Verstappen extends championship lead but Bottas gets Brazil pole with sprint success

By Sports Desk November 13, 2021

Max Verstappen extended his championship lead but was pipped to pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix by Valtteri Bottas, who won Saturday's sprint qualifying race. 

Red Bull driver Verstappen started in first after Lewis Hamilton had his result from Friday's qualifying session – in which he went fastest – ruled out due to a DRS infringement but was denied the maximum three points by Bottas. 

The Dutchman now holds a 21-point advantage over reigning champion Hamilton, who recovered to fifth after being forced to start from the back of the grid. 

However, a five-place grid penalty for taking a new engine means Hamilton will get away from 10th on Sunday. 

Bottas took the lead into turn one as Verstappen complained of a gear sync issue and the championship leader was down to third after going wide at turn four. 

Verstappen regained second from Carlos Sainz on lap four and he gradually ate into Bottas' lead before letting his tyres cool ahead of a late push.

However, Bottas was able to keep Verstappen out of DRS range to cling on for pole, with Sainz holding off Sergio Perez to take third place.

Bottas' performance provides a slight reprieve for Hamilton, who showed he will still be a factor on Sunday by getting from 20th to fifth in the space of 24 laps. 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.170s
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +18.723s
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +19.787s
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +20.872s*
6. Lando Norris (McLaren) +22.558s
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +25.056s
8. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +34.158s
9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +34.632s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +34.867s

*Hamilton has a five-place grid penalty

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 

Drivers 

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 314.5 
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 293.5 
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 188 
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 165 
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 150 

Constructors 

1. Mercedes 481.5 
2. Red Bull 479.5 
3. Ferrari 269.5 
4. McLaren 255 
5. Alpine 106 

Related items

  • F1 regulations will mean 'terribly painful year' for some cars, say Mercedes F1 regulations will mean 'terribly painful year' for some cars, say Mercedes

    Mercedes hope they will be prepared for the 2022 Formula One season, in which technical director James Allison is forecasting "a terribly painful year" for teams who get their car "really badly wrong". 

    F1 is belatedly introducing its game-changing new regulations in the coming year, shaking up the sport after an epic 2021 season. 

    The 2022 car has been designed with the aim to end the dominance of any one team and ensure closer racing. 

    Mercedes, whose Lewis Hamilton was agonisingly pipped to the title by Max Verstappen in the previous campaign, will expect to again be at the forefront of a title tussle, but Allison recognises some outfits will be caught unaware. 

    The price for making mistakes this year is a significant one, he believes. 

    "Everyone in our team, and everyone in every other team, will have done our level best to try to find a design and an approach that will be a happy match to this new regulation set," Allison said in a video posted by Mercedes. 

    "And we'll all get to find out together at the start of this season, in the races that unfold from there, exactly how that shakes out. 

    "I would imagine, given that the cars are so new and so different, that one or two cars on the grid will have got it really badly wrong. And they will have a terribly painful year. 

    "I would imagine that all of us to some degree will have left things on the table that we just didn't anticipate. And we will look at other cars and think, 'Oh, why didn't we think of that?' 

    "Then we'll be scrambling around to try to get that idea onto our car as fast as possible, so that we can claw our way, from whatever position we land in that first race, forwards. Or, if we're lucky enough to be in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us. 

    "It's going to be quite a rush and definitely something that's going to keep us all from having too much sleep for the whole of the season." 

    George Russell is joining Hamilton at Mercedes this year, replacing Valtteri Bottas after impressing with Williams. 

  • FIA begins 'analysis' of controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ending FIA begins 'analysis' of controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ending

    A "detailed analysis" of the controversial ending to last month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has started, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has confirmed.

    Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth title when he was beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending grand prix on December 12.

    Mercedes were furious with how race rules were applied in a safety-car situation and challenged the result, believing Hamilton was unfairly prevented from winning the race and the championship when Verstappen passed him with only a few corners remaining.

    The German constructors launched two challenges that were both rejected by the FIA, with Mercedes giving notice of an intention to appeal. However, the team eventually decide not to proceed down that route following discussions with F1 and the FIA.

    On Thursday, the FIA released a statement via Twitter outlining the next steps in their analysis of the situation, saying: "Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15 December 2021, the FIA administration, under the leadership Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has started the detailed analysis of the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    "The FIA President launched a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.

    "On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car. The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.

    "The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March."

    There has been recent speculation since the end of the season that Hamilton could retire from motor racing, with the 36-year-old and his team left distraught by the outcome, and reports suggest that the Briton is waiting to see the outcome of an inquiry.

  • MotoGP legend Rossi switches to four wheels for GT World Championship MotoGP legend Rossi switches to four wheels for GT World Championship

    MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi will switch to four-wheel racing to drive for Team WRT in the GT World Championship.

    Rossi ended his incredible MotoGP career last November, finishing 10th in his final race at the Valencia Grand Prix.

    The Italian icon, a seven-time world champion in the premier class, hung up his gloves at the age of 42.

    But Rossi has agreed to take on a new racing challenge, having tested with Team WRT in Valencia last month.

    He will be an official Audi sport driver, taking part in a 10-round competition striving to win the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup.

    Rossi said: "I am delighted to join Team WRT for a full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS programme.

    "Everybody knows that I have always been a great car racing fan and that I have always been interested in racing on four wheels once my MotoGP career would come to an end.

    "Now I am completely available to devote myself to a car racing programme at a high level and with the right professional approach.

    "Team WRT is the perfect fit I was looking for and I am anxious to start this new adventure in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS with them."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.