Brazilian Grand Prix Preview

Preview the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, round 20 of the year.

The Drivers’ Championship looms for Rosberg, with a win in Brazil all that separates the German from taking the title away from Hamilton. Coming home in second place while Lewis claims his first Interlagos victory, however, would see the title race boil over to the season finale. A race where Rosberg has tackled reliability woes as well as tasting victory.

A year ago when Formula One travelled from Mexico to Brazil, Rosberg carried the momentum of victory into and away from the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. Picking up his second successive victory at the 4.3-kilometre circuit.

Hamilton, on the other hand, has never claimed the win in Brazil. Despite winning his first Formula One title in Sao Paulo back in 2008 – a year on from missing out on the title in his first F1 season when a gearbox issue left him limping in Brazil after already falling down the order on the opening lap.

If Lewis is to take his fourth title this year, overturning Rosberg’s current 19-point championship lead, he will more than likely need to break this run of form and claim his first win in Brazil in what will be his 10th attempt at cracking the circuit.

Lewis Hamilton 2008 Singapore GP - Copyright Jimmy Liew

Lewis Hamilton, 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Photo Credit: Jimmy Liew.

In Hamilton’s previous nine races around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, he has only stood on the podium three times – a third of his races in Brazil. While in the other six, Hamilton has also failed to finish twice – with one of those during a battle for the lead.

Hamilton’s retirement from the 2012 race came during his final race for McLaren – which remains the Woking team’s most recent Formula One victory with Jenson Button taking home the trophy following his team-mate’s collision with Hulkenberg.

While the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix also marked the first time Hamilton had even led a lap in Brazil. With the race the only ever-present Grand Prix during his F1 career he is yet to win at (Hamilton is also without victories in France, India, Korea and this year’s latest addition Azerbaijan.

Then, following his switch to Mercedes for 2013, Lewis has finished in ninth and second place. Coming home behind his victorious team-mate on two occasions, with Rosberg winning in 2014 and ’15.

Should Rosberg make it three-in-a-row this year, the 2016 title will also be decided.

Nico Rosberg during the 2016 Mexico GP Drivers' Parade. Copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

Nico Rosberg during the 2016 Mexico GP Drivers’ Parade. Copyright Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

A Rosberg win on Sunday would put the German at least 26-points clear of Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings – one greater than Hamilton would still be capable of scoring in the only remaining round.

Rosberg also must win on Sunday to wrap up the title with a race to spare should Lewis at least finish on the podium in third. While Hamilton in fourth place would allow Rosberg some breathing room as second place would then suffice.

Hamilton in fourth and Rosberg in second is also the only outcome in which Rosberg can win the title despite the margin being the same as a single win. The 25-point difference a fourth for Hamilton and second for Rosberg represents would hand the German the title on the basis of claiming more second place finishes than Lewis despite Hamilton still being capable of matching Rosberg’s tally of calendar wins.

If Hamilton finishes; Rosberg needs; Points difference
1st To wait until Abu Dhabi At most, 12
2nd 1st 26
3rd 1st 29
4th 2nd 25
5th 2nd 27
6th 3rd 26
7th 3rd 28
8th 4th 27
9th 5th 27
10th 6th 26
Outside the points/DNF 6th 27

Yet while a win would secure Rosberg the title, Mercedes may not be the only manufacturer capable of winning the race.

Recent races have shown Red Bull can take the fight to Mercedes, at least during certain stages of the race. With Max Verstappen keeping close to Rosberg during the early stages of the Mexican Grand Prix last time out – while Hamilton won.

Verstappen, however, was only able to create one serious overtaking move on the champion-elect which he was not able to complete. Then falling back into the clutches of Vettel to tee-up a frosty finish that saw both handed post-race penalties.

Verstappen and Ricciardo can, though, take solace in the fact Red Bull have won four of the past seven Brazilian Grand Prix’s. With Vettel claiming two of those and the soon to be retiring from all forms of motorsport, Mark Webber, taking victory in 2009 and 2011.

The start of the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, won by Australia's Mark Webber. Photo copyright: Infiniti.

The start of the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, won by Australia’s Mark Webber. Photo copyright: Infiniti.

The current layout of the Autódromo Carlos Pace consists of 15 corners, predominantly left-handers, with the track sitting on a plot of land originally purchased by two local property developers. Luckily for Formula One, however, the plot of land was not suitable for properties and instead the owners decided to build a racetrack.

A few modifications have been made to the track over the years but the current layout has failed to remove the circuit from the heart of many drivers and fans. The elevation changes, types of corners and straights have also seen the track create drama & action, including Hamilton’s dramatic final lap title win in 2008 as he overtook Timi Glock for fifth place – the championship position.

The circuit’s current design still encompasses most of the original challenging corners, but without the long straights that made up the old first sector. Instead, the current circuit begins with the Senna S. A downhill double corner that flows into the high-speed turn three before the first DRS straight, Reta Oposta.

The start of the Senna S also provides one of the best overtaking areas of the track as drivers break hard at the end of the DRS aided pit straight.

The middle section of the track begins to tighten up through a high and low elevation period, which can allow drivers to gain time under braking or try a lunge into the apex. A clean exit from this sector is vital however as the third sector begins with the uphill approach for the pit straight.

A track guide for the Autdromo Jose Carlos Pace. Copyright: Formula1.com.

A track guide for the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. Copyright: Formula1.com.

For the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix and potential title decider, the race will be broadcasted live in England exclusively on Sky Sports F1. While Channel 4 will bring highlight packages of qualifying and the race and BBC will cover the action live on radio.

Wednesday, November 9
20:30 – F1 Report: Brazil preview
21:00 – F1 Report: Ross Brawn Special

Thursday, November 10
13:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
20:45 – Paddock Uncut
21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday, November 11
11:45 – Brazilian GP Practice One – Live
12:00 – Brazilian GP Practice One – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
15:45 – Brazilian GP Practice Two – Live
15:55 – Brazilian GP Practice Two – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
18:00- Team Principals’ Press Conference – Live
18:30 – The F1 Show – Live

Saturday, November 12
12:45 – Brazilian GP Practice Three – Live
15:00 – Brazilian GP Qualifying Build-up – Live
16:00 – Brazilian GP Qualifying – Live
16:15 – Brazilian GP Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
20:00 – Brazilian GP Qualifying – Highlights (Channel 4)

Sunday, November 13
14:30 – Brazilian GP – Track Parade – Live
15:00 – Brazilian GP – Pitlane – Live
16:00 -Brazilian GP – Race – Live
16:00 – Brazilian GP – Race – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
18:30 – Brazilian GP – Paddock Live
22:00 – Brazilian GP – Race – Highlights (Channel 4)
*Times above are for Sky Sports F1 unless stated.

 

tyres

Tyre selections for the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. Copyright: Pirelli.