He may trail Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 24 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, but Nico Rosberg showed few signs of panic in practice for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix by finishing as the fastest driver in all three sessions.
However, as we saw in Austin last weekend, that counts for nothing when it comes to qualifying. Rosberg goes in search of his tenth pole position of the season today at Interlagos today, and it could go a long way to getting him back in form with a race win on Sunday.
Hamilton has by no means been off the boil this weekend, though. In all three of the practice sessions, the difference was just a couple of tenths, and the Briton said that he did not hook up a quick lap during FP2 on Friday.
So in reality, the battle is set to be another close one at the front, and it could well be in the chase to follow the Mercedes drivers home. Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull all appear to be in the running to complete the podium, and with a smattering of rain expected for both qualifying and the race, all three teams will be hoping to pounce on any lapse at the front.
With pole today, Rosberg would secure the first ever FIA pole trophy, awarded to the driver that scores the most pole positions across the course of the season. However, without the main world title in Abu Dhabi, it will mean very little to the German.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.