Brazil often turns up a few surprises, and from Vettel destroying a weighbridge in qualifying to the argy-bargy between Verstappen and Ocon post race, there was just as much action on track as there was adjacent to it.
Here’s our power rankings from a dynamic Brazilian GP:
Moving on up
▲ Daniel Ricciardo came through the pack from the midfield, and not only made up the numbers among the top six, but asserted himself in the race narrative to finish a few tenths away from the podium positions.
▲ Charles Leclerc predictably won the “best of the rest” finishing P7 yet again, and continues to put a gap on the rest of the field. How he measures up against Vettel next year at Ferrari will be fascinating, but we also feel for poor Marcus “Sony” Ericsson who is in similar machinery but got knocked around in the race leaving his teammate to claim the spoils.
▲ Mercedes capped off a tremendous season and snagged their fifth double championship, matching Ferrari’s dominance of the early 2000s.
▼ Max Verstappen drove a remarkable race, overtaking all before him from his P5 starting position to lead the race. His chop in front of Ocon, who was at that time a lap down, smacked of entitlement and an expectation that a car that was alongside him during one corner should simply disappear at the next. Stewards’ decision aside, Verstappen’s premeditated altercation with Ocon post race was juvenile and showed that the version of Max that joked about head-butting journalists earlier in the year is not yet buried.
▼ Esteban Ocon makes his way on to the naughty list, but mostly for balance than any genuine wrong-doing. As much as Verstappen played a hand in his own demise, it’s hard to shake the villain tag when you’re a back marker making contact with the race leaders.
▼ Pierre Gasly not only finished a forgettable P13, but made his team look foolish by repeatedly ignoring team orders when Hartley was much faster on fresher tyres. Despite Gasly’s claim there weren’t any stakes, Hartley ultimately finished just outside of the points, with the Toro Rosso driver engaging “controlled aggression against teammate mode” slightly prematurely.