Following a wonderful event in Austin last weekend, Formula 1 stays in the Americas by heading south for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on Sao Paolo.
The event is a firm favorite on the F1 calendar, with the old-style circuit providing some entertaining racing and proving to be the deciding race in many a world championship. On the current grid, all five of the world champions racing have won a title in Brazil, while Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have seen their hopes go up in smoke at Interlagos.
This year, it is Hamilton who leads the way once again, but teammate Nico Rosberg is within striking distance if the Briton hits trouble. However, Lewis knows that finishing second in Brazil and in Abu Dhabi will be enough for him to win the title.
Ahead of this weekend’s race, the MotorSportsTalk team has once again made its predictions – will any of us get three from three?
Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)
Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Let’s be a little bit different and look outside of Mercedes for this weekend’s race. It is going to pour down at Interlagos, and with Hamilton’s record in Brazil only so-so, and with Rosberg ailing, I’m going to take a punt on Seb claiming his first win of the season in his penultimate race for Red Bull.
Surprising finish: Felipe Massa. With the home crowd behind him, Massa will be hoping to get some luck in Brazil and reach the podium. Few would begrudge him such a big result on the site of his title defeat in 2008, and it would be no less than what Williams deserves after such a great year.
Most to prove: Nico Rosberg. Speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton today in Brazil, Rosberg said that winning the title would be “quite cool” – it doesn’t smack of the obsessive hunger that Hamilton shows on the other side of the Mercedes garage. This weekend, he must prove that he wants this championship as his hopes continue to fade.
Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)
Race winner: Lewis Hamilton. Unstoppable at the moment, and like Vettel last year we’re starting to run out of superlatives.
Surprising finish: Jenson Button. Traditionally goes well at Brazil and I could see him turn in an inspired drive much like Webber did here last year.
Most to prove: Sauber. Scoreless and with both its drivers now on the outside looking in for 2015, a headline-catching weekend is crucial for both Sutil and Gutierrez.
Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)
Race winner: Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s has been nothing short of sensational these last five races and has seemingly knocked all the fight out of Nico Rosberg in their duel for the World Championship. Barring reliability problems, the Brit’s on course for a sixth consecutive win.
Surprising finish: Jenson Button. Always a good bet to push well into the points when it’s pouring (rain is expected to have a major impact this weekend), Button should bounce back from a disappointing finish in the U.S. and continue to bolster his case for a seat at McLaren in 2015.
Most to prove: Felipe Massa. Rosberg needs a miracle now in the championship, so we’ll go with Massa, who’s going to be counted on by his countrymen to score at least a podium on home soil. He will likely have to see off Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to earn ‘best of the rest’ honors behind Hamilton and Rosberg.
Race winner: Lewis Hamilton. How can you stop someone who just seems unstoppable? Frankly, you can’t. Hamilton is on a Michael Schumacher-like roll and it’s not going to stop until he earns the championship. Even though he has a substantial lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, this is not a time for Hamilton to coast. And frankly, coasting to a championship isn’t in his DNA. If there are still races to be won, Hamilton wants to win them.
Surprising finish: Felipe Massa. The Brazilian native would love to have a strong finish in front of his countrymen. Plus, Massa is on a slight roll, having moved up one place in the rankings, from ninth to eighth after the U.S. Grand Prix this past Sunday. Massa still has a chance to overtake Jenson Button for seventh place in the overall season standings, but time is running out.
Most to prove: Nico Rosberg. Even though he’s 24 points behind Lewis Hamilton and likely out of the championship hunt, this is no time for Rosberg to give up and concede the title to his teammate. Rather, Rosberg has to go out in each of the two remaining races and compete as if there’s still a championship to be won. He needs to make it as tough as possible on Hamilton to earn it.