2014 Brazilian Grand Prix saw Nico Rosberg break Lewis Hamilton’s run of five grand prix victories to take the top step of the podium for the first time since Hockenheim. Felipe Massa finished on the podium at his home race to the delight of the crowd, despite his five second stop/go penalty. Jenson Button’s fourth place finish showed that he deserves to stay in Formula 1 for a prolonged period of time while Kimi Raikkonen impressed his boss Marco Mattiacci with a calculated drive on a two stop strategy.
Lewis Hamilton had turned the tables in his favour with five victories on a trot, leaving Rosberg trailing by 24 points in the standings, coming into the Brazilian Grand Prix. What was worse for Rosberg was two disappointing races in Russia and USA. At Sochi, he was desperate to gain the lead early from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and paid the price while at Austin, he didn’t respond to the Brit’s ever improving pace.
But Rosberg finally got his acts together at Interlagos starting with qualifying. He put pressure on Hamilton by taking provisional pole after the first run in Q3 and eventually beat someone regarded as the fastest man on a single lap to win DHL’s pole position trophy. On race day too, he had the answer to Lewis Hamilton’s pace and he never let the 2008 world champion come close enough to make a move.
And he didn't forget to play the mind games, saying Hamilton's spin at turn 4 might dent his confidence.
But, unfortunately for him and his fans, it might be a case of two little too late.
Lewis Hamilton might have lost out to Nico Rosberg in qualifying as well as the race, his recovery drive after his half spin earns him a spot on this list.
Having lost seven seconds in the spin, Hamilton came back strongly in the final two stints to finish just over a second behind his teammate. Prior to this, he was managing his tyres well enough to mount a challenge later on in the race.
But a mistake is a mistake and Hamilton rightly took the responsibility for it which cost him a potential victory.
Felipe Massa might have not matched his teammate Valtteri Bottas for majority of the year, but he clearly had an upper hand in his home country.
Firstly, he put his car on the second row of the grid with a lap time that was only a few tenths down on the Mercedes pair. In the race, he was fast enough on track to make up for the time lost in the pits due to his stop/go penalty to finish on the podium for only the second time this season.
A great drive and an equally great reward.
Jenson Button's future at McLaren might not be in his hands but he's doing enough to convince those who make the decisions behind close doors that he is the man that will take the team forward when it enters a new era with Honda.
Button drove strongly during the entire race, managing his tyres enough to prevent a late charge from Vettel while also not falling too far behind the Williams of Felipe Massa that was just ahead on the road.
However, during the very weekend he hinted that he's frustrated with the fact that McLaren are keeping him in the dark for too long and if they are to oust him, they better do it at the earliest. In fact, it seemed like he himself doesn't want to stay with the Woking team and instead preferred the WEC route.
In a race where drivers had to drive at a certain pace just to ensure that they can finish the race without having to make a fourth stop, Kimi Raikkonen managed his tyres brilliantly, using only three sets during the entire race.
Had he not lost four seconds due to a botched second stop, he might well have finished ahead of his teammate Fernando Alonso. His drive earned the praise of newly recruited Ferrari F1 boss Marco Mattiacci who believed this was the first time the Finn showed his true potential.
Honorable mentioned also goes to Nico Hulkenberg who finished eighth on the reverse medium/medium/medium/soft strategy.