Tag Archives: Interlagos

Brazil GP preview

21 Nov

How’s the championship looking going into the final race?

Well, the constructor’s championship was tied up last weekend by Red Bull. The team now have 440 points (73 points more than Ferrari). But the drivers championship isn’t decided yet, Sebastian Vettel goes into the final race with 13 more points than Fernando Alonso so for a Vettel championship he needs to finish at least 4th regardless of where Alonso finishes.

So it’s not that great for Alonso, what could help him win the championship?

Luckily for Alonso Interlagos has built up a reputation as a track with unpredictable weather, and if it rains then Alonso will be in with a chance since the Ferrari has been the quickest car in wet conditions.At the time of writing the weather forecast is this: Friday is expected to be sunny, Saturday is forecasted for mostly cloud and there should be rain on sunday so it appears the F1 gods don’t want this race to be too clear cut.

So it should be a good race! How have the two contenders performed in Brazil in the past?

Alonso has raced at Interlagos 10 times, but has never won there despite finishing on the podium there 6 times. Sebastian Vettel on the other hand has only been to Brazil 5 times but did win the race in 2010. The driver who’s won the most races at Interlagos is Michael Schumacher, who’s won at the circuit 4 times. Ferrari hold the record for the constructor who’s won the most at Interlagos, they’ve won the race 8 times, whilst Red Bull have won the race only 3 times (consecutively from 2009 to 2011).

Who’s the fan’s favourite? 

Anyone Brazilian so this year there support will be split between Bruno Senna and Felipe Massa, Senna especially seeing as he’s the nephew of triple world champion Ayrton Senna. Massa on the other hand has been improving over the year and has been especially strong at Interlagos winning the race in both 2006 and 2008. Fernando Alonso is likely to be more popular with the home fans than Vettel seeing as Fernando is Massa’s team mate but if there are some Ferrari team orders the fans will quickly change sides.

Where will the race be won or lost?

This race will be won or lost off track not on it with strategy being key, do you go for a wet setup and risk a poor qualifying performance or a dry one to start near the front and risk rain in the race also the timings and numbers or pit stops will be crucial, since despite the circuit being one of the shortest the pit lane is easily one of the longest.

Who else will be mixing it up at the front? 

Despite winning last weekends American GP it is unlikely Lewis Hamilton will win in Brazil, only finishing on the podium once in 5 previous attempts, Jenson Button also doesn’t look like a good bet, in 12 races at the circuit he’s only been on the podium twice, but the championship rival’s team mates should make more of an impact. As previously mentioned Felipe Massa has won two home races but he has struggled at this track since his horror crash in 2009. Mark Webber has also won two races at the circuit (2009 and 2011) and so long as his Red Bull doesn’t suffer from it’s customary KERS failure Mark will be a bug contender for the victory. Kimi Raikkonen should also be touted as a contender, he won the race in 2007 and has finished on the podium a further 3 times.

So what time do I need to get up for the sessions?

WARNING: these times are in GMT

Since Brazil is west of the UK the race is late on in the afternoon as apposed to early in the morning. Practice 1 starts at 12:00 (midday) on Friday, Practice 2 at 16:00 also on Friday, Practice 3 on Saturday at 13:00 and Qualifying only a few hours later at 16:00. The race will start at 16:00 on Sunday and since the race generally last around one and a half hours it should end around 17:30.

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Driver Ratings, Brazil. Pt.4 Toro Rosso, Virgin and Williams.

8 Dec

Jaime Alguersuari 6/10 Q13 F11

A disastrous start left him 17th and it took some motivation to work his way up to 9th on the first stint before eventually having to settle for 11th.

Sebastian Buemi 5/10 Q14 F12

Like Jaime he had a strong 1st stint pitting from 8th but his second pit stop was probably a few laps to early and this left him stuck behind Jaime and to finish 12th.

Timo Glock 5/10 Q24 F24

Yet again had to look up the back of every car as HRT carry on this change from the ultimate team to the penultimate, but it was a good 21 laps as he’d already moved up to 21st.

Jerome D’Ambrosio 6/10 Q23 F19

Managed to out qualify his much more experienced team mate and then managed to overtake both the HRTs, all in all a race Jerome can be proud to call his last (probably).

Rubens Barrichello 7/10 Q12 F14

Rubens couldn’t have wished for a worse start dropping 7 places to fall down to 19th, but he proved why he shouldn’t be ruled out of  driving next season in the second stint rising from 19th to 15th before gaining another place in the final pit stop to finish 14th.

Pastor Maldonado 6/10 Q18 F ret.

Looked destined to have one of his better races having already advanced to 16th before he span off.

Driver Ratings, Brazil. Pt.3 Red Bull, Renault and Sauber

5 Dec

Sebastian Vettel Q1 F2 8/10

Wether or not the gearbox ‘problem’ was real or not Vettel was fast and has well and truly proved himself worthy of being a double world champion as his record break this weekend was 15 pole positions in 1 season.

Mark Webber Q2 F1 9/10

Has deserved a win all season but was stopped by Seb, ironically he won this one because of Seb. He performed well all weekend and tied up the DHL fastest lap award this weekend.

Vitaly Petrov Q15 F10 6/10

Has started to perform better although there are still too many rough edges, his qualifying was particularly poor  and his race wasn’t inspirational.

Bruno Senna Q9 F17 5/10

Whilst Vitaly went forward during the race Bruno went backwards, he lost his position when he had the collision with Schumacher and couldn’t pull himself back up again always between 16th and 18th.

Kamui Kobayashi Q16 F9 7/10

There is some light at the end of the tunnel for Sauber as having not performed recently they picked up a valuable 2 points to prove they can still fight it out, Kamui really performed in his first stint rising to 7th before having to resign himself to 9th.

Sergio Perez Q17 F13 6/10

Not the all action performances we saw at the beginning of the season but Perez shouldn’t be too disappointed, like Kamui he had a strong 1st stint taking him within grasping distance of points but sadly for Perez it was not to be.

Driver Ratings, Brazil. Pt.2 Lotus, McLaren and Mercedes

4 Dec

Heikki Kovalainen Q19 F16 7/10

Another normal weekend for Heikki, just beat Jarno in qualifying before starting strongly and moving up the field and competing with the midfield teams before falling back and beating one of the midfield.

Jarno Trulli Q20 F18 6/10

Jarno was just 0.3 seconds off Heiki in qualifying and like Heikki he had a strong start, rising two places, but that’s where the comparisons end, whilst Heikki battled the midfield Jarno was stuck in a limbo between the midfield and Virgin/HRT.

Lewis Hamilton Q4 F ret. 6/10

Despite being fastest in P2 the best Lewis could manage in qualifying was 4th, but he wouldn’t keep it. At the first corner Alonso took him around the outside and he dropped further back to 6th trying to get 5th from Massa sadly though a gearbox failure  left him stranded and out.

Jenson Button Q3 F3 8/10

Despite qualifying highly Jenson only seemed involved in the race when Fernando Alonso pulled what may be the overtake of the season to steal 3rd. Jenson then came in earlier than the rest and looked to have completely lost 4th to Alonso until he overtook at the end of the DRS zone to secure 3rd.

Michael Schumacher Q10 F15 6/10

The final position doesn’t tell the true story, he was clipped by Bruno Senna on lap 12 (ish) fell to last place and lapped and then had to work tirelessly to regain a position as good as 15th, not bad.

Nico Rosberg Q6 F7 7/10

Stunned to qualify 6th ahead of Felipe Massa, sadly for him both Ferraris had good starts and so Rosberg only managed to lead Massa in the race for around 20 meters he wasn’t put off though he raced Sutil amazingly but sadly couldn’t get ahead.

Driver Ratings, Brazil. Pt. 1 Ferrari, Force India and Hispania

29 Nov

Fernando Alonso Q5 F4 8/10

With a better car and more luck he could have kept the podium position he lost late on in the race. The start -as usual- was better than most others and had it not been for a decision to go outside not inside he could have overtaken both McLarens not just Hamilton.

Felipe Massa Q7 F5 5/10

Another disappointing race in another disappointing season for Felipe as he finished 31 seconds behind Alonso who had the same car as Felipe finished in his trademark 5th position (his 6th this season). Felipe livened up the end of the race though as he performed doughnuts all over the track.

Adrian Sutil Q8 F6 8/10

Force India are going from strength to strength and this race proved it as Adrian beat both cars from Mercedes and Renault it’s a shame Adrian may be leaving Force India next season as he’s an integral part of their progression.

Paul Di Resta Q11 F8 8/10

Paul was disappointing in FP1 as he was slower than reserve driver Nico Hulkenburg, again. Despite this Paul had a good race  and by coming in a few laps earlier for his first stop he had a better strategy than most others and finished up 8th.

Vitantonio Liuzzi Q21 F ret. 6/10

It was an amazing feat in qualifying to beat both of the Virgins and he kept that form till the point where he retired.

Daniel Ricciardo Q22 F20 5/10

Drove well to help HRT take 11th in the championship and has performed well up in his brief stint with HRT although we’ll need to see him in a competitive car if we are to be able to evaluate him properly.

 

My favourite corners of the 2011 tracks.

6 Aug

Sakhir (Bahrain):

Turn 14, the braking point is very important as if you get your foot on the accelerator too late and you won’t have the speed on the longest straight of the track. Not many other interesting corners except for turn 1 where the line is important as it will affect your speed between corners 3 and 4.

Melbourne (Australia):

It’s between two. Turn 3, the car comes into it at 275KM/H and has to be brought down perfectly to 105KM/H, otherwise the car will go off and probably end up skipping turn 4, which will not only get you an inquiry from the stewards, but also ruin your floor as the speed bumps there have done in the past. Also, Turn 12, not a normal choice I know but as the tracks so wide it’s very easy to not brake enough, also it’s important  to hit the kerb as otherwise you’ll lose a lot of time.

Sepang (Malaysia):

The turn 1/2 complex, it’s an amazing curving line that goes 180 degrees right then almost 180 degrees left, it’s a very important corner on all laps as varying from the racing line could leave you in the wall. On the lap 1 the corner is especially important as it’s after quite a long run up and then having to get through a tight corner so it’s where drivers are fighting for position and risking going wide to get a better line thought turn 2.

Shanghai (China):

Has a very similar start to Malaysia but has 4 corners in it rather than 2. My favourite corner though is turn 14 as it’s where the overtaking usually happens especially with DRS, the corner is quite wide as well so it’s possible to overtake on the inside or the outside or equally likely you can brake too late and run wide off the track.

Istanbul (Turkey):

Only 1 corner is worthy of the title, the legendary triple apex turn 8, even Sebastian Vettel crashed there in practise this year. The corner is especially tricky as if you miss an apex or the racing line then you lose a lot of time, the corner is also -after the first apex- taken without braking again which means the driver will suffer a huge amount of G-Force which increases the drivers likelihood  of making a mistake.

Barcelona (Spain):

Again it’s between two corners, turn 1 and turn 10. Turn 1, a place where overtaking happened this year, mainly due to the DRS and tyres but also chosen for the way the track then starts to go uphill, also it is amazing on the first lap due to the massive run up to the corner which is how Alonso managed such a good start at the race this year. Turn 10, it’s after another long straight and yet again is going uphill, the corner is also a place that if you risk it enough you can gain time.

Monaco (Monaco):

Turn 6, such an iconic corner that is the slowest corner in the season and requires it’s own special gear ratios, not usually a point for overtaking although this year Schumacher overtook Hamilton at it.

Montreal (Canada):

Turn 11, it’s the make or break corner it’s between the two longest straights on the track and the wrong line means a slower speed on the longest straight which will let drivers past especially if they use DRS.

Valencia (Europe):

Not many great corners at this track but turn 8 is a picturesque corner with the bridge coming into view, isn’t so important from a race point of view but offers a great oppertunity for the cameramen. Did you know that during the race weekend the bridge is opened every evening to allow boats in and out.

Silverstone (Great Britain):

Turn 1 (Abbey), A great first corner which can produce an amazing spectacle with the drivers all fighting to overtake and get the better line through turn 2. Having said this almost any corner could be chosen as all have such a history and provide excitement as the high speeds needed to put in a good lap you’d think are mad with between corners 9 and 15 the car doesn’t go below 200KM/H.

Nurburgring (Germany):

My favourite track this season with some amazing corners, my favourite of which is the turn 8/9 complex as it is two followthroughs going left then right where taking your foot off the pedal would be useless the corner is also great for the way that the car has just come out of the slow hairpin and then hits the high speeds as the driver has to get over the feeling of expecting to hit the walls.

Hungaroring (Hungary):

Turn 5, I know it’s an unconventional choice but in the build up to the recent grand prix I did some laps of it on F1 2009 for Wii and when I went in tutorial mode on the track it was the only corner where the guy who speaks said I did amazing at and didn’t say that I was too slow or needed to stay on the track. If it weren’t for that it would be turn two as it was so devastating to the drivers in the rain with both Ferrari’s and Vettel as well as a few others going off there.

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium):

The corner to watch this year will be turn 5 as I’m expecting (just a guess) that the DRS will be on the straight going up to it, this could make overtaking interesting as turns 5 and 6 are quite narrow and are likely just going to be the drivers confirming their overtaking as the straights long enough for the driver to fully overtake. Favorite normally though would have to be Eau Rouge as despite being made easier in recent years is still a corner that would make your heart thud.

Monza (Italy):

Lesmo 1 mainly because of the Wii again as it’s a corner where I am surprisingly quick. Favorite non-Wii corner though would be Parabolica it’s the best named corner ever as the name parabolica just conjures up an amazing image, as well as that it’s important as it leads up to the longest straight on the track and I suspect that straight will be the DRS one.

Singapore (Singapore):

The chicane of turn 10, it’s a corner which if done well looks amazing and if done badly makes you look an idiot and badly damages the underside of the car as Jaime Aguersuari will testify (I think it was him who came off last year in one of the practices) it’s also a very tight chicane which makes it harder.

Suzuka (Japan):

So many great corners, turns 3,4,5 and 6 are an amazing spectacle with the even numbered ones being the ones you brake into, Degner 2 or crossover (turn 9) an amazingly important corner where braking point is vital, as Hamilton proved last year, turn 11 now making the grade after Kobayashi’s antics their last year overtaking almost everyone there, turns 13 or 14 or the legendary  Spoon corner which tests both car and driver as the exit it vital to a good run along the longest straight (most likely a double DRS with both straights at the entry and exit to turn 15 -or 130R-). Turn 15 is also a great corner in it’s own right as if you turn the steering wheel as either just the wrong time or at the wrong angle can see you seeing wall rapidly advancing on you and finally the title deciding 16,17,18 or Casio Triangle where Prost won the 1989 championship by taking both himself and Senna off the track just for Senna to carry on and get disqualified.

Yeongam (South Korea):

This year it’s going to have to be turn 3 already a very tricky corner that I expect will have a DRS zone going into it and maybe another going out of it, so it’s going to be an important corner for every driver as drivers will take their battles for position to it.

Jaypee Group Circuit (India):

Having had no race previously I’m just going to go on where I expect overtaking to take place and envisage it being turn 4 as it comes after the longest straight (likely DRS zone) and before another straight so line through the corner will be vital as well as a bad run off it could see a driver losing the place he’s just taken from the DRS on the next straight .

Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi):

Turn 1 (from a pitlane point of view), when the Abu Dhabi track was constructed many people commented on the way the pitlane went under the track, it’s a stupid idea really as there would be nothing wrong with ending the pitlane on the outside of turn 1, instead we end up with a difficult corner which is too narrow in a place where no one should crash and if someone did the race would have to be black flagged.

Interlagos (Brazil):

Turn 1, there’s something majestic about the way the corner just goes downhill and the overtaking opportunities there will be on lap 1 as it’s a place where you can overtake. Also, it’s named after the great Ayrton Senna which has to make the corner better.