F1 Paddock Pass: Brazilian Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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The penultimate Grand Prix of the 2014 Formula One season is coming this weekend in Brazil, and F1 on NBC Sports insider Will Buxton is on the ground at Interlagos to bring us the latest news in this week’s edition of “Paddock Pass.”

Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Sauber has delivered a surprise driver announcement for 2015 as Felipe Nasr now joins up with Marcus Ericsson. With current Sauber pilots Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez apparently on their way out of Hinwil as a result, Buxton talks with a surprised Sutil about what may be next for him and with Nasr about his new opportunity.

Also in this week’s edition:

  • McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen grades himself on his rookie F1 campaign…
  • Jean-Eric Vergne ponders his own uncertain future at Scuderia Toro Rosso…
  • Felipe Massa talks about racing in front of his home fans in Brazil…
  • And last but not least, Mercedes teammates/World Championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg discuss what winning the title would mean to them and what it’s gonna take to bring home the big trophy.

Don’t forget to tune in for the Brazilian Grand Prix this Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on CNBC and NBC Sports Live Extra.

PART ONE

PART TWO

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.