Thrilling Brazil GP offers hope for competitiveness after 2021 rule changes

By Oliver Taylor

Formula One 2016 Austrian GP

Photo by Creative Commons

The Brazilian Grand Prix saw the first podium to not feature a driver from Mercedes or Ferrari, the current constructors’ table leaders, in multiple seasons.

The top three of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz were the first top three not to feature Mercedes or Ferrari since Red Bull’s Sebiastian Vettel, Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean exactly six years prior at the United States Grand Prix on 17 November 2013.

Verstappen won the Brazil Grand Prix after starting from pole position. Verstappen was nearly taken out on his first pitstop by Williams’ Robert Kubica in the pitlane, an incident which Williams and Kubica were later given a five-second penalty for.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly earned his first podium finish in second, merely milliseconds ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in an exhilarating sprint to the checkered flag.

Hamilton, however, was given a post-race five-second penalty due to an accident with Alex Albon on lap 70.

As a result, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was moved up to third on the podium. The result was McLaren’s first podium finish since 2014.

On lap 66, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel made contact while fighting for positioning, leading to a tire puncture and race retirement for both drivers.

The six-year gap between podiums without a Mercedes or Ferrari driver shows how dominant the two teams have been throughout this decade. However, with the 2021 rule changes looming ahead, many fans are hoping to see a more competitive grid.

Despite the perceived dominance of Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull have actually amassed the second most constructors’ points during the six-year period from 17 November 2013 to 17 November 2019.

meta-chart

Beyond Ferrari, however, is an incredibly large gap, showing the lack of competitiveness currently in the sport.

meta-chart (1)

The former Force India turned Racing Point have scored 829 constructors’ points during the six years between the 2013 United States Grand Prix and 2019 Brazil Grand Prix. 19 points them are Williams, which have only scored 1 constructors’ point this season.

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