Grand Prix 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Only one more to go, better find those samba drums

After Abu Dhabi we move onto Brazil for the final race of the 2011 F1 season and for a lot of people it can't come quick enough, it's certainly been an interesting season with Sebastian Vettel and the RB7 dominating the year with the German breaking almost every record in the book.

But in Abu Dhabi his luck finally ran out. After taking yet another pole position he suffered a dramatic puncture at turn 2 of the first lap and had to retire with damage to his car making it unsafe and undrivable. This turn of events helped Lewis Hamilton put his demons behind him (and Felipe Massa) to take his third win of the season with a perfect drive finishing ahead of Fernando Alonso who brilliantly took second in a slower car.

For Hamilton it marks the end of a dramatic dip in form where he had lost his confidence and hitting everyone around him. He was on the pace all weekend and was unlucky not to take pole. In the race, despite pressure from Alonso, he didn't put a foot wrong all race to take his 17th race win and in the process leading his 1000th lap in F1. Jenson Button has one and a half hands on second place in the championship after taking a strong third place after battling with KERS problems for the first half of the race meaning he was unable to challenge Hamilton or Alonso.

Mark Webber was once again unable to step up to the plate after his team-mate retired and after battling with Button and Massa for most of the race, took fourth after a change of strategy in the middle of the race gave him the jump over the Ferrari who still is a long way off the pace and is more likely to fall behind the Mercedes drivers than challenge the leaders.

Schumacher and Rosberg had very quiet races but came through to finish 6th and 7th as they continue to have a massive gap in the championship between the teams above and below and they are almost running in their own formula of the middle of the points as they arent fast enough to challenge the Ferraris, Red Bulls and Mclarens, but are faster than the Renaults, Force Indias and Torro Rossos.

It was a rare point for Kamui Kobayashi who has had some poor races recently but took the final point for Sauber ahead of his team-mate to inch ahead of Jaime Alguersuari in the standings and at this point of the season, every point is crucial, particularly when contracts are up for renewal which is of utmost importance for a lot of midfield drivers.

Moving onto Brazil, a track where Red Bull dominated in 2010 with Vettel winning to keep his chances of his first championship alive and it was where Red Bull sealed their first Constructors World Championship. It was also Williams last pole position after Nico Hulkenburg shocked everyone to take his first pole.

This year things arent quite so complicated with both championships wrapped up long ago, but there are still a lot of scores to be settled up and down the grid, none more so than the battle for second in the championship with Button and Alonso separated by just 10 points. The newer teams will be hoping for a high attrition race so that one of them might scrape into 10th place and take their first point which would be worth millions to HRT, Caterham and Marussia. Brazil has been the scene of many a classic race (just ask both Mclaren drivers) and this years race should be no different.

For Galahads superb circuit write up, see here
I love this track, one of my favourites, possibly thee favourite. A good layout that’s a pleasure to watch that usually generates overtaking.
I really, really, REALLY wish they’d not bother putting DRS zones in for this race as I think it will take away the enjoyment of those overtakes and this fantastic circuit.

Pity I’m going away on the Saturday for 2 weeks.
As the back end of the season becomes increasingly packed with dull-ish circuits, it's certainly nice for the final race to be at Interlagos still.

It would be fantastic to see Felipe win with Rubens on the podium (or vice versa). Absolutely no chance. LOL
The last five years in Brazil:

Been a strong Ferrari circuit in recent years, and a bad track if your name begins with Rubens...........

... or ends with Barrichello.

Pace, Piquet, Senna, Fittipaldi and Massa - the other 5 Brazilian Grand Prix winners - have all won in Brazil.
Interlagos has been by far Rubens' unluckiest circuit in F1*. 11 retirements in 18 starts (8 mechanical) and only one podium - bearing in mind he spent 6 seasons in a Ferrari that was usually the class of the field.

*of course, Imola was very unlucky for him in '94
My friend who lives in Sao Paolo has offered that I may watch the race with him from a helicopter. I'm not in the champagne club, he's an English teacher at a private school. Lots of rich parents who he has formed good relations with. I just started a new 6 month contract today though, and can't get over there. I would gladly fly over for the weekend for that experience. I've never even been in a helicopter.
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