Passing zones make for exciting Sao Paulo course

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The 2.6-mile Anhembi Park circuit at Sao Paulo, Brazil — site of this Sunday’s Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle (11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network) — is a sprawling street course that is punctuated by multiple straightaways that lead into passing opportunities.

It all starts at the Sambadromo main straightaway, which is shorter than the other straights on the circuit but is still long enough to provide a passing attempt if the driver is close enough. They’ll have to be quick about it, however, as the Sambadromo leads into a left/right complex known as the S of Samba. It’s a narrow spot and there’s been plenty of mayhem there in recent races, particularly on starts and restarts when everyone’s bunched up.

The next major passing zone comes at Turn 5, which follows a longer jaunt down the Avenue Olavo Fontoura that gives drivers more time to draft, set up, and pass for position at the right-hander.

But the biggest opportunity this course has to offer comes as drivers roar down the nearly one-mile-long backstretch. That extended sprint culminates with a sharp right-hand hairpin at Turn 11. Expect plenty of side-by-side jockeying through this particular corner; also, don’t be surprised to see the driver that gets passed going into Turn 11 attempt a crossover move that can help get the position back as they head down the Sambadromo.

Over the years, we’ve heard complaints of street circuits being too narrow and providing very little chances for passing outside of pit road. There are no such problems with this course, and you can expect Sunday’s event to be an exciting one.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home ofΒ Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.