Brazilian Grand Prix | Sunday 15 November | Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace |17:30
The battle for second place in the Drivers’ Championship is balanced on a knife edge as the teams head to sunny Sao Paulo for the penultimate round of racing.
While the biggest surprise of last weekend’s race was the composition of the track- drastically changed from last year’s race – fans were also left mildly astonished by the fact that Lewis Hamilton didn’t end the race at the front of the pack. The Brit had to settle for second place as his teammate,
Nico Rosberg finally took take advantage of a pole start. Rosberg had a fantastic weekend, qualifying on pole and then winning the main event. The victory was long overdue, and no one recognised this more than Rosberg, who was a touch bit emotional during the post-race interviews.
While Mercedes had a fantastic race in Mexico, the Ferrari boys had a weekend to forget. Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the race during the 51st lap. Kimi Raikkonen's race was also cut short. As was the case in Sochi, Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas made contact with each other’s cars. Unlike Sochi though, the Ferrari man came off second best and was forced to retire 50 laps into the race. Bottas would go on to claim the final spot on the podium.
The Williams man was followed across the line by the two Red Bulls of Daniel Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo. The former claimed fourth spot while the latter took fifth. Sandwiched between them and the two Force India’s was Filipe Massa. While a sixth place finish wasn’t a bad result, the Brazilian will be hoping to put on a better display in front of his home fans this coming weekend.
Local lad, Sergio Perez had to settle for eighth place while his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, claimed seventh. The Top ten was rounded out by Max Verstappen (9th) and Romain Grosjean (10th).
The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace hosted its first Grand Prix way back in 1976 and instantly became a favourite amongst drivers and spectator alike. While this is mainly due to the sun-kissed beaches and amazing weather that Sao Paulo is blessed with, the local fans also play a key role in Grand Prix being so widely loved. The Locals are passionate about their racing which is mainly due to the legacy of Ayton Senna. The Sao Paulo native was one of the finest drivers to ever take to the track and is still an inspiration to aspiring drivers across the globe.
The total race distance measures 305.909 kilometres and is made up of 71 laps, with each lap spanning a distance of 4.309 Kilometres and containing 15 corners. There are some extremely long straights which will favour the upper echelons of the field. We’re likely to see a lot of overtaking on these straights especially with the two DRS zones situated on the longest straights: between corners three and four, and the start finish straight.
Pirelli have opted to issue the yellow-walled softs and the medium compound whites for this weekend’s race. Although we may see more of the blue-walled full wets with the local weather service predicting heavy thunderstorms for Sunday’s main race.
Mercedes dominated last year’s race with Nico Rosberg pipping his teammate to victory. The two Mercedes drivers were joined on the podium by hometown hero Filipe Massa, who ended the race in third.
Lewis Hamilton 6/10
Nico Rosberg 2/1
Sebastian Vettel 8/1
Valterri Bottas 33/1
Kimi Raikkonen 33/1
Felipe Massa 40/1
Daniel Ricciardo 66/1
Danil Kvyat 66/1
Nico Rosberg - To win Race & Fastest Qualifier (2/1 &11/10)
Well it took him a while, but Nico Rosberg finally converted a pole start into a victory. It has been a tough season for the Mercedes man, having literally trailed in his teammates wake. The win in Mexico not only gave him a much-needed confidence boost but also opened up a 21 point gap between Vettel and himself on the Driver’s standings heading into the penultimate Grand Prix.
Rosberg was in fine form during last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, taking the pole and main race accolades. With Vettel still in with a shout of claiming second spot in the Drivers Championship, Rosberg knows he will have to put in another solid shift in Brazil.
Lewis Hamilton - Fastest Lap (1/1)
I have a strange love-hate relationship with the Brit – I love it when I’ve got money on him winning a race and he comes good and I hate how he dominates the field. In a way, it’s a good thing as I’m not too peeved when he fails to produce the goods – as was the case last weekend.
Having written a touching paragraph on how he’s such a great champion and how he will continue to try win at all costs even with the Championship sewn up, he then proceeded to race like a ninety-year-old. Maybe that’s a bit harsh but he was definitely holding back in Mexico City.
Having said all of this you may think it’s a bit strange that I’m backing him to claim the fastest lap accolade in Brazil. There is method to my madness, however. The Brit claimed the fastest lap in Brazil last year and has the best car set-up in the field. All he needs to do is discover his inner Ricky Bobby and feel the need to go fast again and he’ll surely add another fastest lap honour to his substantial tally.
Felipe Massa – Podium Finish (35/10)
The local lad is always a good shout for a podium place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. He finished two of the last three Grand Prix’s held in Sao Paulo on the podium, he also has two wins to his name at the track, the last coming in 2008.
He may be enduring somewhat of a subdued season but Massa always seems to turn it on in Brazil. Back the hometown hero to get onto the podium at 35/10.
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