2018 Brazilian Grand Prix – Preview

It was a magnificent win for Max Verstappen at the Mexican Grand Prix, another tough race for Daniel Ricciardo ending in his eighth retirement of the season, but the biggest headline was Lewis Hamilton becoming just the third man after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to win five Formula One World Championships, an incredible achievement.

However, the focus now turns to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo, Brazil for the penultimate round, Round 20 of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, and a battle not only for the Constructors’ Championship, but also for third in the Drivers’ Championship.

Hamilton (358 points) became a five-time Formula One World Champion after his fourth-place finish in Mexico, a performance in any other circumstances would have been described as a lacklustre one, finishing 78.738 seconds behind race winner Verstappen, and the last car on the lead lap. Hamilton and Mercedes will be looking for a much better performance in the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, two circuits which should suit Mercedes on paper much better.

Sebastian Vettel (294 points) has secured second in the world championship after finishing second in Mexico, which wasn’t enough to keep the championship battle going in his Ferrari, but the positive sign for the Prancing Horse is that Ferrari have regained the speed that they had before the flyaway races, winning in Austin with Kimi Räikkönen, and being the second-best car in Mexico behind Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer at a track which very much suited Red Bull.

Talking about Räikkönen (236 points), he leads a three-way battle for third in the world championship with Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (227 points), and Verstappen (216 points), while Ricciardo (146 points) will finish 2018 in sixth after retiring for the second-straight week, this time due to a hydraulics failure.

Behind the top six in the championship, there is a huge scrap for seventh with Nico Hülkenberg (69 points), Sergio Pérez (57 points), Kevin Magnussen (53 points), Fernando Alonso (50 points), Esteban Ocon (49 points), and Carlos Sainz Jr. (45 points) all within 24 points of each other with two races remaining.

Looking at the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (585 points) could claim their fifth-straight championship Brazil, currently leading by 55 points over Ferrari (530 points). Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer (362 points) are locked-in for third with Renault (114 points) close to locking up fourth ahead of Haas-Ferrari (84 points).

Then beyond the top five, McLaren-Renault (62 points) are hanging onto sixth ahead of Force India-Mercedes (47 points), while a great battle continues for eighth in the championship with Sauber-Ferrari (36 points) overtaking Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda (33 points), while Williams-Mercedes (seven points) will finish 10th in the Constructors’ Championship barring a minor miracle.

Looking at the championship permutations, Mercedes can claim the 2018 Constructors’ World Championship in Brazil if they are not out-scored by Ferrari by 13 points or more. If Ferrari finish first and second in São Paulo, the battle will go down to the final race in Abu Dhabi regardless of what Mercedes does. However, if one Mercedes driver finishes the Brazilian Grand Prix inside the top two, the other Mercedes driver must finish fifth or higher unless the first Mercedes driver win, with a Mercedes win being enough to clinch the Constructors’ Championship regardless of what Ferrari does.

And, we also have the battle for third in the championship on the line in Brazil, which can be decided in favour of Kimi Räikkönen:

  1. If Räikkönen wins the race, Bottas must finish 6th or lower.
  2. If Räikkönen finishes second, Bottas must finish 9th or lower, and Verstappen must finish 4th or lower.

So, who will win the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix?

In my opinion, I think Mercedes will return back to their best form, but I still suspect Ferrari will be with them in the battle for the victory at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Overall, I think Sebastian Vettel will find his best form to claim his sixth race win of the season, but I think the two Mercedes will be on the podium to claim their fifth-straight Constructors’ World Championship.

Advertisements

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix – Preview

The 19th round of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend from the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo in Brazil, and after the Mexican Grand Prix, the championship battle has been decided.

Lewis Hamilton has claimed his fourth world championship after finishing ninth in Mexico after the front wing of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari made contact with the right-rear tyre of Hamilton’s Mercedes, and while Vettel managed to recover to fourth-place after being forced to pit for a new front wing, it was no where near enough to keep his championship hopes, and deny Hamilton, at least for now, his fourth world championship.

In finishing ninth, Hamilton was also lapped, marking the first time that he has been lapped since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, which was his first season with the Mercedes team, but it didn’t matter as he joined Michael Schumacher (7), Juan Manuel Fangio (5), Alain Prost (4), and Sebastian Vettel (4) as having won four world championships or more.

In addition to this, by finishing ninth, Hamilton has kept his streak of 23-consecutive points-scoring races going, which is the equal-third best streak in Formula One history, and thus keeps alive the possibility of finishing every race of the season inside the points for the first time in his Formula One career.

As far as the championship standings are concerned, Hamilton (333 points) leads by an unassailable 56 points over Vettel (277 points), with a battle looming for second in the championship between the German, and Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas (262 points), with both drivers guaranteed of finishing inside the top three in the 2017 championship after Daniel Ricciardo’s second retirement in as many races.

Ricciardo (192 points) is fourth in the championship, ahead of Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen (178 points), and Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen (148 points), who claimed his second victory of the season in Mexico, and has finished three of the last four races on the podium after getting decent run of reliability during the last four races.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes (595 points), Ferrari (455 points), Red Bull (340 points), and Force India (175 points) have secured first, second, third, and fourth in the championship respectively, with fifth through to 10th still yet to be decided.

So, who is going to win the Brazilian Grand Prix?

The Mercedes on paper should be the car most suited to this circuit, but both Ferrari, and in recent times, Red Bull, have shown that they can match it with Mercedes at most circuits. However, if Hamilton qualifies at the front, if not on pole position, you just can’t see anyone stopping him claiming his 10th race victory in 2017.

 

The first two practice sessions (90 minutes each) are on Friday at 10am and 2pm local time (Friday 11pm and Saturday 3am AEDT).

The final practice session (60 minutes) and qualifying is on Saturday at 11am and 2pm local time (Sunday 12am and 3am AEDT).

The 71 lap race is on Sunday from 2pm local time (Monday 3am AEDT).