Both titles have now been decided so there’s no point in watching F1 this weekend, is there? Wrong! From a retiring home hero to the prospect of a classic soggy Brazilian Grand Prix, there are plenty of reasons to watch the action at Interlagos. Here are just a few!
Farewell, Felipe… Again
Felipe Massa announced his retirement from Formula One earlier this week, and this time it looks to be more final. Yes, after fifteen seasons in the sport, everyone’s favourite Brazilian says ‘tchau’. His penultimate race takes place at his home event, where he has mixed memories. In 2006, he took the second win of his career in his first year for Ferrari. Meanwhile in 2008, he once again took victory, but ended up losing the championship by a solitary point.
Felipe has been a regular podium visitor here, with his latest in 2014 for Williams. But he hasn’t had the best luck on home soil in the past two years. In 2015 he was disqualified from the Grand Prix for a technical infringement, while in 2016, he crashed out on the main straight, leading to some emotional scenes in the pit-lane in what at the time was thought to be his final home Grand Prix.
Williams have only scored one podium this season, but hopefully Felipe will be able to make it a weekend to remember for the final time in front of his home fans.
The Battles Continue
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes may have taken the championship glory in 2017, but there’s still plenty of other battles to watch throughout the field this weekend. Valtteri Bottas is closing in on Sebastian Vettel for second in the Drivers’ Championship – with the Finn now looming 15 points behind the Ferrari driver. In the Constructors’ Championship, the major fight is for sixth, between Renault, Toro Rosso and Haas. Just six points separate that trio at the moment.
Most of the team-mate qualifying battles have been settled, but new team-mates Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz are one a piece so far on Saturdays.
In addition to this, we have three teams clearly capable of winning this weekend. For the first time in F1 history, there will be two quadruple World Champions on the grid. Both Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will be racing as hard as ever, no doubt.
A Splattering of Rain
It wouldn’t be a Brazilian Grand Prix weekend without the prospect of rain. The forecast at the moment is for a wet Friday and Saturday, with the race likely to be dry. Rain in 2010 on Qualifying day saw Nico Hulkenberg take Williams’ first pole for over five years. Will we see another surprise result thanks to mixed qualifying conditions?
If Saturday is dry, expect to see times getting close to, or maybe even quicker than, Rubens Barrichello’s all-time lap record of 1:09.822, set thirteen years ago.
One person hoping for rain on Sunday will be the man of the moment – Max Verstappen. After winning two of the last four races, the Dutchman returns to the scene of his heroic wet weather drive from twelve months ago. The 2016 running was memorable for Max’s moves as he found grip where others couldn’t. Even a late pit stop couldn’t sop him from scoring a podium.
Can he continue his form in Sao Paulo?
Fighting Force Indias
Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon are free to race this weekend now that Force India have secured fourth in the Constructors’ Standings. The pair have had multiple comings together in the past year, most notably in Azerbaijan and Belgium. It will be very interesting to see what will happen if the two of them end up next to each other on the track on Sunday afternoon. The only condition that the team has given is that if there is any damage, the drivers must pay for it themselves.
A definite point of interest at the Force India team will be Qualifying – Ocon has out-qualified Perez for the past four races.
The race is exclusively live on Sky this weekend, with both Qualifying and the Grand Prix getting underway at 4pm.