Grand Prix 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

And so the F1 bandwagon roles south from Mexico and reaches Sao Paulo and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. A final reminder of what a great F1 track looks like before the season reaches its final stop in yet another concrete utopia built in the vision of Herman.

I've made no secret of the fact that I love this track and in particular the first set of turns. Known as the 'Senna S' as any vaguely S shaped set of corners was named across the globe in Senna's honour, at least this set of turns gives credence to that title. Off the line, drivers are faced with a down hill left hand turn with a good deal of camber before switching to a right and change of camber then a long sweeping left. Unlike Mexico where you could take no part of a corner and come out quickly on the other side, here you tend to slither off down hill and keep going and going across a long grass field.

For the championship battle, Nico continues to do just enough to do enough for the title. This must frustrate the living daylights out of his team mate who, even though he is demonstrably quicker than Nico, has no control over his own fate should his team mate keep finishing second. Of course, should Nico win here then it's all done and dusted.

For Hamilton, this track remains one of very few on the list of circuits he's not yet beaten. It still holds special memories of course as it is the place where he thrillingly tied up his first World drivers crown and few can forget that moment. There's no reason at all why he can't win here this weekend and keep the pressure on Rosberg but even over the last few years when Hamilton has been at his absolute best in terms of pace and driving, Rosberg has managed to win this GP twice. This year it has to be win or bust for Hamilton.

All the focus will be on the two silver cars at the front of the grid so instead of looking at the rest of the field, pretending I'm some sort of F1 reporter and trying to review and predict the outcomes down the grid, I'm actually going to focus on one driver.

For one driver on the grid, the other man on that fateful day for Hamilton, this track certainly holds mixed feelings. For the 15th and final time, Felipe Massa will be taking to the grid at his home GP. A native of Sao Paulo this has always been a homecoming for Felipe but with such a bitter taste. For around 30 seconds, before Hamilton pounced on a struggling Timo Glock, he was the 2008 World Champion. Joy turned to heartbreak in front of the worlds camera's. The first Brazilian to win his home GP since the late great Ayrton Senna had been denied the world championship in the space of a few hundred yards. You could point to his exit of the pit lane in Singapore towing half of his fuel rig behind him as the moment he lost the championship, or the moment a few races later when he was comfortably leading when his engine let go with just 3 laps left, but neither will be remembered as much as that Brazilian race.

And so it passed that Brazil 2008 was the final win of Massa's career. His performance in 2009 was still strong but ended with an horrifying head injury in a freak accident. After that, I'm sure most will agree, he was never the same driver. Culminating in 'that message' at the German GP where he was reminded about the speed of his team mate. The fact that on that day, at that time, Alonso was faster than him is not the point, it's the fact that his friend and race engineer, Rob Smedley had to tell him of that fact in a not very coded message witnessed by the whole of F1, that was the hammer blow. The last few years at Williams have brought 5 podiums and 1 pole but this season, in the face of a poor car and falling points returns, he's decided to call time on his career.

So farewell Felipe baby, the 30 second world champion. When it comes to winning races, your name is on the same list as so many other great Brazilian drivers, you should be proud of a long, and on balance successful career in F1. It's slightly worrying that, as it stands, the only representative from Brazil on the grid next season will be Felipe Nasr. Somehow, I think it will be a few more years before a Brazilian driver emulates Massa, Senna, et al and stands on the top step of their home GP.

What ever happens this weekend, let's hope it's a great race.
A picture always comes into my head when the Brazil F1 gets mentioned, it's of all the cars lined up waiting for the start, on a slight hill, with a shimmering heat haze all around. I remember thinking you can almost smell the place.
I'm looking forward to a great race.
Felipe Massa has never been World Champion, not for a single moment, it annoys me when commentators continue to roll out the same slack statement. No offence, cider_and_toast
I hope Nico wins the race to secure the title. If he were to end the season with a run of second places whilst his team mate wins them all I feel it would devalue his title (should he win it!)
I don't know... F1 drivers as a whole tend to be practical beasts and we have a tendency to underestimate that aspect. I' ve got feeling Rosberg would be more than happy to finish second at every race in the last four and I'm not sure he would give a toss whatanybody else thought if he set out to drive conservatively and do just what he needs to do.

In fact it seems to me he's already started to drive in safe mode in the last couple of races. Not sure it would be such a great idea though. Those of us who have been following the sport for a long time will know that constantly driving within oneself is when you're at risk of taking your eye off the ball and that's when mistakes happen...
I hope Nico wins the race to secure the title. If he were to end the season with a run of second places whilst his team mate wins them all I feel it would devalue his title (should he win it!)

If Rosberg were to finish second in the remaining races to Hamilton, then that would give Hamilton 10 wins to Rosberg's 9; For Rosberg to win the championship under those circumstances would feel devalued to me... However, for the past 2 races, Rosberg has appeared somewhat jaded and off the pace (particularly in qualifying)... It is possible that he is tightening up (just as Button did in 2009)...
We've seen form between the two of them flip on the spin of a coin. I would be loathed to say Nico is cruising to the title. He could smash Lewis out of the championship next weekend. Who knows.
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Greenlantern101 - that's absolutely true; I have a nasty suspicion that next weekend, there could be a return of fisticuffs at the first corner. Certainly, if Hamilton and Rosberg are alongside each other at the front of the grid, there may be "Issues"
If anything I'd say Rosberg will be the most keen to avoid any kind of first-corner incident. He only needs to finish second, and anything below that that or a DNF would reset everything. Lewis on the other hand needs one or more cars to come in between himself and Nico.
How devalued is Keke Rosberg's championship with only 1 win all season?
Nico's going about it the right way for this stage... play it safe and get to the end to claim the prize.

I don't see Nico getting it this weekend.
But he'll deserve it when / if he does...
How devalued is Keke Rosberg's championship with only 1 win all season?.


It certainly wasn't at the time. Time has a way of erasing context and make us apply the value of ancient statistics to today's standards, but there weren't too many people around at the time who wouldn't have regarded Keke as a deserving champion, even though the title would have been likely to land on Pironi's door without his career-ending crash.
There was certainly nothing along the lines of "playing it safe" in the way Keke drove in 1982. On the contrary he was frequently the fastest non-turbo driver and was after Villeneuve's death regarded by many as the single fastest driver on the grid at the time, giving his all at every race and lost the lead of several races that year with a few laps to go for reasons that often were beyong his control.[/QUOTE]
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Incubus a double DNF in Brasil for the Merc boys through first corner antics works out way better for Nico. It gives him just 8 points required in Abu Dhabi for the title. If anything Lewis has to watch for Nico ramming him in a Schumacher 'stylie'.

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If on the other hand Nico retired and Lewis continued after such an incident then Nico would need the win in Abu Dhabi to guarantee the title.


If on the other hand Lewis retired and Nico continued he would only need 8 points to seal the title in Brasil.

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Yeah I know, that's why it's more in Nico's interest to avoid an incident. If you're going to tangle with your main rival you never know which way it's going to go? Why take the chance when the likelyhood is that you'll finish second at worst?
Of course if the crash is deliberate it would almost certainly result in a penalty for Abu Dhabi. Things have become more strict since Schumachers day.
I wasn't really thinking in terms of anything deliberate but now that you mention it that's a pretty grim prospect. Whatever happens I hope the title doesn't get decided inside the stewards' room, that would be dreadful.

Famous last words...
We have seen Nico be 'clumsy' before who knows what dark alleys the mind will go down when so close to having your life's dream taken away....
Why does everybody seem to think a wet race would favour Red Bull?.:dunno: .. How many years is since they last won a fully wet race? The 2014 Hungarian GP was run in mixed conditions but the track had long since dried up by the time Rcciardo took the lead. Other than that I think you have to go back several years to find a Red win in truly wet conditions.

If it's wet in Brazil everybody with a power deficit compared to Mercedes has a slightly better chance of overcoming them, not just Red Bull. Even so I still expect a Mercedes win whatever the weather.
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