Last Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix provided some nail-biting action in the closing stages.
After world champion Lewis Hamilton’s mistake during Q1, the door was left open for Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to take pole position.
Despite the best efforts of the Ferrari drivers, the Finn snatched that spot at the very last moment by just under four one-hundredths of a second.
Not having posted a time, Hamilton was to start at the back of the grid. The team took the opportunity to replace most of the power unit components, which meant the Englishman would start from pit lane.
From the start it was the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel that led the way after both he and Bottas suffered wheel spin off the line, but Vettel found the edge. Despite the Finn’s best efforts he was unable to take back the spot and had to settle for second at the chequered flag.
Bottas’ bid for second place in the Drivers’ championship is still a possibility, but Vettel has now increased the gap by a further seven points with just one race left.
Hamilton’s chase through the field to fourth place was epic, demonstrating not only his skills but the awesome power of the Mercedes package.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was on a charge from the back of the grid following his 10 place penalty for a new MGU-H.
He once again showed his amazing ability to consistently outbrake his competition, taking a well earned sixth place.
But the two struggles that really had me on the edge of my seat were the fight between Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen for third and Filipe Massa and Fernando Alonso’s battle for seventh.
Raikkonen and Hamilton were certainly giving it their all and were struggling for grip, but showed their maturity by avoiding contact.
Raikkonen just managed to hold onto the final podium position, giving the Maranello team a double podium finish.
Alonso and Massa had been duelling for many laps shadowed by Force India’s Sergio Perez.
In front of his home crowd Massa resisted all of the McLaren driver’s attempts to pass the more powerful Williams, taking the seventh spot just ahead of the Spaniard.
A fitting finale for the Brazilian’s second and final home race ending a long career.
Alonso was waiting in the pit lane when Massa came in and personally applauded him – a nice touch.
With Abu Dhabi hosting the final race of the season, one has to say that 2017 has been an interesting one, particularly the change of fortunes between the two main protagonists for the championship.
After Vettel’s victory in Brazil and the pace shown by Hamilton let’s hope Yas Marina will turn out to be a real classic for F1 fans.