Fighting Bulls, Shining Underdogs, and Unknown Futures: Brazil Grand Prix Recap


The São Paulo Grand Prix took place on Nov. 13, and became one of the most eventful races of the 2022 Formula One season, setting the stage for an exciting season finale.

The Brazilian Grand Prix, one of the most anticipated races of the 2022 Formula One season, took place on Nov. 13 and viewers were not disappointed. The Grand Prix, held in São Paulo, Brazil, is the second to last race in the F1 2022 season. Although the championship has already been won by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, there are still many things left unknown. 

The Grand Prix weekend started on an unexpected note, with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen securing pole position for the first time in his F1 career during the Friday qualifying race. Magunessen had an interesting lead up to this surprising, but well deserved achievement. 

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Haas F1 Team cut ties with their Russian title sponsor and dropped their Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin. Four days later, the American team announced Danish driver Kevin Magnussen would be joining the team in place of Mazepin. Magnuessen was a former F1 driver who parted ways with Haas and F1 at the end of 2020. Despite not being in an F1 car since the end of the 2020 season, Magnuessen managed to finish P5 in the first race of the season, which many deemed even more impressive knowing it was done with a backfield car and team. In the rainy and wet qualifying session, Magnuessan managed to get the fastest lap and grab pole position. The Haas garage roared with excitement, as this was not only Magnuessen’s first pole position, but also for the backmarker team. 

The following day, the Sprint race had its own exciting moments. In the first lap, the Alpine drivers, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, made contact with each other while turning at a corner. During the ninth lap of the race, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel attempted to drive beside his teammate, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, in order to overtake, but Stroll swiftly moved to the left, which forced Vettel to move onto the grass area. This move would result in the FIA giving Stroll a ten second time penalty for a “dangerous maneuver”. The Alpine teammates would not be the only people who made contact going through a corner. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would make contact as Sainz went down the inside of Turn 1 on lap 19. Due to the contact made, Verstappen’s front wing became damaged. Mercedes’ George Russel would go on to win the Sprint race.

The following day, the main Grand Prix ended up being very eventful. Similar to the Sprint, on the first lap of the 71-lap race, McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo made accidental contact with Manguessen, resulting in both driving to be out of the race. It was a bitter ending for the Danish driver in an otherwise fantastic weekend. 

After the yellow flag caused by Ricciardo and Magnuessen’s incident, Verstappen and Hamilton collided while going into Turn 2. This contact would result in damage to Hamilton’s car and Verstappen would be given a five second time penalty. Later in a post race interview, Verstappen places blame for the incident on Hamilton, “To be honest I went around the outside and immediately felt he wasn’t going to leave space, so I just went for it,” Verstappen said to Sky Sports. Knowing the possible outcomes of his choice, Verstappen still chose to go in. “It cost him the race win and it gave me five seconds. It wouldn’t have mattered anything for my race,” Verstappen said to Sky Sports. This would cause controversy among the F1 community with many reflecting on Verstappen’s aggressiveness. 

On the same lap of the race, Mclaren driver Lando Norris would make contact with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, which caused Leclerc to spin off track and hit his front wing on the barrier. Fortunately for Leclerc, he was able to get back onto the track, but had to pit for a new front wing.

For the rest of the race, things went smoothly on the track. Towards the end of the race, however, the Red Bull team gave orders to Verstappen to allow his teammate to overtake him on the last lap. Because Verstappen has already won the championship, allowing Mexican driver Sergio Perez to overtake would let him get the needed points to stay second place and ahead of Leclerc in the Driver’s World Championship. Despite being given team orders, the Dutch driver refused to comply and did not allow Perez to pass him. This decision by Verstappen would result in a disappointed and angered Perez. In a post race interview with Sky Sports F1, Perez communicated his disappointment with Verstappen over his refusal to help him, “After all I have done for him, it is a bit disappointing, to be honest.” Later in a Mexican post race interview, Perez stated his belief that without his help, Verstappen most likely would not be a two-time World Champion. 

But not all of the Grand Prix was negative for the teams. George Russell would go on to finish the race in first place and win his first ever Formula One Grand Prix. Behind him, Hamilton finished P2, and Mercedes ended up with their first 1-2 since Imola 2020. With Mercedes finally winning their first Grand Prix of the season, the team and fans are now celebrating Mercedes being “back.”

After the final race of the season on Nov. 20, some looming questions were answered while some are still unclear. Eight time F1 race winner, Daniel Ricciardo’s future is still uncertain. While there has been talks of the Australian becoming a reserve driver for Red Bull or Mercedes, nothing has been confirmed yet. However, the future of Mick Schumacher, the other Haas driver, has been decided. Next year, his seat will go to Aston Martin reserve driver and former F1 driver, Nico Hulkenberg.