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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nico Rosberg wins Brazilian Grand Prix with frustrated Hamilton second

Lewis Hamilton denied he has lost his
competitive edge since winning his third
world championship after again finishing
second best to his team-mate, Nico Rosberg,
this time at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has twice been comfortably beaten
by Rosberg since he secured the title with
victory in Austin at the end of last month.
Rosberg won even more emphatically than he
had done in the previous race in Mexico.
Starting from pole – his fifth in a row – he
controlled the race throughout and finished
7.70sec ahead of Hamilton. It was his fifth
win of the season, the 13th of his career and
it secured second place in the drivers’
championship.
More on this topic
F1: Brazil Grand Prix – live!
Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive
chairman, said: “Maybe Lewis has lost the
need. Right now Nico is better.” But Hamilton
countered: “I came here with the same fire
and desire to win this race as I’ve had all
year. I just didn’t do the job in qualifying.”
Hamilton was desperate to win for the first
time at Interlagos and showed as much when
he vainly pleaded with his team to change
their strategy to give him a better chance. The
diligent Rosberg has found a little extra pace
from somewhere and pole was an important
advantage on this most challenging of
circuits. To go with that there has been an
extra aggression and confidence about
Rosberg in recent weeks. It is a pity, for the
sake of the championship, the German did not
show those qualities earlier.
Before the race there was some controversy
when the FIA chose not to honour the victims
of the terrorist attacks in Paris with a one-
minute silence. Instead the drivers gathered
at the front of the grid to pay their respects to
road traffic victims. However the Frenchman
Romain Grosjean and the rest of the drivers
draped the French flag on their truck during
the pre-race tour of the circuit.
Back on the grid, Hamilton went for his team-
mate as soon as the lights went out. He tried
to take him on the outside at turn one but
Rosberg slammed the door. Rosberg was the
first to pit, though it was spoiled by hitting
traffic in the pit lane. When Hamilton came
in he re-emerged a little further behind,
1.7sec. Hamilton cut that down to half a
second by lap 18 but the dirty air took its toll.
“My tyres are not going to last,” he
complained over the radio.
He then pleaded to be put on a different
strategy. “I had good pace, you just can’t
overtake here. I killed my tyres and it is a
shame because it is such a great track but you
can’t get close enough to race. It would be
good if you could do a bit of overtaking here.
I am here to race and when you both have to
do the same order then, if there are other
strategies, let’s take a risk. I just couldn’t get
close enough, so it was relatively boring
following in a tow.” He also conceded: “Nico
has been doing fantastically well.”
It certainly would have made for a better
show had Mercedes allowed their drivers to
make their own calls but the team was
determined to make it another one-two result
– their 11th of the season. They also wanted
to see Rosberg secure second place in the
championship.
Before the race Hamilton dismissed the
director of motorsport, Toto Wolff’s, claim he
was “absolutely aware” the team wanted
Rosberg to finish runner–up. Beyond that
Mercedes are reluctant to split their strategies
for fear of upsetting the losing driver. It is a
very sensitive issue. At least Rosberg’s
resurgence has raised hopes of a more
competitive season in 2016.
“It was a great weekend for me here, of
course everything is relative because of what
happened in Paris,” the German said. “It was
a good challenge from Lewis but I was able to
control the pace. We saw Lewis dropping off
a lot with degradation and that confirmed it
was important to take care of the tyres. I am
pushing now and I was pushing earlier in the
season. I don’t have an explanation for why
now but I just want to keep on going.”
The stars of Brazil 2015 were neither Rosberg
nor Hamilton. They were Max Verstappen
and Nico Hülkenberg. Verstappen pulled off
so many eye-catching moves the only surprise
was he came ninth. But in finishing among
the points for the sixth race in a row he beat
Sebastian Vettel’s Toro Rosso record of 2008.
Hülkenberg, surprisingly, has been second
best to his team-mate Sergio Pérez for most of
the season. He is something a specialist in
Brazil and his sixth place helped Force India
secure fifth place in the constructors’
championship. Williams also confirmed third
spot behind Ferrari. Felipe Massa, who
finished eighth, was later excluded from the
race for a tyre breach.

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Source: The Guardian
Picture from Getty Images

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