Lewis Hamilton has been crowned 2018 champion so there’s no need to watch the Brazilian Grand Prix, right? Wrong! From the Constructors’ Championship battle to Formula 1.5, here are all your reasons to tune in to this weekend’s Interlagos action!
The battle for the Constructors’ Championship
While Lewis Hamilton wrapped up a fifth Drivers’ Championship last time out in Mexico, the Constructors’ battle rolls on in Brazil. Ferrari must outscore Mercedes by thirteen points this weekend in order to keep the championship alive until the final round of the season. In 2017, Ferrari out-scored them by ten points – despite Hamilton starting from the back of the grid.
If Mercedes secure the honours this weekend, it’ll be only the second time in F1 history where a team have taken both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles for five consecutive seasons.
Can Hamilton win?
Lewis Hamilton has never won a race in a season after securing the championship. Perhaps it’s through lack of motivation or being burned out after a long title battle, but Hamilton hopes to change the statistic this weekend telling the media: “My sole goal now is to try and win these next two races.” Hamilton is still in contention to beat the all-time points record in a single season. The current record is 397, set by Vettel in 2013. With fifty points still available this year and Hamilton on 358 points at present, he needs to score 40 points from the last two rounds to set a new record for points scored in a single season.
Lewis has won at Interlagos only once, in the rain-hit 2016 event. Interestingly, the winner of the World Championship hasn’t won the Brazilian Grand Prix in the same season since 2013, while the feat has been achieved only twice in the past ten seasons (both by Sebastian Vettel, in 2010 and 2013).
A new record for Vettel?
Brazil has been a happy hunting ground for Sebastian Vettel in the past, having taken victory three times at Interlagos. This weekend, the German could equal Michael Schumacher’s record number of four wins at the track. While it’s too late now for a fifth title in 2018, Vettel will be motivated to help Ferrari claim their first Constructors’ Championship since 2008.
Getting a front row start at the track seems vital for success on Sunday. Just one of the last fourteen Brazilian Grands Prix has been won away from the front row of the grid (Kimi Raikkonen, in 2007).
The fierce battle to be ‘best of the rest’ rumbles on into the penultimate round of the season. Nico Hulkenberg currently sits seventh in the overall Drivers’ Championship, twelve points ahead of Sergio Perez.
Hulkenberg could well extend that advantage this weekend, given his impressive form at Interlagos. It’s the only circuit at which the Renault driver has taken pole, back on a grey afternoon in 2010 when driving for Williams. Furthermore, Hulkenberg is the only driver other than Max Verstappen to have finished in the points on every Brazilian Grand Prix appearance, and he’s never been beaten by a team-mate in qualifying on all seven visits to the track.
Can Hulkenberg maintain his impressive record?
The battle for eighth
Further back, there looks set to be a tussle between Sauber and Toro Rosso for eighth in the teams’ championship. At the last round, Sauber overtook Toro Rosso and now have 36 points compared to the Honda-powered team’s 33. In the last two races, at Texas and Mexico City, Sauber have out-performed Toro Rosso, taking nine points compared to their rival’s three. Toro Rosso are yet to see both drivers finish in the points at the same race yet this season, while Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson have finished in the points together at both Austria and Mexico.
Who’ll score more points this weekend?
Another Raikkonen milestone
Kimi Raikkonen will become only the third driver to start 150 races with a team this weekend. He’ll make his 150th start with Ferrari on Sunday, equalling David Coulthard’s tally of appearances with McLaren – a record which Raikkonen will eclipse before he leaves the Scuderia for Sauber at the end of the year. Only Michael Schumacher has had more starts with a team, having participated in 179 with Ferrari between 1996 and 2006.
Where will Raikkonen finish on this milestone weekend?
The 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix begins at 5:10pm GMT on Sunday. In the UK, coverage is exclusively live on Sky Sports F1.