MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: 2016 Brazilian GP

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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.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

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

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

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