Pace who died in a plane crash in 1977. The circuit with a capacity of 60,000 spectators has entered the Formula 1 calendar since 1973, in its current form it has a length of 4309 meters, it has 15 curves, being necessary 71 laps of the circuit run counter-clockwise to cover the almost 306 km that will differentiate the pilots at the finish line.
This year we had a practice session on Friday followed by qualifying which produced the first surprise, namely the pole position for Kevin Magnussen, the driver of the Haas team. On Saturday followed the second free practice session and the sprint race that put George Russel on the first position of the starting grid on Sunday. The second semi-surprise is Russel’s first grand prix win, I say semi-surprise because it was inevitable that it wouldn’t happen after the resurgence of Mercedes cars, however Hamilton seemed more in position to be the first Mercedes driver to win in 2022.
So Mercedes took the first 2 positions and Ferrari put both their single-seaters in the next two places followed by Alonso in 5th and the Red Bull pair in the next positions. The less pleasant surprise was Verstappen’s refusal to give way to Perez to secure the runner-up title for the Red Bull co-driver, the same one who almost a year ago was being hailed by Max as the “Minister of Defence” for the way he held back Hamilton virtually co-authoring Max’s first world title.
Despite all the team’s attempts to soften Max’s statements, they were clearly heard on the radio by all Formula 1 fans “I told you guys before, don’t ask me that anymore, let’s be clear!”… words that did it even his girlfriend, the bearer of a famous name, to declare that Max never knew how to return favors. Word around the paddock is that Max couldn’t forgive Checo for the Monte Carlo incident when he lost qualifying due to a crash by Perez that he believes was intentional.
At the end of the race, the second place is still in dispute between Perez and Leclerc, both with 290 points and also the 2nd place in constructors remains to be determined between Ferrari and Mercedes, the latter having 19 points to recover. And that’s how it remained for the 2nd places to be determined in the last race of the season, in Abu Dhabi.
The Yas Marina circuit was built in 2009 on Yas Island located in the south of the city, it immediately entered the Formula 1 calendar, it is a modern circuit with a length of 5281 meters that contains 16 corners, two straight lines with DRS zones and a night circuit impressive. The first winner here was Sebastian Vettel who relapsed the following year, a victory that brought him his first world title.
After qualifying, the race on Sunday 20 November had the Red Bull drivers on the front row followed by the Ferrari drivers on the second row and Mercedes on the 3rd row… just like the result of the final classification for the constructors. The race, although without a main stake, established second place in both categories awarded in the championship.
I don’t have much to say about what it was other than I’m disappointed with the performance of Verstappen who once again failed to be a team player denying Perez 2nd in the championship, personally I think Max and lost an important part of the fans.
The most impressive moment was the retirement of four-time world champion Vettel, who rightly dominated the end of the race and the festivities.
For the end of the season, I can only think of a few short statements:
Vettel – respect!
Perez – 3rd place;
Leclerc – vice champion;
Verstappen – you are who you are…