The Brazilian Grand Prix has become an integral part of Formula 1 folklore over the past decade or so.
Six world championships have been settled at the Interlagos circuits in Sao Paulo during that period, the most recent being Sebastian Vettel’s third title success in 2012.
Nico Rosberg has the chance to make it seven this Sunday, knowing that victory would assure him a maiden F1 drivers’ title. The German has been taking things one race at a time for sometime now – and this could be the weekend where the approach pays dividends.
Standing in Rosberg’s way is Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton has never won at Interlagos, but has fond memories of the track from his own championship success in 2008. With rain forecast, can the Briton break his Brazil drought and set up a title decider in Abu Dhabi?
Here are the MST F1 writing team’s picks for the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton may have never won at Interlagos, but he’s looking strong and relaxed after wins in Austin and Mexico. I’m tipping him to keep the streak going and take the title battle to Abu Dhabi.
Surprise Finish: Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg has always ran well in Brazil, famously coming close to a maiden victory in 2012 before tangling with Lewis Hamilton. Force India is in good shape at the moment, so I’ll say he can score a top-five here.
Most to Prove: Nico Rosberg. Time for Rosberg to perform under pressure. Can he take advantage of the opportunity to wrap up the championship early?
Additional Storyline: Felipe Massa’s final home race. Massa has been the main man for the crowd at Interlagos for the past 10 years. Can he given them one final hurrah?
Predict the Podium
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
Race Winner: Nico Rosberg. He doesn’t need to win to win the championship – second will suffice both in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi – but as he’s won twice in Brazil the last two years, I’m thinking Rosberg will be keen to wrap it up in advance and take a potential gut-wrenching loss in Abu Dhabi out of play. He’s driven authoritatively all year and I think he’ll take this one.
Surprise Finish: Felipe Massa. Such is the form of Williams – regularly behind Force India – that a “surprise finish” for Williams is a top five. I missed on Perez in Mexico but I’ll take Massa for a top five in his final race on home soil. If he could get on the podium, which is an admitted longshot, it’d be an incredible result.
Most to Prove: Sebastian Vettel. In the wake of his radio outburst and, objectively, poor-ish run of form by comparison to teammate Kimi Raikkonen, I’d like to see Vettel have a dynamic weekend. I’m sure he would too. Sadly dynamic for the 2016 Ferrari and Vettel means at best a podium finish.
Additional Storyline: Midfield jockeying. A handful of races of late have only seen the top 5 teams score points and as such it becomes harder to stand out among the Haas, Renault, Sauber, Manor, McLaren and Toro Rosso teams. With more drivers yet to be sorted than not, there’s a number of them that need a big race.
Predict the Podium
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb
For the fifth time in 10 rounds of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season, the three riders at the top of the championship standings shared a podium and while those points tell one story, the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit tell a slightly different tale.
Chase Sexton has been all but perfect during the past 45 days with podium finishes in each of his heats and Triple Crown features. His only stumble during this period was a 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis Main. Last week, Sexton was perfect with wins in both his heat and the feature, although he needed a little help from an Aaron Plessinger mistake to take the top spot on the podium at the end of the night.
Cooper Webb finished fifth at Houston and was beginning to worry ever so slightly about his position in the points. Prior to the race in Tampa, he told NBC Sports that it was time to win and like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield fence, Webb went out and captured it. Following that race, Webb has swept the podium and earned the red plate two weeks ago in Indianapolis. At Detroit, he added two more points on Eli Tomac as the season begins to wind down.
Tomac struggled with a stiff neck at Indianapolis and after a modest third-place showing in Detroit, he revealed he was still suffering a little. Webb and Sexton have been able to close the gap on Tomac in the past 45 days, but one of the main reasons he is so close in the points was a pair of wins that started the year. Seattle is going to be important for the defending champion because Tomac cannot afford to lose any more momentum with seven rounds remaining.
It appeared Jason Anderson was turning things around. He earned his fifth heat win at Detroit, which was also his sixth consecutive race (including features) in which he scored a top-five. A fall in the Detroit Main dropped him a lap off the pace and sent him home with a season-worst finish of ninth, causing a ripple effect in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings.
Justin Barcia was a huge part of the show last week in Detroit. He swapped positions with both Webb and Tomac in the middle stage of the race, which allowed Sexton to close the gap. Barcia finished fourth in that race to earn his third consecutive top-five. He’s been outside the top 10 only once in the first 10 rounds.
Adam Cianciarulo had a great start to the Main. He led a couple of laps before losing a lap and slipping back to eighth in the final rundown. That run was strong enough to elevate him three positions in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit.
The NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings look at the past 90 days in the 250 class in order to have a balanced comparison between the East and West divisions and Hunter Lawrence has been all but perfect this year. At Detroit, he earned his fifth win of the season and kept alive a streak of podium finishes in six rounds. He tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 250 wins one week before the West riders take to the track for back-to-back races at Seattle, Washington and Glendale, Arizona.
The Lawrence brothers are dominating the points in each of their respective divisions, which means the remainder of the field is battling to be best in class.
In the East, that rider is Nate Thrasher, who beat Hunter in a head-to-head matchup in their heat only to finish second in the main when the majority of points were awarded. Thrasher seems to have accepted his position in the championship standings, but that doesn’t mean he won’t keep trying for wins.
Haiden Deegan showed a lot of aggression in his heat last week. He threw a couple of block passes at his teammate Jordon Smith and set up a series of events that kept Smith from making the big show while Deegan settled into second in the preliminary. Deegan was unconcerned about how he raced his teammate and would not let a little controversy keep him from celebrating his second career podium in Detroit.
Jeremy Martin just keeps clicking off solid results. He won his heat last week by making a pass on Deegan and Smith while they were in the heat of their battle. Martin finished fourth in the Main, which means he continues to have only one finish worse than sixth in any of the features or mains.
Smith fell one position in the points standings, but the damage was even worse in SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit. Crash damage in his heat contributed to a last-place finish in that race, for which he earned minimal points. He was not able to advance from the Last Chance Qualifier after stalling his bike in heavy traffic.
Hunter Lawrence – E
[5 Main, 5 Heat wins]
Jett Lawrence – W
[3 Main, 3 Heat wins]
Nate Thrasher – E
[1 Main, 3 Heat wins]
Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat win]
Haiden Deegan – E
[1 Heat win]
Jeremy Martin – E
[2 Heat wins]
Jordon Smith – E
[3 Heat Wins]
Levi Kitchen – W
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
RJ Hampshire – W
[4 Heat wins]
Max Anstie – E
Tom Vialle – E
Max Vohland – W
Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
Chris Blose – E
Chance Hymas – E
Enzo Lopes – W
Michael Mosiman – E
Pierce Brown – W
Phil Nicoletti – W
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).