2017 Season Review – Part Six – Vettel serves up reminder of what he could have done

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Brazil

It was Bottas who was in form in qualifying at Interlagos out qualifying Vettel by three tenths. Bottas put in the lap when it mattered as Vettel was impacted by the light rain when he was on his final run. Despite being champion, Hamilton’s session was a disaster as he crashed out failing to qualify meaning he would start last. Massa’s last home race would see him start tenth after nearly crashing out twice.

Vettel took the lead from Bottas into the first corner from where he managed to control the race through the pit stops. The German-built up a three-second lead over the Finn to take a well-deserved victory. While Hamilton worked his way back through the field to third after deciding to start from the pit lane.

It was another good recovery drive from Ricciardo, who started fourteen to finish sixth behind Verstappen. But, an emotional Massa bowed out for the final time in Sao Paulo with eighth, after a battle with Alonso. The pair would finish the race less than a second between them.

Both Grosjean and Ocon collided on the opening lap of the race, that earnt the Force India a ten-second penalty. That also helped Hamilton to recover ground, in a race, which could go in as one of the Englishman’s best drives and he finished less than three seconds behind Vettel.

Abu Dhabi

Bottas continued the form he had in Brazil in qualifying at the final race of the year, out qualifying Hamilton following a very close battle with a tenth between them. However, Vettel struggled to find the pace to match the Mercedes going third fastest.

It was yet another nightmare for Toro Rosso with their hopes of holding off Renault and Haas in the constructor’s championship suffering another blow. Both Brendon Hartley, who will start last thanks to an engine penalty and Pierre Gasly both dropping out in Q1.

There was still plenty at stake for both Bottas and Vettel in the race, they both were fighting for the runners up spot in the championship. Bottas drove off into the sunset dragging his teammate along, but it soon became clear that Hamilton was unable to get close enough to make the move.

The two Mercedes were in a race of their own as Vettel was falling behind as he was unable to respond in the first two sectors of the lap. That gave Bottas another win, which he described as “really important” for him. Could that help him to become a serious threat to Hamilton and Vettel in 2018? Time will tell.

It was a disappointing race for Ricciardo as he brushed the wall in the early part of the race before he was forced to retire with hydraulic issues.

Hulkenberg was the best of the rest for Renault finishing sixth, which allowed his Renault team to seal sixth place in the constructors. That was despite the German being awarded a five second penalty in his battle with his former teammate Sergio Perez.

Massa and Alonso once again fought it out on track, the Williams stopping later meaning he fell behind the Spaniard.

Conclusion

2017 a season, which promised so much early on, came to an underwhelming conclusion. Ferrari could have pushed Mercedes all the way, if they had not had the reliability issues in the second half of the year. Hamilton raised his game and got in Vettel’s head some belief after Baku.

Red Bull, we thought would be in the mix and if they had as we now know got on top of their wind tunnel correlation problems earlier maybe they could have been fighting at the front. McLaren had a disastrous season, but the move to Renault next year should see them come back.

But ultimately it saw Hamilton seal his place in Formula One, British and sporting history as 2017 was Hamilton’s Record-Breaking Fight

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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