For as long as one will remember the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, one will recollect the race in Senna land for being a mesmerising contest aced by the best driver of the current grid, Sir Lewis Hamilton. But at the same time, it will also be remembered for being the contest that once again punctuated Max Verstappen’s drive with controversy.
Unable to eventually defend his track position from a fast charging Sir Lewis Hamilton, there was a time wherein Max Verstappen was involved in a move that saw the driver go wide in the approach to a tight turn. This moment, it won’t be wrong to suggest, became the headlining moment of the Grand Prix at Interlagos.
This very move would get doused in controversy as many have since then regarded that it was completely Max Verstappen’s fault that almost led to what could’ve been a contact between the Red Bull as well as the Mercedes. While the duo emerged unscathed and Hamilton with the win, the incident that very nearly was, would get to the Stewards room.
What was interesting was that while the stewards had already passed a verdict on it, adjudicating the decision that no further investigation was needed, they would, however, still put the episode under another look at Mercedes’ behest.
It is only now after nearly a week-long period after which verdict has come clean on the occurrence that Max Verstappen has been absolved of any charges that were put from the perspective of his archrivals, Mercedes.
And what could’ve been a better way to mark the great vindication, if one could call it that way, than by going the fastest at Qatar, the venue for the Sunday-bound F1 race?
So that’s precisely what Max Verstappen has done.
A day that Mercedes would not really like all that much, but perhaps also a great gift for the recent birthday boy, Christian Horner.
Thus far, from what transpired at the famous Losail circuit, it’s been an out and out run of the Red Bull out in the front.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, found himself seven tenths off the pace of the Red Bull.
Meanwhile, seeing the proceedings from their sky commentary box, former F1 world champions, Damon Hill and Jenson Button had the following inputs to share on the developments at the venue that up until now has been synonymous with MotoGP:
I’d say at the moment advantage to the Red Bulls,” said Sky F1’s Damon Hill. “I’m not just saying that because Max has got the quickest time, it just seems like it’s easier for them to do that.”
Fellow F1 world champion Jenson Button added: “I wouldn’t say they are four tenths quicker than Mercedes. When you look at the Merc, it looks really good, I just don’t think they have quite got the balance together.”
Having said that, here’s what former Formula 1 driver and popular commentator, Karun Chandhok had to say on the conditions of the track, “Track super dusty so too early to read into the form from FP1. I have a feeling track limits are going to be a big talking point this weekend.”