The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team left Sao Paulo with a superb result claimed by Charles Leclerc who was the first driver home outside of the ‘big three’ teams after finishing in P7; however team mate Marcus Ericsson wasn’t able to exploit his high starting position and hit trouble early on.
The 6 points scored by Leclerc in Brazil further consolidates the team's eighth position in the Constructors' Championship and the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team has in fact now opened out a 9 point cushion over Toro Rosso Honda with just one race remaining.
A strong qualifying session, the best of the season for the Swiss team, saw Ericsson and Leclerc taking the start from the 6th and 7th spots on the grid and determined to score points.
Everything was in place for a productive race, but unfortunately a heated start to the Brazilian Grand Prix saw two different races unfold for the two drivers. While Leclerc had a good start, gaining positions on the opening lap, Ericsson faced a different set of challenges.
Eager to extract the most from his fourth row starting position, the Swedish driver gave his all to retain it, however, he had a difficult fight ahead of him. After a contact with another car during the opening laps his floor and front wing were damaged. Despite the team calling him back to the pits in an attempt to fix the Ferrari-powered single seater, he eventually had to a retire from the race.
Leclerc, on the other hand – who was going into his penultimate race with the team as he will move to Scuderia Ferrari next year to replace the Sauber bound Kimi Raikkonen – gave yet another fast and consistent performance, fighting at the top of the midfield for the entire duration of the race.
Finishing in seventh position for the third time this season, the Monegasque rookie collected another six points and advances to fourteenth position in the Driver's Championship with a total of 33 points to his name. Ericsson, who will drop down to a third driver role with the team in 2019, is in seventeenth place in the points classification, holding a total of 9 points for the season so far.
Meanwhile, the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team now sits on 42 points and is currently in eighth place in the Constructors' Championship ahead of Toro Rosso and Williams.
C37 (Chassis 05/Ferrari)
Result: DNF. Start on supersoft tyres, after 18 laps change to medium tyres
"A disappointing end to such a great weekend. I had contact with another car just after the start, and after that, the car was difficult to drive. The balance was different to the rest of the weekend and the damage became worse and worse. We had to retire from the race - a shame, especially after such a fantastic qualifying, but we will come back stronger at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi."
C37 (Chassis 02/Ferrari)
Result: 7th. Start on supersoft tyres, after 35 laps change to medium tyres
"I am very happy with the race; finishing in 7th place is a positive result that we can be satisfied with. It was fun to drive on this track and adding more points to our tally to solidify our 8th position in the Constructors' Championship is a positive feeling for the whole team. I look forward to seeing what we can do in Abu Dhabi."
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
"Overall, this was a positive weekend for our team. Both drivers gave strong performances in qualifying and started the race at the top of the midfield. Charles finishing the race in 7th place is a good step forward in consolidating P8 in the championship. We do however leave Sao Paulo with mixed feelings, as Marcus had to retire from the race. After a contact with another car, there was damage to his floor and front wing, which made it impossible for him to finish. Nevertheless, our pace is good, and we are fighting for positions in the championship. Our progress continues, and this is a reward for the hard work done at the track and at the factory in Switzerland over the course of this year. I look forward to finishing the season in strong form in Abu Dhabi."
Photos: Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team - 2018 FIA F1 World Championship
Italiaspeed provides daily independent news on the Italian auto industry, we keep free from any affiliations to bring you the facts. If you read Italiaspeed and like it please consider supporting us.