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Old 10th November 2016, 07:15   #1
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Default Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Formula 1 Grande Prêmio do Brasil 2016

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Formula 1 returns to the historic Autódromo José Carlos Pace circuit in São Paulo, Brazil for the 20th and penultimate round of the 2016 Formula One season. Similar to Mexico, viewers can expect a supercharged atmosphere here, since Brazilian fans love their motorsport with a passion - after all, this is a country that has produced various champions and drivers like Emerson Fittipaldi, José Carlos Pace, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Rubens Barrichello, as well as current drivers Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr. Felipe Massa is extremely popular with the fans, and with this race being his last Brazilian GP, we can expect to see tributes overflowing.

More importantly, Brazil has often proven to be the venue where drivers' championship titles are decided (see related article), with the track offering up either straightforward title victories (Alonso's back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006; and Button's 2009 championship), or far more tumultuous and heart-stopping races (Räikkönen's victory in 2007; Hamilton's championship in 2008; and Vettel's 2012 championship on a rainy track). In case you've not yet spotted the pattern in those names, here you go: all five of the world champions on the current grid have clinched a championship at Brazil.
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The current grid has 5 champions, all of whom won a title at the Brazilian GP

Therefore, it is only fitting that we return to Brazil with the 2016 World Drivers' Championship poised on a knife-edge. With two races to go in the 2016 season, we're at a point where the drivers' championship can be closed in Nico Rosberg's favour at Brazil or deferred in either driver's favour to Abu Dhabi based on various race outcomes.

The below video recaps last year's GP, when Nico Rosberg won the race from pole and secured second place in the 2015 drivers' championship:



Race Timings in IST
The double header of the US GP and the Mexican GP left Indian fans of Formula 1 exhausted and sleepless, having forced them to stay up well past midnight to catch the races live. Those fans can heave a sigh of relief as the Brazilian GP moves over 50° eastwards, resulting in the race starting at 2 pm local time, which is a much friendlier 9:30 pm in India on Sunday (13-Nov). The below timings are in IST:
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Track Information
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  • Lap length: 4.309 km
  • Race laps: 71
  • Race distance: 305.909 km
  • Fastest lap (race): 1:11.473 (Juan Pablo Montoya, 2004)
  • Fastest lap (any session): 1:09.822 (Rubens Barrichello, 2004 Q1)
  • Pole position: Right-hand side of the track
  • Track orientation: Anti-clockwise
  • Maximum speed: 310 km/h
  • DRS zones: Pit straight and Reta Oposta straight
  • Distance from grid to turn one: 334 m
  • Full throttle: 50%
  • Longest flat-out section: 1394 m
  • Gear changes per lap: 42
  • Track altitude: 739 - 782 MSL

The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is named in memory of Brazilian Formula 1 driver José Carlos Pace. Prior to 1985, this circuit was known as the Interlagos circuit, a name which continues to be used colloquially even today. Interlagos is translated literally as "between the lakes", which accurately describes the neighbourhood being situated between two artificial lakes.

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An overhead shot of the Interlagos circuit, with the 1.4 km long start-finish straight on the left, and the back straight (Reta Oposta) on the bottom-right.
The small lake on the top-right shows us why turns 4 & 5 are called Descida do Lago (Lake Descent).

The circuit is among the minority on the Formula 1 calendar that runs in an anti-clockwise direction, which places slightly different demands on drivers, particularly their neck muscles which are used to taking more right-handers on the clockwise tracks.
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Where the original layout of the track was 7.8 km long, the current layout runs on a shortened length of 4.3 km. Fans will be hard pressed to decide which is better - the layout of the various sections of track, or the evocative names given to them - names like the Senna Esses, Curva do Sol (Sun Turn), Reta Oposta (Opposite Straight, which contains the second DRS zone), Descida do Lago (Lake Descent) and Junção (Junction) to name a few. Interlagos is also famous for its extremely long pitlane - it starts before the final turn Arquibancadas (turn 15) and re-joins the track only on the back straight Reta Oposta after turn 3.

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What this track lacks in length it more than makes up for in intensity. As seen above, the circuit features over 40 metres of changes in elevation. Combined with twisty sections (like the Senna Esses and most of sector 2) and corners with varying cambers, this tests drivers' abilities, and gives them opportunities to capitalize on the mistakes of others. The circuit also gives the teams a challenge in setting up the cars - a low downforce setup allows cars to exploit the lengthy straights, particularly the start-finish straight which is 1.4 km long (put another way, this straight is a whopping one-third of the entire circuit's length). However, its not all about straight-line speed, as good balance and downforce are key to mastering the Senna Esses and the twisty second sector. Therefore, achieving the right balance of downforce will be key to good qualifying and race performance. With an altitude of over 700 MSL, some downforce is lost - though not as much as the Mexican GP - and teams will factor that in when setting up their cars.


Race Weekend - Weather
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According to the long-range forecast, rain is expected across the entire race weekend. In particular, there is a predicted 90% chance of rain in the afternoon of the qualifying and race sessions. While it is yet to be seen how heavy this rain will be, and to what extent it affects qualifying and the race, it must be pointed out that anytime Brazil has hosted a wet race, it has often ended up being a topsy-turvy affair filled with thrills and entertainment (one need only look at the 2008 and 2012 Brazilian GPs for examples). So both the championship contenders will go in praying that neither driver gets too far ahead of the other, to keep their title hopes alive.


Race Weekend - Tyre Selection
For just the fifth time this season, teams and drivers will be able to choose from Pirelli's hard (orange), medium (white) and soft (yellow) tyre compounds for the 2016 Brazilian GP. The soft (yellow) tyre compound is assigned for drivers who reach Q3 in qualifying, while the hard (orange) and medium (white) tyre compounds are nominated for the race - meaning drivers must have at least one set of each compound, and must use at least one of them during the race.
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However, most teams have opted for just one set of the hard tyres, with only a few opting for two sets of the hard tyres (Räikkönen, both Force Indias and Gutiérrez).
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Last year, all the podium finishers used a three-stop strategy through the race, with Räikkönen being the topmost two-stopper finishing fourth. This year, the presence of the hard tyre might lead some more teams to try the alternate two-stop strategy or split their strategies. Of course, all those strategies presuppose a dry race, which is looking increasingly unlikely!

Interlagos is one of the most intense tracks in terms of tyre load as the cars are constantly taking high-energy corners and dealing with traffic. Due to the anti-clockwise configuration, it is the right-rear tyre doing the most work, and experiencing the highest wear. Tyres are often subjected to combined lateral and longitudinal forces, which increase demands on the tyres.*
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Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director for Pirelli has this to say:
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“We’re seeing the hard tyres in Brazil for the first time since 2013, which should prove to be very effective against the high-energy demands of the track. In 2015 we had a three-stop race, so with the increase in performance and downforce this year, taking a harder tyre - which has nonetheless been a very rare occurrence this season - was the only sensible option to offer a number of different strategy variables. Balancing its durability against the extra performance of the softer compounds will hold the key to the race tactics. The weather will obviously play a big part in these calculations too.”

World Constructors' Championship (WCC)
  • Mercedes are confirmed as the winners of the 2016 World Constructors' Championship, and it seems increasingly likely that Red Bull and Ferrari will round out the next two spots in that order, particularly as the final standings at Mexico resulted in Red Bull drawing 62 points clear of Ferrari, and with just 86 points available in the season for a single team, that gap is going to be very hard to bridge.
  • Moving into the midfield, things get tasty with the Force India vs. Williams battle being far from concluded. Force India once again opened up a small gap over Williams at Mexico, but 9 points is not an insurmountable difference by any stretch of the imagination.
  • The points gap between McLaren and Toro Rosso did not change after the Mexican GP, but with just two races to go, it again seems unlikely that Toro Rosso can mount an effective challenge to overtake McLaren, particularly as the top 5 teams have a tendency to consistently lock out all the point-scoring positions, and with the 2015 Ferrari engine that powers the Toro Rosso being seen increasingly as a liability.
  • Haas are quite secure in eighth, but they will be conscious that they are resting on past laurels - with the exception of a single point scored at the US GP, all their other point finishes have come in the first half of the season. More recently, they've been grappling with a series of brake issues that has compromised their qualification and races. Haas continue to test out different brake disc compositions and manufacturers to address this issue, even as they focus on their 2017 car.
  • Renault will not be very fussed being 9th - at the outset of the season they declared they were at the start of a multi-year rebuilding plan. Having signed Hülkenberg and Palmer for 2017, their focus will be more on challenging in the midfield during 2017 than concluding their 2016 campaign.
  • At the very tail of the field, the eternal saga of Manor vs. Sauber continues. At the Mexican GP, some excellent strategy calls and great driving by Marcus Ericsson helped him finish just outside the points in 11th - which was the best finish of the season for Sauber. While they are no doubt pleased with that result, they will also be ruing the fact that they came so close to that elusive point. Even a single point will place Sauber ahead of Manor in the WCC, because the countback will reveal that Sauber has had better race finishes. However, getting that point will require a large dollop of luck in a field of 22 cars. With none of the drivers in both teams having a confirmed race seat for 2017, all four of the drivers will also be driving to earn next year's seats.
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World Drivers' Championship (WDC)
  • Unsurprisingly, a lot of attention will be given to the WDC, as it is these final two races that can determine the eventual winner of the 2016 World Drivers' Championship. Rosberg goes into this race with a lead of 19 points over Hamilton, but it is Hamilton who has the momentum coming off back-to-back lights-to-flag victories at both USA and Mexico.
  • There are various permutations that can result in the championship being decided in Rosberg's favour at Brazil, the simplest of which is that an outright win by Rosberg will give him the WDC. The other outcomes will either make Rosberg the champion, or will extend the title battle to the season finale at Abu Dhabi.
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  • Ricciardo is sitting pretty in third - he cannot reach the Mercedes pair ahead of him, but neither can he be eclipsed by any of the drivers scrapping for fourth. Therefore, his grin will be wider than ever as he can race for the sake of racing.
  • However, the battle for fourth is a close and interesting one, not only due to the closeness in terms of points, but due to the personalities involved and their prior history. DNFs for his competitors in the US GP means Vettel heads the trio of drivers competing for fourth place in the WDC, followed by his teammate Räikkönen and Red Bull's Verstappen, with a 10-point spread covering all three. Both Ferrari drivers have had unhappy run-ins with Verstappen over the course of the season, so if they find themselves fighting for the same piece of tarmac on Sunday - as they likely will - things can get very spicy very quickly.
  • Rounding out the top ten, while we have both Force India drivers ahead of their Williams competitors, we have a surprise entry of Alonso in tenth ahead of Massa by just one point. With this being the final Brazilian GP for Massa, he will be keen to put on a show for his home fans, as well as collect points to move ahead in the WDC standings.
  • Further down the order, those drivers with little to no points will be locked in a tight battle to demonstrate their prowess over these last two races, as they will be fighting for the rapidly dwindling race seats available for 2017; with Force India's seat alongside Pérez being the most coveted one.
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Old 10th November 2016, 07:38   #2
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Default Team Previews and Analysis

Team Previews and Analysis

Mercedes
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Mercedes arrives at Brazil high on the success of two 1-2 finishes, and will be seeking to extend that trend. While Mercedes has been more dominant this year in terms of race victories compared to the previous two seasons, the number of 1-2 finishes has been nearly halved in comparison to previous years - due to a combination of poorer starts, reliability and an increased challenge from both Ferrari and Red Bull. As Mercedes prepares to sign off the 2016 season, they will no doubt be aiming to stamp their dominance with emphatic 1-2 finishes in their final races. However, such a desire will have to be balanced against the need to ensure that they give both their drivers a fair shot at the WDC. As was hinted at in Mexico, this might be in the form of slightly detuned engines to improve their reliability.

Nico Rosberg will be keen on getting back on the top step - not only to wrest momentum away from Hamilton, but also because it will conclusively win him the drivers' championship. In this quest, he is aided by the knowledge that he has won both the Brazilian GPs of the modern turbo era, after qualifying on pole. Throwing a spanner in the works is the weather, with the threat of light rain across the weekend. While Rosberg has shown himself very capable of driving in the wet (the 2015 US GP being a notable example), in similar conditions in 2016 he has been stymied by issues with his car's wet setup.

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Lewis Hamilton knows that his shot at the 2016 WDC title rests on winning the remaining races combined with a poor finish by Rosberg. Described as a driver who works best under pressure, Hamilton will come to Brazil aiming to take care of the winning, while hoping that the rain prevents Rosberg from achieving a high-scoring position. He will also be keen to change the fact that Interlagos has always been a "bogey track" for him - in his 9 appearances at this circuit, he has been on the podium thrice, but never on the top step.

Nico Rosberg
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“Mexico wasn’t ideal. I was going for the win as always but Lewis was just a little bit faster all weekend. Sometimes you just have to accept that and be satisfied with your work. I’m not going to change my approach. I need to keep doing what helps me perform at my best and that’s going for the win every time. There are still two races to go and anything can happen in this sport, so I need to focus my energy on the factors that I have in my control. I’ve got good form in Sao Paulo. It’s one of the real classic tracks, which usually produce some exciting races, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and having a big battle in front of those awesome Brazilian fans.”
Lewis Hamilton
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“It’s a great feeling when you’re able to show the kind of pace I’ve shown at the past two races. Everyone has worked so hard and the car has really been faultless. The speed has been there all season - I just haven’t always had the opportunity to take advantage of it. In terms of the championship, it’s an unusual scenario to be in - fighting for something and not knowing for sure that what you do will guarantee you’re able to make it. One outcome would be painful and the other would be a great achievement. Regardless, I’m going to keep pushing. Since the beginning of my Formula One career I’ve seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end. I’ve never won in Brazil, so I go into this weekend focused on changing that.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
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“Mexico brought us the best possible result from a race which was far from straightforward. It also leaves us with a fascinating scenario heading to Brazil. For Nico, all this talk of just needing to finish second in order to make it to the end is over. He has it in his hands. If he wins the race in Brazil, he is champion. We’ve seen many races, particularly in the second half of this season, where he has coped well under pressure. But, mentally, I think this new situation is actually a bit easier in terms of tackling the situation with a little less pressure, as he still has another chance in Abu Dhabi. Equally, Lewis knows what he must do to keep his title hopes alive. He will never back down and that’s what makes him one of the great ones. He has three championships and 51 victories under his belt - and no matter the outcome this year, we all know there will be more to come. It’s a really interesting dynamic and great for the fans. As a team, we will do all in our power to provide both with the opportunities they need. We’re maxed out on performance, as is normal at the end of a regulation cycle, and when that happens everything becomes more marginal. This is where we find ourselves right now, so we must remain focused on every last detail.”
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
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“The drivers’ championship is getting very exciting with only two races to go. That’s the big focus of everyone’s thoughts and, as usual, we will do our very best to treat this as a normal race - approaching the weekend with the highest levels of discipline and an overriding objective to ensure we provide both drivers with the best equipment for a fair competition. Interlagos is a great track - quite a short lap, with a lot of elevation changes. Similar to Mexico City although not to the same extreme, Sao Paulo has slightly lower air pressure than the normal ambient, which has an effect on drag. The race weekend is also often affected by rain, which can make it an extremely challenging few days both on and off track. Another interesting feature of this circuit is the long run up the hill from the final corner to the first, which provides a good overtaking opportunity. It’s not easy to pass there but it’s definitely possible, which usually leads to close racing and some bold moves through that particular sequence. In fact, this venue has seen many dramatic moments over the years - including a number of championship finales. The Brazilian crowds are highly passionate and enthusiastic, so overall we look forward to another entertaining race weekend."

Red Bull
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Over the course of the 2016 season, Red Bull has dethroned Ferrari as the challenger to Mercedes, a trend they would like to - and are likely to - continue at Brazil. With little to lose in the constructors' standings, and with Mercedes rumoured to detune their engines in the interest of reliability, the Red Bulls might have a part to play in the outcome of the WDC battle.

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Daniel Ricciardo
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“The atmosphere at the track in Brazil is pretty unique, a lot of air horns and noise always make for a good crowd. Even more so this year as it is Felipe’s last race there. Brazil is one place you don’t want to be Felipe Massa’s team mate, you get so much abuse on the drivers parade its hilarious. I think Bottas is going to be really in for it next week.

“The lap is quite a short one but it’s definitely grown on me over the years. Sao Paulo was quite an overwhelming place when I first went there but I have now found a few little hot spots. As it is near the end of the season we usually do some big team dinners there which means it’s a really sociable race week. It’s up there as one of my top races due to the off track fun, let’s hope the on track action can match it.

“Another great part of racing in Brazil is the steak. There is some really good meat to be had out there so I always make sure I have time for a feast. One last recommendation is to have a caipirinha, they are awesome.”
Max Verstappen
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“I like the track in Brazil, it’s a really special layout with quite a bit of height elevation, and it is anti-clockwise which always adds a bit more fun to the challenge. The track is quite a technical layout, especially sector 2, it’s important to get this right for a quick lap. Like many of the circuits we race at it has had a lot of history and great moments over the years, this makes it one of the ‘special’ ones on the calendar.

“I haven’t had much chance to discover a lot of Sao Paulo yet. I gathered from last year that it is a really busy city, hopefully this year I will have the chance to explore and see some more local culture. The one great spot I went last year was Fogo De Chao, a really nice authentic Brazilian style steakhouse, I will definitely be returning there this year. By the time I go to Sao Paulo I will hopefully be ready for a good steak following the feast we had in Austin.

“It is obviously the penultimate race of 2016. It is strange to think we are heading to Abu Dhabi in just a few weeks’ time, but I’m looking forward to finishing the year on a high and building towards an even stronger 2017.”

Ferrari
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For Ferrari fans, the 2016 season started with so much promise. Fighting at the pointy end with Mercedes at Australia, it seemed that the Ferrari of 2016 could capitalize on their successful 2015 campaign to be a more credible threat to Mercedes this year. Since then, in Ferrari's inimitable manner, they have been slowly imploding - with a variety of failures, blown strategy calls, driver errors and bad luck, they have been outstripped by the lean and mean Red Bull driving machine.

Taking flak from the Italian media and the tifosi and under pressure from CEO Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari will be keen to redeem themselves in what remains of 2016. While retaking the runner's up spot in the WCC seems to be a tall and unlikely target, smart racing and good finishes might win them some favour.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen both have fond memories of Brazil, having won drivers' championships at Interlagos, and will seek to invoke those memories and luck this weekend.

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Kimi Räikkönen
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“It’s a good place to go. It’s a different and “old”, traditional circuit. It’s about short laps and not so many corners, but it’s hard to make a very good lap time and the grid is always very tight there. To lose one tenth means losing a lot of places. Also, there aren’t so many circuits going in an anti-clockwise direction, so it’s always different. Obviously it has been resurfaced many times, and it always goes very well at first. But then year by year it becomes more and more bumpy and it makes it more difficult. They changed the kerbs a bit, so the flow of the circuit also changed a bit. However, it’s one of those circuits where it’s difficult to go fast even if it might not be so tricky to drive.”

Force India
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In the final few races of their most successful driver pairing of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg, Force India will be aiming to consolidate their fourth place in the constructors' championship. Rumours have been swirling about the driver who will perform driving duties for 2017 in Hülkenberg's recently vacated seat, with Manor's Esteban Ocon the most likely contender. However, this weekend, the future will be temporarily on hold as Pérez and Hülkenberg go racing.

Sergio Pérez
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“Brazil is a very welcoming country and it shares a lot with Mexico. The people, the culture, the food - there’s so much that Sao Paulo can offer.

“The track is very complex to master and has some tricky corners. It’s one of the few anti-clockwise layouts, which makes it harder from a physical point of view, especially for the neck. It’s a race where there’s always some external factor playing a big role, whether it’s the weather or something else: races at Interlagos tend to be special.

“It’s a very short lap - it almost feels like driving a kart circuit with a Formula One car! Because the lap is short, you can easily lose a lot of positions with a small mistake. You have to be precise in every single corner and aim for the perfect lap. You need a car that is stable at the rear, with no understeer so that you can make the most of all the changes of direction.

“You cannot race in Brazil without thinking about Senna. He is a legend for most of us driving in F1 and his presence is felt everywhere at the circuit.”
Nico Hülkenberg
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“I have lots of good memories from Brazil: it’s where I got a pole position in my debut year in 2010 and where I had one of my best days in 2012. That was a very special race, leading for 40 laps in mixed conditions. It was exciting from the lights: it was dry, then it started to drizzle and some people stopped for intermediate tyres, but I stayed out, took a risk and made it work. It was a special experience and one of my best performances to date.

“I feel really comfortable and happy in Sao Paulo. The lifestyle of the Brazilian people really attracts me: the vibe of the city is great and I love the food too. I think feeling at ease somewhere plays a big part in performing well, so I am looking forward to this weekend.

“There is a lot of history at Interlagos and it’s an enjoyable track to drive. My highlight is the second sector: it’s twisty and technical, and a challenge to get it just right. The Senna Esses are an interesting corner combination as well - you can easily ruin a lap very early on if you get them wrong.

“The weather changes very quickly in Sao Paulo - the clouds come up to the track all of a sudden and hit us, which makes for some crazy weather and some crazy races, which is something I quite enjoy!”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
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“Our strong showing in Mexico proved how competitive we are at the moment and gives us further encouragement for this weekend’s race in Sao Paulo. We’ve had some good memories from Brazil over the years and it’s a circuit that has staged some special races - often helped by wet weather.

*“It’s a very important weekend for us as we reach crunch time in our battle for fourth place in the championship. With two races to go and a nine-point advantage, every point becomes potentially decisive. We need to be at the top of our game to ensure we finish the job we have done so well all year.”

Williams
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Williams are in the news after their announcement of teenager Lance Stroll to partner Bottas for Williams in 2017. That news of Massa's successor will only serve to bring the focus back on the likeable Brazilian as he participates in his final Brazilian GP. The Interlagos circuit has served as the scene of both joy and heartbreak for Felipe Massa - emotions best exemplified in the 2008 Brazilian GP where he won the race but lost the driver's title. While he was disqualified from last year's Brazilian GP due to a technical violation, this year Massa will aim to sign out his racing career with an impressive performance in front of his adoring fans.

While the attention might be focused on the other side of the garage, the news of his new teammate will no doubt energize Valtteri Bottas, who will be keen to put down a marker to show people who's the primary Williams driver for 2017.

Valtteri Bottas
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“First of all, I think this is going to be such a cool race for Felipe as he is retiring and it’s going to be his last home race. I hope we can do well there and that he enjoys the weekend. Last year we did a good race and picked up some decent points. Brazilian fans are also always really passionate about Formula One. There is a nice combination of different types of corners on the track and it’s quite technical. The new tarmac that was laid there a couple of years ago has made it very grippy since, so I really enjoy racing at this track.”
Felipe Massa
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Massa's final race at the Brazilian GP will be an emotional one for himself, his family and his fans.
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“Interlagos is home. It’s the place that I grew up. It will be emotional racing there for the final time on such an amazing track. I’m looking forward to enjoying every single lap and hopefully I can manage to finish the race with a good result. I have won twice at Interlagos and have finished on the podium many times over the years and I hope we can get another one. It won’t be easy, but I will do everything I can for my people and for Brazil in my last race at home.”
Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer
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“We are expecting very poor weather in the lead up to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend with a chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday. We are hoping it will be dry, however we could see a situation similar to 2013 when the first real dry running we had was on race day. Interestingly, Pirelli have gone one step harder than last year, as opposed to going a step softer as normally happens, so we have the hard, medium and soft compounds available; the first time we’ve had that combination since 2013. Generally, we expect a two-stop race irrespective of tyre choice. In qualifying the lap time is very low, probably approaching 70 seconds this year, and so this leads to a very close grid where hundredths of a second really count. As a circuit it is quite sensitive to mechanical grip, more so even than downforce, although good aerodynamic performance counts in the middle sector. Whilst straight-line speed is important for overtaking, the preferred pass into Turn 1 comes largely from getting a good exit from Turn 12.”

McLaren
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Last year at Interlagos, McLaren's woes with their Honda power unit led to some entertainment from their drivers, their version of the 'silly season', if you will. With a more reliable Honda power unit in the back of their car, and with better performances to their credit this year, both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will be seeking to impress with their on-track performance, rather than their off-track antics.

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Left: Last year, Alonso elected to get a tan after his car broke down on track.
Right: Also in 2015, both former WDCs Alonso and Button hopped on to the podium to pose for photos, knowing it was their best shot at the podium for the near future.

Fernando Alonso
Quote:
“I think every racing driver enjoys racing at Interlagos. It’s obviously a special place, and we saw at the last race just how important it is to have packed grandstands full of passionate fans - and Brazil is no different. For such a short lap, the track has a great flow – from the moment you cross the start-finish line, you plunge into the esses and then sweep down into the bottom of the venue’s natural bowl. Even with a couple of hairpins, it doesn’t really feel like any of the corners interrupt the flow around here, which means that, at the end of each lap, you’re already fully committed to attacking it again. I love this place.

“Sitting on the grid ahead of the race is one of those unique Formula One sensations: the crowd seems to loom over you; really in your face, very close. The atmosphere and intensity are always amazing. After a disappointing weekend in Mexico, I think we’ll be looking to bounce back in Brazil. One of our aims will be to make the most of practice and qualifying, and give ourselves the best chance of maintaining a better position during the race.”
Jenson Button
Quote:
“I love Interlagos and I’m really excited about the weekend. There’s been some absolutely classic Formula One races there and it’s always a good climax toward the end of the season. I hope we can have a better result there than we did in Mexico and work towards getting back into the points. There’s only two races left so we’ll be giving it our all for the awesome Brazilian fans. The atmosphere at Interlagos is always something special, so we’ll go out there and show them a great weekend of racing.”

“The Interlagos circuit has a bit of - how can I put it? - ‘muscle’. It’s a place that you really attack - and it’s really enjoyable, particularly when the front-end is properly nailed. A corner like Ferradura is really satisfying when you get it right; you really commit at the corner entry, barely scrubbing off any speed, and then sort of guide the car through until it rolls out of the second apex up onto the apex kerb. It’s great. Even the hairpins require a really attacking style, you can take lots of kerb, and there’s no run-off at the exits. It’s how a racetrack should be, really.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
Quote:
“Over the past few races, we’ve seen that our form has fluctuated due to a variety of circuit-specific characteristics. We’re working hard to iron out these differences from track-to-track, but it’s inevitable that some circuits will suit our package’s strengths better than others.

“Interlagos is a real test of car and driver and often we see the best drivers shine there. It demands a lot from them, and at this time of year the circuit is notorious for tricky driving conditions if it rains, especially on the many off-camber areas of the track.

“Along with the backdrop of Sao Paulo, the incredibly enthusiastic Brazilian fans and the undulating nature of the circuit all make for great racing and one of the most exciting Grand Prix of the year. McLaren has seen a great deal of success in Brazil - both Fernando and Jenson clinched their world titles there - and it’s a special place for our team. Interlagos rightfully deserves its legendary status on the calendar and we’re aiming for a positive weekend at this incredible venue.”

Toro Rosso
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While Carlos Sainz has been the more impressive of the two drivers, he knows that he will need to showcase his driving skills if he wants to move to a better team in the future, particularly as it appears that the 'A-team' of Red Bull has two very capable young drivers who will be unlikely to move out in the near future.

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On the other side of the garage, Daniil Kvyat might be reassured that his contract has been extended into 2017, but will also be conscious that his reprieve is more a case of a lack of drivers in the Red Bull pipeline than a desire to retain him. Since his demotion from the Red Bull team after the Russian GP, he has added a mere 4 points to his name while his teammate added 34 points in the same duration, and Kvyat will be eager to finish better than his teammate - as well as other drivers - to validate his contract extension.


Haas
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Haas is the third of the midfield teams - after McLaren and Toro Rosso - who will no longer be too concerned about the constructors' standings, as they are again unlikely to progress forward or drop backward in the standings. While they will be using this opportunity to gather data for 2017, they will also be keen on putting in a good performance to overcome their highly disappointing outing at Mexico. With all of Haas's 29 points having been brought in by Romain Grosjean and with Magnussen being offered a contract by Haas, Esteban Gutiérrez is presently fighting for a 2017 race seat, and will be eager to prove his worth over these final races.

Romain Grosjean
Quote:
“Brazil is always special because of Ayrton Senna. He was one of the biggest names in Formula One. Interlagos is a special place. There’s so much history there. On raceday you’ve got so much support from the fans. I remember Ayrton winning there in 1991 when he couldn’t hold the trophy in the air because he was so tired and had the pain in his arms from driving.

“Brazil stayed pretty consistent between 2014 and 2015. They changed the curbs in 2015, which was a bit of a shame, especially at Interlagos where you have those massive green and white curbs. You really used them a lot with the car, and that’s not the case anymore. That’s cost a little bit of the spirit of the track but, nonetheless, it’s a great track to drive.

“It’s a pretty tough track with not much opportunity for a rest. Even in the straight lines you can’t rest as much as you would like. You’re at altitude as well, at 800 meters (2,625 feet), so coming from Mexico that’s nothing, but you’re still not at sea level. The weather can be challenging. It can be very warm and humid. It’s a pretty intense challenge but, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Esteban Gutiérrez
Quote:
“Interlagos is a track that is very nice to drive. There is no real downside to the track. It is not a very long track, but at the same time, it has pretty different corners. Some corners you can use a lot of kerbs, which make it very interesting. It has quite a nice rhythm, so it’s always a very special track.
“The [anti-clockwise] direction of the track doesn’t really affect our feeling for it. Sometimes it just shifts a bit of the focus on tyre wear from one side compared to the other, but it’s nothing that should make a difference to us or any other team.

“It’s not one of the most physical tracks, but it is quite physical for the neck, and it being anti-clockwise factors into that. The strength goes to the opposite side and all the main straight is not really one straight - it’s a whole corner. In the race I remember my neck getting a good workout.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
Quote:
“[The race strategy] mainly comes down to what tires you have available, but what you learn in each practice session provides the conclusion of what is best to do in the race. It’s difficult to say a week before the race what you’re going to do. What you learn in FP1 and FP2 on Friday allows you to determine what your strategy should be. You’re able to fine tune it a bit on Saturday in FP3 to where you have a good plan for the race with multiple options for multiple scenarios.”

Renault
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Renault is the final team that will be unworried about - though not content with - their 9th place in the constructors' championship. Having focused firmly on the 2017 season, they have also finalized their driver line-up for 2017 with Jolyon Palmer set to partner Nico Hülkenberg for 2017. With Kevin Magnussen strongly rumoured to be moving to Haas alongside Romain Grosjean, he will be eager to put his best foot forward over the next two races.

Kevin Magnussen
Quote:
“Brazil is a legendary weekend. It’s got so much about it, many of my idols have raced at Interlagos in the past. In my childhood it was always the last race so it had that championship presiding feeling about it. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s not the last race anymore as it feels like it should be but it’s still a fantastic weekend nonetheless.

“I know a lot about the circuit and it’s one of those famous places that’s so ingrained in Formula 1 history. It’s a short lap, it has a go-kart feeling to it as you are having to turn all the time and it flows quite nicely. Interlagos, like Austin, is one of only a few circuits that run anti-clockwise, so it’s cool that these two races are close together on the calendar.

“From the first corner onwards, it’s a really exciting circuit and there are quite a few overtaking opportunities, especially in the first sector. It’s a real driver’s track and pretty bumpy all the way round, so set up will be crucial to getting the most out of a lap. The South American fans love their Formula One too, so I’m excited about getting out there. But, as a driver, Brazil is another race and we’ll give everything we have to come away with a decent result for the team.”
Jolyon Palmer
Quote:
“I’m feeling good for Brazil as it should just carry on the good momentum that we’ve had in the second half the year. It was a shame not to qualify last time out as we could have shown even better improvement. One of my best grid spots was in prospect, but we made up for it in the race. The race pace has been good for a long time now, qualifying pace has been good too. We had some decent battles with the McLarens in Mexico, so I think we can be pretty confident going into Brazil.

“The car is getting better every round still, and I’m driving pretty well and getting more and more out of it, so I think that combined with the fact Brazil is a nice track, means I’m hopeful for a positive weekend.

“I did FP1 there last season. I was quite new to the car but I actually really enjoyed it. It’s an interesting layout and I was pretty competitive. It’s a legendary circuit which has a fantastic atmosphere. It’s anticlockwise so you have a lot of fast left-handers which we’re not so used to! I quite like turn one and two, the Senna esses, it’s a good combination of corners. It’s good for overtaking but also easy to lock-up at the end of that straight heading into the downhill left-hander. The inside wheel is particularly unweighted as you’re braking and starting your turn-in, because of the camber of the corner. If you get it right here, you can have a decent advantage against a rival. There have been many interesting races here in the past, I remember Hamilton winning the title at the last corner and the 2012 race as well, where Vettel won too.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
Quote:
“We are seeing for a while now that we have made a step up in terms of performance regardless of the circuit we are visiting, so that is encouraging. We are seeing that the gaps in the midfield are getting smaller all the time and it’s up to us now to put it all together in terms of set-up, tyre management, and extract everything possible from the potential of the car.

“I expect further progress on track as we continue to extract the maximum from the R.S.16. There are still areas that we can work on to improve the overall team performance whether it is pit stops, set-up work or tyre management. I know that the team is completely focussed on that and it’s good to see their motivation.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director
Quote:
“It’s an anticlockwise clockwise circuit with varying gradient and situated at quite high altitude, but not as extreme as Mexico. Sao Paulo is around 800 metres above sea level whereas Mexico City was over 2,000, so you lose a little bit of downforce, but nothing compared to the last race. It is quite a challenging circuit to set up for because of the contrasting needs of the twisty infield and the long straight. We would like to run maximum downforce for more grip in the twisty bits, but you need to be as drag-free as possible to maximise your speed on the long straight.

“It’s hard to generate grip at Interlagos so it won’t be too easy on the tyres. We will have the Pirelli soft, medium and hard compounds available but we don’t expect to see too much use of the hards. The track is bumpier than some of the smooth circuits we have visited recently so this will affect our mechanical set-up.”

Manor
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Unlike the four teams ahead of them, the constructors' championship battle is far from over for Manor and Sauber. With the top ten constructors in line to receive prize money from FOM, and with 11 teams on the grid, it was inevitable that there would be a hard-fought battle for the 10th spot in the WCC.

Manor are the team in 10th, on the back of a point scored by Pascal Wehrlein at the Austrian GP before the summer break. Both he and Esteban Ocon will be fighting to ensure they stay ahead of Sauber until the end of the season. They will have their work cut out for them as it is Sauber that has tended to finish ahead of the Manor cars in 2016, but they have the advantage of a single point that prevents the countback being invoked.


Sauber
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Sauber are the only team on the grid that haven't scored any points in the entire season. While they have consistently finished in the 'teens' and have come even as high as 11th and 12th, scoring a point has eluded them. Sauber's drivers will be fired up to score just a single point, which will invoke a countback that will place them ahead of Manor, but that will require both hard work and more than a sprinkling of luck given the field of cars against whom they are competing. Marcus Ericsson comes to Brazil on the back of an inspired race at Mexico which saw him finish 11th, and Felipe Nasr will be aiming to perform well in front of his home crowd.

Marcus Ericsson
Quote:
"The Brazilian Grand Prix is a nice race weekend with lots of Formula One history. It will be an important race weekend for us. Of course, our objective is still to score points, so as a team we will do our very best to ensure Felipe and I finish the race in the top ten. We will keep working in the right direction, and we all know that we are hunting for the first point. Regarding the race weekend, I will have the chance to test the halo system for the first time on Friday in FP1. I am curious to see how driving feels with it."
Felipe Nasr
Quote:
"I am really looking forward to my second home Grand Prix. Overall I had a nice experience last year. The Brazilian Grand Prix is certainly a very special race weekend for me. It is always great to see the Brazilian fans and have their support at the race track. I cannot wait to race at such an historical track that I really enjoy driving on. I expect a warm welcome and a lot of fans in Interlagos. I will be fighting to get a good result there, and it would be great if I could have the chance to score points at my home race. Hopefully my home soil can also bring us a bit of luck."

Enough waiting, it's time to flag off the racing!
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Sources: formula1.com, instagram.com/f1, fia.com, FIA Media Kit, gpbrasil.com.br
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Old 10th November 2016, 11:29   #3
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Int'l Motorsport Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th November 2016, 12:42   #4
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Overtaking baby! Love the long straight. Remember this move that started on the outside?



Race is at 930 pm, my favourite for F1 (wish all races were at this time). USA is too late, while the European ones are too early.

If Rosberg wins, he's world champion, so the odds are definitely in his favour. A victory would be a great way to grab the title (than finishing 2nd every time). Lest we forget, Nico has won on this track in 2014 & 2015.

Looking forward to an interesting race.
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Old 10th November 2016, 18:54   #5
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Once again a very detailed preview report to the race. arunphilip

With the rain predicted for this race, it might not be a straight 1 and 2 result for Mercedes. This will make the championship fight more interesting, seeing what happened with Nico in similar conditions in Monaco. Having said that, I really wish Nico to win the title this year, after outscoring Lewis for most of the year.

In other news Charlie Whiting is attending the driver press conference along with Vettel and Max. This will be their second coming together after Mexico.

FIA Thursday drivers' press conference line-up
  • Charlie Whiting (FIA)
  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • Felipe Massa (Williams)
Read more at
http://www.formula1.com/en/latest/he...le-brazil.html
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Old 10th November 2016, 23:24   #6
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Default Thursday Press Conference - Select Drivers & Charlie Whiting

Thursday Press Conference - Select Drivers & Charlie Whiting

One cannot deny the FIA press team have a sly sense of humour. With the Mexican GP having stirred a hornet's nest in terms of driving standards and stewarding decisions, the FIA decided the Thursday press conference would be attended by the various drivers involved in various incidents at Mexico. For good measure, they threw in Race Director Charlie Whiting to attend the press conference for the first time. And just in case people didn't get the message, they explicitly stated that Charlie's attendance was only to discuss the Mexican GP. Given this was his final race in front of his home crowd, it was inevitable that Massa was the final driver selected.

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The attendees at the press conference on Thursday morning were:
  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • Felipe Massa (Williams)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)
  • Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • Charlie Whiting (FIA)


The press conference started with Massa's retirement:
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Quote:
Q: Let’s start with Felipe, your last Brazilian Grand Prix as a Formula One driver, what does this weekend, this occasion, mean to you?
Felipe Massa: Well, I think it will be a very special weekend for me, for my last home race, the place where I grew up, the place that I remember I was in the grandstand watching and supporting Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, always dreaming to be here. And then I managed to get here and managed to win two races here in Interlagos, getting quite a lot of times on the podium, so it’s definitely a fantastic place for me. I will miss, definitely, this race. When I see these guys racing next year, I will definitely miss to be here. But I am so happy and proud for everything I passed through these 15 years in Formula One, every people that I met – friends, drivers, the competition I had with these guys for quite a long time. So yeah, I will miss, definitely, this place, some nice races around the world but also some friends. It will be a very special moment for me.

Q: As you say, so many great memories from your own career here, especially the pole positions, the podiums and those two very special wins with Ferrari. What stands out, though, for you, and what were these guys like to race against?
FM: Difficult. We are talking about the best drivers in the world. Everybody who got here is here because of talent. They are here because of talent. The competition is really high, but I think I definitely learned a lot. I think it was an amazing life experience that I had. It’s definitely not easy to be a Formula One driver I would say, but I had a fantastic time and so happy to achieve what I managed to achieve and to get here after very long and yeah, I will always remember them as tough drivers on track and I would say maybe the relationship maybe in the last years gets a little bit better outside the track and it will get even better when all of us stop I would say. Just expect the best for them and support them for the future.

Q: OK, thank you. Lewis, of course that 2008 memory is still very strong. You won the world championship, your first of three world championships, that day but Felipe showed great dignity on the podium, having won the race. What was he like as an adversary?
Lewis Hamilton: It’s been great driving alongside Felipe and against him. We’ve had some great times. Even before I got to Formula One, when I was in GP2, we had already become friends back then and had some good experience. But yeah, to have those great, strong battles we had, even beyond 2008, for me was a privilege and something that I will always cherish. At some stage we’ll be a bunch of oldies, replacing the older drivers that are hanging around today and we’ll be coming along, looking at the other youngsters, but yeah I think Formula One is going to miss him for sure.

Q: OK, and the other drivers, your thoughts on Felipe’s final race here as part of his Formula One career. What kind of atmosphere do we expect at this Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend?
Nico Rosberg: It will great. I’m sure the Brazilians will go crazy to support Felipe in his last race here. He’s given a lot to F1 so it’s going to be a loss for the sport, for us, for sure.

Max Verstappen: Of course, I mean the career he has had many want to achieve. That many years in Formula One as well, and being able to fight for four world championships. So I think it will definitely be a very special moment for him and I think, in general, the Brazilian Grand Prix is always very special and a great track and a great atmosphere to be at.

Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, I think… well, we don’t need to talk about his talent. I think there’s no doubt that he’s one of the most talented drivers on the grid. But apart from that, he’s a great person. He’s the kind of person you look at and smile, because he’s just smiling from the inside, so I think that will be missed a lot. So I hope he still comes around a couple of times and has a look and a laugh and in that regard I wish him the best. But for this weekend, I think it would be great to see hopefully a lot of Brazilian flags, support for him, because as everyone said, he has had a great career. So, yeah, it’s hid weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo: Yeah, I’m looking forward to the drivers’ parade on Sunday. It’s always very interesting. For as long as I’ve been doing it at least anyone who is Felipe’s team-mate gets an absolute pounding on the drivers’ parade. He’s going to get some extra love this weekend and we’ll probably get yelled some funny Brazilian names, but it’s all in good humour. The atmosphere is awesome, so I think we are going to have a pretty amazing crowd this weekend.

Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action and Speedsport) Felipe, there are going to be a lot emotions leading up to the red lights going out. How difficult will it be to switch off when the red lights go out?
FM: I think it’s always the same. I think when you are in the car you don’t think about other things, you just think about what you want to do in the best way that you can. I would say that maybe the whole race I will be concentrating on my job, trying to get the best race possible, the best result I can, for me, for my team, especially in this moment that it’s quite important this fight with Force India for Williams Martini. But I think that maybe when I finish the race, after the chequered flag, I think it will be very special. It will be an amazing feeling to do the last lap in Interlagos of my career in Formula One, here, you know. I think during the race you just so much concentrate on everything you need to do but after it may be quite different.

Thereafter, the discussion was about the championship battle between the Mercedes cars...
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Q: Back to Lewis and Nico then. Two races to go and Nico a win for you on Sunday and you’re world champion. Lewis, a great motivation for you to win a Brazilian Grand Prix you haven’t won before. How are you both feeling going into this? Is the tension rising? Nico, first...
NR: Yeah, feeling great, of course, because it’s awesome to be fighting for the world championship with two races to go and so, yeah, excited about the weekend, looking forward to it and of course going to try to go for the win.

Q: Lewis?
LH: yeah, I’ve had lots of great, or mixed experiences here, so it’s a real challenge to come here and try to win for the first time, something that Nico and Felipe have experienced in the past. That’s my goal and nothing really to lose.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboEsporte.com) To Nico and then to Lewis. You won the last two races here starting from the pole position and Lewis also I recognise that you were very strong both weekends. Can you explain if you find something special, some special way to win here. And Lewis, why you’ve said he’s so fast and you could not reach him in the last two Brazilian Grands Prix?
NR: I love the track. It’s a great track, feels good and I’ve always gone well here, so I’m looking forward to the weekend also. Great memories also from those two wins, those were very special. But at the same time, this year we all start from zero. Those past wins are not going to help me get the win this weekend. We all start from the same place and I just need to do a good job this weekend and that’s it.

LH: I don’t really know why I’ve not won here, so I don’t really have an answer for you. I try every year and I’ll try harder this year.

... moved on to the opportunities for the other drivers to compete against Mercedes...
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Quote:
Q: For the drivers on the back row, with the nature of this track and also the weather forecast we have at the moment for this weekend, what’s the scope for racing against these two guys at the front this? Daniel...
DR: Yeah, it looks like it’s going to be potentially wet on the weekend, which is going to make it interesting. There’s obviously a little bit less pressure on everyone else but I’m envious of their positions. I’d like to have that little bit of pressure. Anyway, if there’s an opportunity we still go for it. We race, and that’s how it’s going to be. If it’s wet it’s going to make it interesting. It’s going to be fun. We’ll see how it pans out on Sunday but hopefully we get a good race on Sunday.

Q: Seb?
SV: I think this place for some reason has always delivered special races. I don’t know what it is: I think the circuit is good fun, nice to drive, but I think it’s the atmosphere, the weather, all that coming together that has created crazy races in the past. You mentioned the one in 2008, the last race in 2012 was pretty amazing as well. I’m sure we’ll have a great race on Sunday. Obviously for all of us not fighting for the championship, we are fighting for the victory here, but yeah, we’ll see. Weather conditions and so on, as I said, there’s always room to do something.

Q: Max, a potentially winnable race for you?
MV: You always try, but I haven’t really experience a lot of mixed conditions here in Brazil. Of course I’ve seen a lot on the TV. But it will be interesting like always. I really enjoyed it last year and hopefully with some rain coming in it would be even more interesting, so I’m looking forward to the weekend.

... and finally concluded with a debate about how hard other drivers would race either Mercedes drivers.
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Quote:
Q: (Frederic Ferret – L’Equipe) To all of you apart from Lewis and Nico, will you be more careful during the last two races, when you attack Nico or Lewis because they’re contesting the World Championship?
DR: Honestly no, because I think that every race is like it’s the start of the season: in Melbourne, you race hard and now it’s the end of the season so I think the championship will work out how it should work out. I don’t think we should... if you like, assist in the outcome if that makes sense. Just because they are fighting doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still try and make an overtake if there’s a door open. I’ll always race, I think, with respect but sure I’ll race hard and if there’s an opportunity... normally if we are fighting with them it means we’ve got a chance to probably win a race. If there’s an opportunity to win, for sure I’ll go for it. I just feel that the championship will end as it probably should. The winner will be the winner and we shouldn’t affect it by staying out of the fight, if you know what I mean.

SV: First of all, it’s clear that the fact is that you race to see the chequered flag, so you never try to do something that doesn’t allow you to see the chequered flag. Equally it applies when racing against people who are racing for the championship, but for sure, I think it’s something you have to have in mind because credit to them, they did the best job of the season for whatever reason, to put them in that position and I think it’s for the others to respect the fact.

MV: For sure. Imagine you tell your team like ‘now I’m going to stay out of the fight, I’m just going to cruise round behind them.’ They wouldn’t be happy as well. You always treat it with respect, you never try to hit each other but that’s already the whole season when you try to pull a move on them or when you are in that position. There is the same approach.

FM: Well, I would love to be fighting with them, to be honest, in the race. If I can be fighting with them, then I think they need to be careful with me because I will try everything I can.

Q: Nico and Lewis, what you’ve heard from the other drivers is presumably what you expect on Sunday and again in Abu Dhabi.
NR: Of course, they’re not going to take it easy just because one guy’s fighting for the championship. He’s a competitor like everybody else and that’s completely normal for all us drivers to approach it in that way.

At this point, Charlie Whiting joined the press conference to address questions specifically about the incidents, investigations and penalties from the Mexican GP. I'm not reproducing that here as I don't want to sidetrack this thread from the upcoming Brazilian GP. However, those who are interested can view the transcript of the interview on the Formula 1 website.


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Hamilton was his usual irrepressible self, and stated that since this was Massa's last press conference, and Charlie's first, the occasion was to be marked by a selfie!
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Old 11th November 2016, 19:18   #7
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  • FP1 was a sunny session, and is unlikely to be very representative of qualifying and the race which are both expected to be wet. FP2 is also expected to be dry and sunny.
  • Hamilton topped the timesheets in his Mercedes, with 1:11.895, which was quicker than any free practice time at the 2015.
  • He was followed by Verstappen who was nearly a tenth slower. The Red Bull showed its strengths in the twisty first two sectors, but showed its power unit weakness on the final sector.
  • Their respective teammates Rosberg and Ricciardo followed in third and fourth.
  • The Force India and Williams drivers rounded out the next 4 spots.
  • Ferrari elected to run Vettel and Räikkönen on the white side-walled medium tyres for the whole of FP1, so they completed the top 10.
  • Outside the top 10, it was the two Toro Rosso cars and two McLaren cars, followed by the various backmarkers and FP1-only runners.

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Hamilton's 1:11.895 was faster than any FP time in 2015, and just six-tenths off last year's pole time (1:11.282)

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Kvyat suffered a puncture on his right rear tyre. This is the tyre that is most loaded around this circuit.
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Old 11th November 2016, 23:35   #8
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Default Free Practice 2 Report

Free Practice 2 Report
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  • As expected, FP2 was a dry session, with some cloudiness. Track temperatures rose to 50°C resulting in slightly slower times than FP1.
  • The Mercedes due of Hamilton and Rosberg topped the timesheets, with just three-hundredths between them.
  • They were followed by the pair of Williams, with Bottas ahead of Massa.
  • The top half of the timesheets had almost all the teams with their cars paired two-by-two, Force India being the exception.
  • Lower down among the last 4 teams however, there was a clear separation between teammates.
  • In a repeat of 2015, both McLaren cars broke down - Alonso had an issue with his car's hybrid power while out on track, Button with an exhaust issue on his car.
  • A noteworthy event early on in FP2 was Räikkönen cutting across Sainz to enter the pits - this has resulted in an investigation after the FP2 session.


Weather Forecast for FP3 and Qualifying
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Unlike Friday which was dry during FP1 and FP2, Saturday has around 70-80% chance of rain, during the times scheduled for the FP3 session (11 am - 12 noon) and qualifying (2-3 pm). With nearly a 100% chance of rain on Sunday during the race, teams will be keen for some rain during FP3 to fine-tune their cars' wet weather setup for qualifying and the race.


Notable Events from FP2
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Kimi passed Sainz on the outside towards the end of the lap.
Upon being called into the pits, he happily wandered across the bows of
the Toro Rosso, triggering a stewards' investigation after FP2.



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Oh, Alonso! The gift that keeps on giving. In an episode reminiscent of 2015, Alonso's car broke down on track.
After pulling over to the side, and unable to find a deck chair, he stood by the side of the track watching the cars go by, round and round, round and round.
Apparently in the quest for alternate careers, he indulged in a bit of football, and then - surprise! - found a chair to sit in and command a trackside camera.
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Old 12th November 2016, 19:50   #9
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Default Free Practice 3 Report

Free Practice 3 Report
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  • FP3 started with a damp track from earlier rains, and with a splattering of rain at some areas. While many teams did a few laps on wet tyres, drivers reported the track was mostly dry, resulting in them switching to slicks, with nearly everyone running on the yellow soft tyres.
  • Rosberg set the fastest time of the session - and of the weekend thus far - with a time of 1:11.740. Hamilton was less than a tenth behind him.
  • The Ferrari duo came in next, with Vettel just a tenth off Hamilton, despite encountering some traffic on his flying lap.
  • Apart from coming in P4, Räikkönen must be relieved that the stewards decided no action was warranted when he cut across Sainz in FP2 yesterday.
  • The Red Bull pair came in next, with Verstappen once again outshining Ricciardo on single-lap performance.
  • Palmer was a surprise entrant in P8, splitting the Williams drivers of Bottas and home hero Massa.
  • Alonso rounded out the top 10, despite an earlier scare when it seemed a gearbox change might be required. Fortunately, a change of sensors and the wiring loom meant he could avoid a grid penalty.
  • Curiously, both Force India cars were outside the top 10 and behind the Williams despite a track that plays to their strengths.
  • Near the back of the field, Sauber detected an issue which prevented Ericsson participating in FP3. Sadly, this will warrant an engine change.


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Yellow flags were shown briefly at turn 1, as someone's umbrella found its way onto the track

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Grosjean had a moment when his car spun at turn 4, not due to a driver error. It looks like Haas still need to work out their car issues.


Qualifying is at 21:30 IST on Star Sports Select HD 2.
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Old 12th November 2016, 22:43   #10
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Default Qualifying Results

Qualifying Results - Hamilton on Pole

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  • Hamilton nailed pole with a time of 1.10.736, Rosberg followed in second.
  • Räikkönen put his Ferrari on third, with Verstappen lining his Red Bull alongside.
  • They were followed in row 3 by their respective teammates Vettel and Ricciardo.
  • Grosjean put his Haas in a surprising 7th behind the top 3 teams.
  • Hülkenberg and Pérez followed Grosjean in their Force India cars.
  • Alonso rounded out the top 10 with his McLaren.
  • Despite predictions of rain, all 3 qualifying sessions were dry, and all cars used only the soft tyres across all sessions.
  • The 6 cars eliminated in Q1 were Button (McLaren), Magnussen (Renault), Wehrlein & Ocon (both Manor), Ericsson & Nasr (both Sauber).
  • That meant that - apart from the top 5 teams - both Haas cars, both Toro Rosso cars, Palmer's Renault and Alonso's McLaren all progressed to Q2.
  • Ocon is under investigation for impeding Palmer.
  • The 6 cars eliminated in Q2 were Bottas & Massa (both Williams), Gutiérrez (Haas), Kvyat & Sainz (both Toro Rosso), Palmer (Renault).
  • Alonso's McLaren and Grosjean's Haas went through to Q3. Of note was Alonso's Q2 position just behind the Ferrari of Räikkönen and ahead of both Force India cars.

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Weather Forecast for the Race
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Rain is forecast for the whole of Sunday, including the time lights go off at 14:00 local time (21:30 IST). Having said that, the true measure of the weather will only be seen on raceday, as the forecast for qualifying also called for rain, none of which came!
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Old 13th November 2016, 08:18   #11
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Ferrari, Red Bull, Ferrari, Red Bull, this order is sure to make the start interesting. Hamilton's pole makes this season all closer to the wire.

The Force Indias are in a position to consolidate their 4th place, which will be great for a team that using it's low budget so efficiently. Come next year they would have to deal with a new driver pairing as Hulk is moving across to Renault.

New comer Haas has another good qualifying this year. This newbie team will definitely see other follow it's business model which has proved to be quite successful in it's first season. They started off with a Ferrari chassis and a collection of other components by Ferrari rather than try an build a chassis of their own design. Placing at 8th ahead of Renault is not too bad in your maiden season in F1.

Alonso in 10th will give McLaren some joy. So hoping Alonso is able to make more progress up the order.


Meanwhile trun to form Star Sports have exploited a season that seems to be set for a photo finish and will be telecasting the race in India on Star Sports Select HD2 which means curtains for folks expecting to see it on Standard Definition channels.

Drive on,
Shibu
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Old 13th November 2016, 09:57   #12
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Qualifying more or less on expected lines. Only surprise was that Bottas and Massa missed out on qualifying for session III. Let us hope the race has some fireworks.
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Old 13th November 2016, 13:41   #13
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Default Re: Formula 1 : 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

Raikkonen's P3 is something that will make the battle for the final podium place interesting, and it remains to be seen what strategy Ferrari will come up with that will keep him out of podium yet again!
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Old 13th November 2016, 21:01   #14
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Default Pre-Race Build-Up

Pre-Race Build-Up

Starting Grid
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  • There is rain in Brazil, and for fans of Guns n' Roses, its a cold November rain!
  • A standing start looks less likely given the volume of rain, so it will mostly be a rolling start behind the safety car.
  • That also means that all drivers get a free choice of wet tyres - either the blue sidewalled full wets, or green sidewalled intermediate tyres.
  • The rain is expected to persist through the entire race duration.
  • May the best man win!
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  • Ocon was given a 3-place grid penalty for impeding the Renault of Palmer during the Q1 session of qualifying. Ocon will therefore line up his Manor car at the very back of the grid, thereby promoting both Sauber cars ahead by 1 position each.
  • Apart from that, the starting grid is unchanged from qualifying.

UPDATE 1 - Grosjean crashes during the sighting lap, destroys his front left suspension. He apparently hit standing water causing a spin. He is not going to make the start of the race in the 25 minutes remaining! The grid is down to 21 cars already, and we've not yet started the race!
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UPDATE 2 - Start delayed by 10 minutes to 14:10 local (21:40 IST).

Last edited by arunphilip : 13th November 2016 at 21:24. Reason: Added Grosjean crash, delayed start
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Old 13th November 2016, 22:05   #15
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Default

This year Rosberg was miserable in the rain. This may adversely impact Rosberg and compromise his championship hopes?
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