The Formula One circus reaches it’s penultimate destination in the world championship after having newly crowned Lewis Hamilton a 5-time champion. With nothing to lose we will now see an all out assault from the field this weekend in a race that could be affected by rain.
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace named after the 1-time Grand Prix winner of the same name is 4.309km anti-clockwise circuit featuring 16 corners. There are two DRS zones on the circuit, the first on the straight between turns 3 and 4 and a second just after the kink of turn 14.
Despite the high altitude the circuit is still one that favours a powerful engine thanks to most of the lap being on full throttle but it can be a tough circuit on engines because of this. In the dry the circuit is not the most challenging for the drivers but can be very difficult in the wet, particularly through sector 3 where we have seen many drivers have very scary moments.
Overtaking is again difficult in the dry with turns 1 and 4 being the only real opportunities but as we saw in 2016 in the wet overtaking is much more achievable just ask Max Verstappen.
The relatively short lap means there is less to be gained by making an extra pit stop and as a result the undercut shouldn’t be very effective. Pirelli have brought the supersoft, soft and medium tyres but come race day these may not get much use with rain looming.
8 Podiums, 0 Wins:
Despite Fernando Alonso having the most podiums of any driver on the grid he hasn’t had a single win in Brazil and with this set to be his last ever Brazilian Grand Prix it is unlikely he ever will.
Sebastian Vettel has had the most wins of the current grid with 3 and was the winner of last years Grand Prix, both Mercedes and Ferrari looked to be equally matched. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton are the only two other drivers on the current grid to have won here with Sao Paulo proving to be a bogey track for Hamilton.
Drivers to watch out for:
Nico Hulkenberg took pole position in wet conditions in 2010 for Williams and came close to winning in Brazil for Force India in 2012. Nico has a very goof track record around Brazil and if the race proves to be wet we may see a surprise from the German.
Max Verstappen drove an absolute masterclass here in 2016, he was a master in the wet and if it wasn’t for a poor strategy call he may have even won the race. Like Hulkenberg; Verstappen will benefit massively from a wet race.
Valtteri Bottas took pole position in Brazil last year but a bad start cost him the victory, with the driver’s title now wrapped up Bottas should now have every opportunity to win his first Grand Prix of the season.
Fernando Alonso has been very successful in Sao Paulo and is the most successful of the current grid, expect Fernando to be fighting for the points this weekend as his career enters it’s closing stages.
Drivers in need of a result:
Daniel Ricciardo has only two races left with Red Bull and he is eager to get back on the podium. He started from pole position in Mexico but retired with clutch failure, Ricciardo needs a result soon otherwise he is going to have a long winter.
Sergey Sirotkin is now fighting for his F1 career, he needs to prove to Williams that he has the race pace to match his qualifying speed, time is running out and he won’t be able to rely solely on his Russian backers.
The weather is going to be the biggest influence in the result of the race, if it’s a dry race then I would bet on Bottas claiming his first win of the season (it’s amazing that this is a thing) and if it is a wet race then Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton will come out on top. As for the midfield battle expect it to be very tight but Hulkenberg is special round here so expect to see him fight for best of the rest. Mercedes should also claim their 5th consecutive constructors championship and come ever close to beating the record held by Ferrari for most consecutive championship wins.
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