Following one of the most vibrant events in Formula 1’s recent history in Mexico, the paddock now ventures to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix where the atmosphere promises to be just as intoxicating.
Lewis Hamilton suffered just his fifth defeat of the season to teammate Nico Rosberg in Mexico as the German driver showed the kind of form that may have allowed him to mount a serious bid for the drivers’ championship had it come about four months earlier.
As a result, we arrive in Brazil with the Mercedes drivers once again going toe-to-toe. The championship may already be decided, but Rosberg will know that some late victories in 2015 will do wonders for his mindset heading into the winter break.
Here is our full preview of the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.
2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – Talking Points
Hamilton looks to bounce back from Mexico defeat, Monaco crash
On Wednesday, Lewis Hamilton revealed that he would be arriving in Brazil one day later than planned after coming down with a fever and being involved in a minor road traffic accident in Monaco at the beginning of the week.
The Briton was unhurt and is okay to race in Brazil, but there will undoubtedly be questions about his fitness heading into the weekend. If it presents Rosberg with another opportunity to pounce and claim just his fifth win of the year, the German must grab it with both hands.
Another podium for Felipe?
Felipe Massa will be leading the home charge once again this weekend as he goes in search of a sixth podium finish in Brazil. The nature of the Interlagos circuit should suit Williams better than many of the recent circuits have, and if Ferrari can have another nightmarish race as it did in Mexico, Massa will be a red hot favorite to add to his trophy haul.
In other Brazilian news, Felipe Nasr will be making his first grand prix appearance on home soil this weekend. Since stepping up from GP2 to a full-time F1 seat with Sauber in 2015, Nasr has been quietly impressive, picking up 27 points so far this season, but the opportunity to race at home will surely be a new highpoint for him.
The notoriety of Interlagos
Interlagos has a reputation for the extraordinary. Just yesterday, many on Twitter were discussing the thrilling finale to the 2008 championship when Lewis Hamilton won the title at the final corner. Who can forget 2003 when Giancarlo Fisichella won for Jordan? Or 2012 when Sebastian Vettel fought back to edge Fernando Alonso for the title?
The Brazilian Grand Prix is rarely a dull affair, giving hope to those lower down the order. At at time when there are still many close fights in the constructors’ championship – Lotus and Toro Rosso are separated by just six points; Sauber and McLaren by nine – the penultimate race of the season could give those in need a golden opportunity to impress.
Rossi’s final race of the season
Alexander Rossi will start his fifth and final grand prix of the 2015 season for Manor on Sunday, having made an enormous impression since making his debut back in Singapore. The American driver flew the flag on home soil and has a perfect record against teammate Will Stevens so far, and will want to cap it off with another victory in Brazil.
This should go down as Rossi’s final race for now – all of the noises coming from the American and out of Manor hint at a deal for 2016 being very close, suggesting that this weekend’s race will not be the last we see of him. On the contrary: 2015 was just the beginning for Alexander Rossi.
Defining the future
Despite us now being at the penultimate race of the season, there are still a number of big questions that need to be answered before 2016. Red Bull’s engine saga continues to rumble on, with the latest suggestion being that it will continue with a rebranded Renault engine for next year. However, a deal remains unconfirmed, leaving question marks hanging the future of both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.
Lotus’ future is also still unclear. Renault’s buy-out is still in the process of being finalized, but again, no announcement has been made. Manor’s direction is another question that needs to be answered following the resignation of a number of key staff over the lack of investment from team owner Steven Fitzpatrick.
With winter testing just over three months away now, we need answers. And quick.
2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures
Track: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos
Lap Record: Juan Pablo Montoya 1:11.473 (Williams, 2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2014 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:10.023
2014 Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:13.555
DRS Zone: Main Straight (T15 to T1); T3 to T4
2015 Brazilian Grand Prix – TV Times
Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 7am ET 11/13
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 11am ET 11/13
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 8am ET 11/14
Qualifying: CNBC 11am ET 11/14
Race: NBCSN 10:30am ET 11/15