What To Watch For: Brazilian GP (NBCSN, Live Extra from 10:30am ET)

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Lewis Hamilton may already have clinched his third Formula 1 drivers’ championship, but there is still plenty to play for in the remaining two races of the 2015 season as he battles for supremacy with teammate Nico Rosberg.

Having struggled to match Hamilton for most of the year, Rosberg has shown signs of a revival in recent weeks, claiming five straight pole positions in the lead-up to Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

For the second year in a row, Rosberg will start from pole at Interlagos ahead of Hamilton as he goes in search of a fifth victory of the season.

By getting in some late blows in this year, Rosberg will be hoping to set himself up for a renewed title bid in 2016, placing pressure on both Mercedes drivers on Sunday.

Here’s what to watch for in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.

What To Watch For – 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix

The Rosberg Renaissance?

He may have lost the championship, but we’ve seen a different side to Nico Rosberg in recent weeks. Having put up little fight to his teammate for the title, the German appears to have rediscovered the form that made him so dangerous in 2014 when he ran Hamilton all the way to the final race of the season.

Recording back-to-back victories in Brazil would be a big statement, particularly at a race that Hamilton so dearly wants to win. This is a big weekend for Rosberg – the psychological battle for 2016 is already underway.

Hamilton’s ‘to do’ list

There isn’t much that Lewis Hamilton has not won in Formula 1, but the Brazilian Grand Prix is still on his ‘to do’ list. There have been near-misses in the past (2012 being his best chance), and it will forever be the site of his dramatic title victory back in 2008.

However, he is yet to emulate hero Ayrton Senna by winning at Interlagos. In a year that saw him match the legendary Brazilian’s title tally, Hamilton will be hungry to go one step further and finally check this off his hit list.

Seb’s waiting on a miracle

Sebastian Vettel will take up his usual starting slot of P3 for today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, but the Ferrari driver has not given up hope of winning for a fourth time in 2015. Vettel said after qualifying that he hopes Ferrari can “create a miracle” at Interlagos and capitalize on the unpredictable nature of the race.

Indeed, the Brazilian Grand Prix is notorious for drama and suspense, but unless rain strikes on Sunday, it is hard to see Ferrari mounting much of a challenge to Mercedes. In a race that sees a split between two and three stops, Ferrari should be able to take advantage of the SF15-T’s kinder tire treatment, but it’s unlikely to be enough to bother the Mercedes runners.

Home favorites

Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr will be flying the flag for Brazil on Sunday at Interlagos, and both have a good chance of points in the race on Sunday starting from P8 and P13 respectively.

For Nasr, this marks his first home grand prix, and offers a good opportunity for him to add to his growing points haul in his rookie season. Sauber appears to be in better shape in Brazil, with Marcus Ericsson also working his way into Q2 on Sunday.

More misery for McLaren?

After #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe took the internet by storm on Saturday, McLaren will be hoping to make the headlines of the right reasons on Sunday – as unlikely as it may be.

Having completed just one lap in Mexico and stopped in both practice and qualifying so far this weekend, Fernando Alonso will be keen to buck the trend and make some kind of progress from the back of the grid.

Teammate Jenson Button starts a few places further forward, but both know that it will most probably require a race ‘out of the norm’ to give them points.

More memes would be welcome, of course.


1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
6. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams*
8. Felipe Massa Williams
9. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
11. Sergio Perez Force India
12. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
13. Felipe Nasr Sauber*
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus
15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
16. Jenson Button McLaren
17. Alexander Rossi Manor
18. Will Stevens Manor
19. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull*
20. Fernando Alonso McLaren

* grid penalty applied

Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway