Tag Archives: Interlagos

Interlagos circuit seeking extension until 2025 season

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It was announced this week that the organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos insist the venue will complete renovation work required to stay on the F1 calendar after Bernie Ecclestone said it faced the axe.

With Brazil struggling economically there have been various reports in recent weeks the race could drop off the calendar after the 2016 edition in November. Interlagos’ long-term future has always been dependent on renovation to the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace’s pits and paddock facilities, which began in 2015

When asked about the race in Azerbaijan, Ecclestone told the media: ‘I think the chances are that it won’t happen next year.’

However, the circuit has released a statement this week saying it not only expects the renovation to be completed in time for this year’s event but that it is also hoping to secure a five-year extension to its current contract, which runs until 2020.

The statement said the following:-

‘The circuit’s engineering department conducted a visit for the Brazilian press on 22 June to show the current work which should complete the ambitious three-year, U$ 60 million programme to improve the various facilities of the classic Interlagos circuit before the forthcoming Brazilian Grand Prix which shall take place on 11, 12 and 13 of November.

‘The circuit, a great favourite of drivers of all categories due to its challenging layout and many overtaking opportunities has been hosting the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1990 when the race was moved from the city of Rio de Janeiro.

‘The city’s current contract runs through 2020 and it is expected that after this year’s municipal elections conversations will take place with the Commercial Rights Holder and the FIA to extend it for a further five years period.

‘The Brazilian Grand Prix is the only race of the F1 World Championship in South America and has a huge following on worldwide television making it one of the pivotal races of the series.’

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Ricciardo: Suspension failure ended by race

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

In his interview with ESPN F1 yesterday, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says a suspension failure was the reason for his “boring” Brazilian Grand Prix coming to a premature end.

Ricciardo limped back to the pit lane on lap 39 after reporting what he initially thought was a brake failure and ended his a run of 15 consecutive top eight finishes.

In his interview with ESPN F1 yesterday, Ricciardo says that he was having problems with braking during the race and believed it was a brake failure at first he was suffering from. Ricciardo stated the following:-

‘From yesterday afternoon the weekend went a little downhill, obviously I had the issue today. To be honest a few laps before my eventually problem I had, let’s say wobbles, going down when I was braking. The car seemed to be behaving a little bit weird.

‘You never know, it could be tyres wearing, so you try not to take too much notice. Eventually when I braked into Turn 1 the car shot to the right and for me, I thought there was a brake failure. I came into the pits and the team told me it was a suspension failure, so I was wrong with that one.’

It would seem that during the race according to Ricciardo, he suffered problems with his braking which he tried to do the best he could while driving and believed that was the cause of what he was suffering from. However, it has now come to light that suspension failure was the cause of his problems and that Ricciardo was wrong in his assumption of what was going wrong on his car.

Further on in his interview, Ricciardo believes that even if he had not suffered the suspension failure he does not think he was on for a strong finish in Interlagos, even though team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished fifth. Ricciardo added the following:-

‘It was unfortunately a bit of a boring race; we were close to everyone but not close enough to really have many fights. I would have liked to have a bit more fun but we didn’t really have much else there.’

Even though Ricciardo classes his race yesterday as “boring”, it is clear that he just didn’t have the pace or the performance to challenge the Mercedes, Ferrari or McLaren drivers on the circuit. Of course Ricciardo would have wanted to challenge for position on track, but there was nothing else he could have done.

But all Ricciardo can do is analyse the data from yesterday and ensure that he finds the right set up and gets quickly on the pace for the final race in Abu Dhabi and end his brilliant season on a high. And if anyone can do this, it is Ricciardo.

Button: I’m really happy with P4

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In his interview with the media yesterday, Jenson Button left Interlagos a happy man after using all his experience to finish fourth.

The build-up to the Brazilian GP had been troublesome for the Brit as he struggled with his McLaren during practice, but the team turned things around in qualifying and he started fifth on the grid.

Although he failed to get onto the podium on the Sunday, it was nevertheless a satisfactory afternoon as he finished ahead of the Red Bulls, Ferraris and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. In his interview with the media yesterday, Button believes that his experience helped him gain P4 from the race. Button stated the following:-

‘Experience showed today, really happy with P4. You always want more, to challenge for that podium and we felt that we were sort of playing with the Williams at one point, but it wasn’t the case.

‘Enjoyed the race, great battle with Kimi [Raikkonen]. To beat both Red Bulls, both Ferraris and a Williams is not a bad day’s work. That’s all I can do right, go out and enjoy my racing.’

I would have to agree with Button here and state that his experience of the Interlagos circuit helped him achieve P4 yesterday. Of course Button would want more from the race but they just didn’t have the pace needed to challenge the Williams. But despite that, Button had a great race yesterday especially battling with Raikkonen and beating the Ferraris and the Red Bulls and he showed that he can race as well as anyone else if he has the car underneath him.

Button’s future remains unclear with McLaren reportedly set to replace him with Fernando Alonso, and Button admits he’s not ready to hang up his helmet by stating in the latter stages of his interview that he is not “Not ready to stop racing” when asked about his future. And why should Button hang up his helmet?

He demonstrated yesterday that if he has the car underneath him, he can deliver just as good as anyone else out there. It would be crazy for McLaren not to retain Button for next season and using all of his experience and knowledge within Formula One and also with Honda for at least a year while McLaren settle back into partnership with the engine manufacturer.

For me, Button has done more than enough to be retained by McLaren for next season. However, Button has stated over the past few weeks that if he cannot be in the sport next season, he does have options available to him so that he can keep on racing competitively.

And I truly hope that Button is retained by McLaren for at least a season to reward Button for his performances this season and let him have a chance of battling for points and podiums for one more season. But all we can do is wait and see who McLaren will announce as their drivers for 2015 over the next few weeks and I pray with all my might that Button gets the race seat with the team that he and his talent without a shadow of doubt deserves.

Hamilton: I have “zero comfort” from my lead in the title race

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In his interview with BBC Sport yesterday, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says despite with 50 points up for grabs in Abu Dhabi, he heads into the season finale with “zero comfort” from his 17-point lead.

Mercedes’ 11th 1-2 result of this season, which the team recorded in Brazil on Sunday, went in Nico Rosberg’s favour so the Championship protagonists will head into the final race of the season separated by just 17 points.

In his interview with BBC Sport yesterday, Hamilton stated the following on leading the championship into Abu Dhabi:-

‘There is zero comfort going into the next race. There are 50 points to gain. The last race, you never know what’s going to happen, so I’m going there to win.’

While in normal circumstances that would put the advantage firmly in Hamilton’s favour, with the new double points rule anything could happen. There are 50 points on offer for winning the Abu Dhabi GP, which has given Rosberg more scope to fight back. It has also taken anyway any comfort Hamilton would have had in past years with a 17-point lead.

As Hamilton has pointed out, anything can happen in Abu Dhabi and knows that he has the most to lose out of anyone and will be ensuring that he does everything he can to win the race and clinch the championship in style in a few weeks time.

A win, or even a second place, would guarantee Hamilton the title while on the other side of the garage, Rosberg has to finish fifth or higher to stand any chance of snatching the crown. Further on in his interview yesterday, Hamilton isn’t even entertaining the thought of that happening. Hamilton added the following:-

‘Why would I think that? It’s not the way to approach any race weekend.’

As for his opinion on the double points rule as the drivers who stands to lose the most from it, Hamilton said the following in the final stages of his interview:-

‘We need to keep on reviewing it. It’s good to try something and we’ll see how it goes this year. The important thing is that the fans are happy. We need to see if we keep on doing it or change.’

I would have to agree with Hamilton here and all you can do is implement something into the regulations such as double points and then see how it works after it has finished. But as Hamilton says, if the fans are happy then it will stay, if not it will go. And with the majority of fans not happy with the double points rule, I do see the rule not being implemented for future seasons after proving that we don’t need this to see a championship being closely fought by two talented drivers.

But overall, Hamilton is approaching the final race of the season in the correct manner. Hamilton knows that with double points on offer in Abu Dhabi, anything can happen in the race and is not taking anything for granted. You can be sure that Hamilton will be going all out to win at Abu Dhabi if he can to clinch the title in style. However, all he needs to do is finish second behind Rosberg (if Rosberg is leading that is) and the title will be his.

But At the moment, Hamilton is in the best position that he can be in and will be pushing as hard as possible to clinch his second Drivers Championship in Abu Dhabi in a few weeks time. all we can do now is look forward to seeing the 2014 Formula One season ending in Abu Dhabi with Hamilton or Rosberg being crowned champion. But who will it be?

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Nico Rosberg take Pole Position ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Before the start of the race, Adrian Sutil encounters problems with his turbo on his Sauber and will have to start the race from the pitlane.

Nico Rosberg leads the grid at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the grid at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At 2pm local time yesterday, the Brazilian Grand Prix gets underway. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both get good starts. As we head into Turn 1, Felipe Massa has locks up but is still in third place. Daniel Ricciardo once again has had a bad start and has slipped down the order.

On Lap 2, Rosberg leads Hamilton by 0.8 seconds. Perez is then able to pass Grosjean for track position. The next lap sees the battle for seventh taking place between Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. At the end of Lap 4, Pastor Maldonado makes his first pit stop.  At the end of Lap 5, Massa pits and at the end of Lap 6, Bottas, Button and Vettel pit.

Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 7, Rosberg leads Hamilton by 1.2 seconds. During the lap, the stewards announce that Massa is under investigation for speeding in the pit lane. At the end of the lap, Rosberg, Alonso and Magnussen pit. The next lap sees Hamilton leading Gutierrez by 14 seconds. The stewards announce that Massa will receive a five second stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. At the end of the lap, Hamilton pits.

Lap 9 sees Hulkenberg leading Kvyat. The next lap sees Hamilton passing Grosjean for track position at Turn 1. By Lap 12, Hulkenberg now leads the race ahead of Rosberg by 1.4 seconds. Hamilton passes Kvyat for third place. Lap 13 sees Button passing Sutil for eighth place.

Nico Rosberg takes the lead from Nico Hulkenberg on Lap 14 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg takes the lead from Nico Hulkenberg on Lap 14 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 14 sees Rosberg passing Hulkenberg for the lead of the race at Turn 1. On track, the battle for sixth place between Grosjean, Bottas and Button is ongoing. The next lap sees Bottas passing Grosjean for sixth place. Hulkenberg and Hamilton are battling for second. The next lap sees Hamilton passing Hulkenberg for second place. Kvyat and Massa are battling for fourth place and Hulkenberg pits at the end of the lap.

Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton before his pit stop on Lap 26 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to XPB.

Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton before his pit stop on Lap 26 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to XPB.

On Lap 17, Rosberg leads Hamilton by 2.3 seconds. On track Massa passes Kvyat for fourth place. The next lap sees Hamilton reporting that he has a blister on his front right tyre. Five laps later, Magnussen passes Grosjean for sixth place. The next lap sees Alonso trying to pass Grosjean but cannot do so at first. However, a few corners later and Alonso passes Grosjean for seventh place. Vettel is then able to pass Grosjean for eighth place. Both Vettel and Grosjean pit at the end of the lap.  At the end of Lap 25, Massa pits.

Lewis Hamilton spins at Turn 3 on Lap 28 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to XPB.

Lewis Hamilton spins at Turn 3 on Lap 28 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to XPB.

With the gap being 0.8 seconds between himself and Hamilton, Rosberg pits at the end of the lap. Also Bottas pits but seems to have problems with his seatbelts that need to be fixed and he loses valuable time as a result of this. Lap 28 sees Hamilton leading the race from Button by 21. 6 seconds. But as Hamilton tries to push on track to build the gap to overtake Rosberg in the pit stops, Hamilton spins at Turn 3 losing 7 seconds and at the end of the lap, Hamilton pits and hands the lead back to Rosberg.

Lap 29 sees Rosberg retake the lead ahead of Hamilton by 7.2 seconds. Vettel and Massa are battling each other for eighth place on the track. The stewards then announce that Perez will receive a five second stop and go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. By Lap 31, Button passes Kvyat for sixth place.

Nico Rosberg leads the Brazilian Grand Prix just after half distance. All rights reserved to LAT.

Nico Rosberg leads the Brazilian Grand Prix just after half distance. All rights reserved to LAT.

By Lap 35, Rosberg still leads the race ahead of Hamilton by 5.5 seconds. Kvyat and Vettel are battling each other for seventh place. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen pits but suffers from a front jack failure while trying to put on the front right tyre. Also, Hulkenberg pits. The next lap sees Vettel passing Kvyat for fifth place.

Lap 40 sees Rosberg leading Hamilton by 3.9 seconds. Ricciardo is forced to retire from the race due to suspension failure occurred with his left front brake failing alongside it. Two laps later, Hulkenberg passes Bottas for fifth place and Raikkonen behind is also trying to pass Bottas on track but cannot do so. At the end of the lap, Bottas pits.

Alonso is able to pass Magnussen for sixth place on Lap 45 of the race. Two laps later, Kvyat passes Perez for 11th place on the track. Three laps later, Hamilton has closed the gap down to Rosberg to two seconds. At the end of the lap, Rosberg and Massa pit. However, Massa goes to the McLaren bay first before going to the Williams bay after realising his mistake.

Nico Rosberg leading Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leading Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 51 sees Hamilton retaking the lead of the Grand Prix and by the next lap, Rosberg retakes the lead once again after Hamilton makes his final pit stop. By Lap 54, the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton is 0.7 seconds. Also on this lap, Massa passes Hulkenberg for third place.

Jenson Button trying to pass Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1 on Lap 61 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Jenson Button trying to pass Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1 on Lap 61 of the Brazilian Grand Prix. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 61 sees Rosberg leading Hamilton by 0.6 seconds. Into Turn 1, Button tries to make a move on Raikkonen but cannot make it stick. But by Turn 3, Button in a fantastic move passes Raikkonen for fourth place and Raikkonen is then passed by Vettel and closes two places in a few metres on the track.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso battling for sixth place in the final laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso battling for sixth place in the final laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images

Three laps later, Raikkonen and Alonso are battling each other for sixth place in the race. With Alonso trying everything to get past, Raikkonen is defending beautifully. On Lap 66, Grosjean officially retires from the race due to a power unit failure. By Lap 68, Alonso is able to pass Raikkonen and move up to sixth place.

Nico Rosberg wins the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton in second place and local driver Felipe Massa who finished in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton in second place and local driver Felipe Massa who finished in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 71 sees Rosberg leading Hamilton by 0.8 seconds. Rosberg completes his final lap and wins the Brazilian Grand Prix takes the Pole Position trophy of the season which is a fantastic achievement.

Rosberg is a credible second 1.4 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa finishes a brilliant third 41 seconds behind Rosberg, Button is a credible fourth 48.6 seconds behind Rosberg, Vettel finished fifth 51.4 seconds behind Rosberg, Alonso was sixth 1.01.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen finishes seventh 1.03.7 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg was eighth 1.03.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Magnussen finished in ninth 1.10.0 seconds behind Rosberg and Bottas picked up the final point in tenth 1 lap down behind Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton leads the Driver’s championship with 334 points, Rosberg is second with 317 points, Ricciardo is third with 214 points, Vettel is fourth with 159 points, Alonso is fifth with 157 points, Bottas is sixth with 156 points, Button is seventh with 106 points, Massa is eighth with 98 points, Hulkenberg is ninth with 80 points and Magnussen is tenth with 55 points.

Mercedes leads the Constructor’s championship with 651 points, Red Bull is second with 373 points, Williams is third with 254 points, Ferrari is fourth with 210 points, McLaren is fifth with 161 points, Force India is sixth with 127 points, Toro Rosso are seventh with 30 points, Lotus are eighth with 9 points and Marussia are ninth with 2 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had a great race today after showing an improvement in their performance throughout the weekend. Even though Button had a good qualifying on Saturday with fifth place, he had a brilliant race to finish fourth especially after passing Raikkonen. Button extracted the pace and the performance to get some much needed points for McLaren and showing that he still has what it takes to race well in Formula One.

Also, Magnussen had a good weekend. He has shown yet again that he is without question a potential talent of the future and had a reasonable weekend that saw him outperform his team mate and brought home some much needed points for the McLaren team, which sees them retain their position in the Constructors Championship.

This weekend has shown that McLaren have had a small step with their performance and pace with the car but the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car that they need in order to get back to competitive ways once again. They need to bring updates to the car as quickly as possible in order to try and get back to fighting for strong points finishes as Formula One continues into the fly away leg of the season.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was Massa getting third place in the race today. I do feel that Massa drove a superb race to gain third today and it is very well deserved. He did a brilliant and strong job in Saturday in qualifying to achieve third place and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge the Mercedes, he drove a great race to claim a podium in front of his home crowd yesterday.

Alonso, Raikkonen, Vettel, Hulkenberg and Bottas do deserve mentions. Firstly Alonso deserves a mention for most of the weekend with the car been able to extract a little bit more pace and performance. As I have already stated before, I believe that Alonso managed to extract some performance from the car and was rewarded with points for his efforts. But I believe that Ferrari took their chance to secure with the good points they have scored this weekend even though they need to work on their race pace throughout the season. But all credit to Alonso for a superb performance today.

Also Raikkonen did extremely well to gain seventh place today. Raikkonen this weekend has managed to extract pace and performance from the car, but has looked a bit uncomfortable And I feel that the results that Raikkonen achieved today will only spur on Ferrari to try and keep this momentum going further into the season.

Vettel did a credible job to finish fifth today. But I do feel that he did struggle with aspects of the car and was only able to finish in that position. Throughout the race, Vettel showed that he can race and race well if provided with the opportunity to do so but I am sure that he will only use this to push himself further to perform throughout the season ahead.

This weekend has saw Bottas picking up a point but has not had a strong weekend as many thought that he would do. He performed very well in Qualifying but he drove a strong race to bring home some much needed point for the team today despite all his issues with his pitstops during the race yesterday.

Hulkenberg did a good job today to secure eighth place today. I believe that Hulkenberg this year has been amazing and is working harder than ever to keep the form he has showed so far going and trying to get some much needed points for Force India in 2014. I really believe that Hulkenberg is a high quality driver and very talented and I was happy to him get some points today after a great drive.

Hamilton had a good race to get second place. Even though there he won’t be happy with his performance today, the main thing is that he scored points today. And this weekend for him had to be damage limitation. But you cannot discount him in the last race to fight for the victory and clinch the championship in style, even if he only needs second to do the job.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far this season with Rosberg. Rosberg for me now needs to make sure that he keeps being consistent and reliable, while it seems he has once again proven this.

There is no denying that Rosberg has done a great job this weekend and has been rewarded for his efforts with the win. He has shown once again that he cannot be discounted for battling for the win and challenging his team mate in the process for the victory too.

With Abu Dhabi in a few weeks time, can Hamilton keep up his momentum of the last five races or can Rosberg continue on what he has achieved last weekend in Brazil?

Also, please listen and join in to my #JonesonF1 Promotional Partner Pit Stop Radio tomorrow at 8pm BST for their Brazilian Grand Prix Race Review. You can join in the chat by visiting www.pitstopradio.blogspot.com. If you need any further information, you can follow Pit Stop Radio on Twitter @PitStopRadio.

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix Qualifying Review

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But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the team to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Williams or Ferrari may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.

Sergio Perez carries a seven place grid penalty into Qualifying due to his part in the accident with Adrian Sutil last weekend in Austin. Also, Daniil Kvyat will serve the second part of his tenth place grid penalty due to changing his engine in Austin last weekend. Let the battle for Pole Position begin…

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in Q1 and Q2. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q1, Rosberg tops the timesheets with a time of 1.10.347, Hamilton was second with a gap of 0.110 seconds behind, Massa was third with a gap of 0.255 seconds behind, Bottas was fourth with a gap of 0.485 seconds behind and Button was fifth with a gap of 0.750 seconds behind Rosberg. Magnussen, Raikkonen, Kvyat, Gutierrez and Alonso managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Grosjean, Vergne, Perez and Maldonado.

In Q2, Rosberg tops the timesheets with a time of 1.10.303, Massa is second with a gap of 0.040 seconds behind, Bottas is third with a gap of 0.118 seconds behind, Hamilton is fourth with a gap of 0.409 seconds behind and Button is fifth with a gap of 0.824 seconds behind Rosberg. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Alonso finish the top 10 as we head into the final session of Qualifying. At the end of Q2, we lose Guiterrez, Hulkenberg, Sutil and Kvyat.

The battle for pole position is on…

Nico Rosberg clinches his tenth Pole Position of the season ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton in second place and Felipe Massa in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg clinches his tenth Pole Position of the season ahead of his team mate Lewis Hamilton in second place and Felipe Massa in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In Q3, Rosberg tops the timesheet and gets pole with a lap time of 1.10.023 to claim his tenth Pole Position of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Rosberg also claims the Pole Position trophy which is a fantastic achievement. Hamilton was second fastest with a gap of 0.033 seconds behind Rosberg; Massa was a credible third fastest with a gap of 0.224 seconds behind Rosberg.

Bottas was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.282 seconds behind and Button was fifth fastest with a gap of 0.907 seconds behind Rosberg. Vettel was sixth fastest with a gap of 0.915 seconds behind, Magnussen was seventh fastest with a gap of 0.946 seconds behind , Alonso was eighth fastest with a gap of 0.954 seconds behind, Ricciardo was ninth fastest with a gap of 1.052 seconds behind and Raikkonen was a credible tenth fastest with a gap of 1.076 seconds behind Rosberg.

It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend.

You cannot discount Ricciardo, Bottas, Massa or even Alonso to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes that could see gaining some points on their rivals to leapfrog in the Constructors Championship.

Raikkonen, Button, Magnussen and even could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams to end their 2014 season strongly. Will it rain tomorrow? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Rosberg or will it be Hamilton?

Let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Interlagos circuit on race day tomorrow…

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix Practice Review

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Lewis Hamilton wins the United States Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg in second place and Daniel Ricciardo taking the final place on the podium. Toro Rosso, Ferrari and Lotus have managed to build on their strong performances since the last Grand Prix.

The situation that Formula One has found itself in is still topic for debate by many pundits and fans. Before the United States Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone has stated that he “doesn’t know how to fix F1” and then later contradicting this. If you want to read more on this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/ecclestone-i-dont-know-how-to-fix-f1/

The Brazilian Grand Prix is an event that has seen drivers and teams win titles and lose titles also. The circuit used to hold the record for bumpiness, but since it has been resurfaced Singapore now holds the record. The circuit runs anti-clockwise with high speed sections and compressions which makes it a difficult race for the drivers and their necks.

You get to see great racing going into Turn 1 due to the high levels of slipstreaming and the drivers overtaking each other with some great moves. There’s a lot of time to be won or lost in the three hairpins on the circuit in the middle of the lap and also in the last corner Juncao which is critical for a driver to get right to be quick.

Top speed can be achieved before Turn 1 or Turn 4, depending on the direction of the wind. The cars need to have a lot of traction to have a good race here. However, the weather can quickly change around this circuit, anything can happen and it usually does around Interlagos.

The race weekend begins now….

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is Mercedes look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

During FP1, we saw Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr and Daniel Juncadella making having another F1 run for Toro Rosso, Williams and Force India in the session and gaining valuable experience on the Interlagos circuit and also in their respective cars. 

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1, FP2 and FP3.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.12.764 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.221 seconds behind, Kvyat was in third with a gap of 0.959 seconds behind, Alonso in fourth with a gap of 0.978 seconds behind and Massa in fifth with a gap of 1.047 seconds behind Rosberg. Verstappen is sixth with a gap of 1.063 seconds behind, Maldonado is seventh with a gap of 1.270 seconds behind, Raikkonen is eighth with a gap of 1.350 seconds behind, Magnussen is ninth with a gap of 1.372 seconds behind and Ricciardo is tenth with a gap of 1.433 seconds behind Rosberg.

During the first opening ten minutes of FP1, we saw Jenson Button stopping on the left hand side of the pit lane with power unit problems and did not set a lap time in the session.

Also, we saw Adrian Sutil go off the track during the session and he was able to continue running in the session. We did also see Daniel Juncadella and Max Verstappen spin off the circuit due to the lack of heat in their tyres but both of them were able to continue running in the session.

In the final thirty minutes of the session, Daniel Juncadella crashed into the barriers at Turn 7 after taking too much “rumble strips” and lost the rear of the car. The session was red flagged in order to recover the Force India and leaves the team with a lot of work to do in order to fix the car ready for Sergio Perez in FP2.

During the latter stages of the session, Max Verstappen went off at Turn1 due to a severe lock up on the left front tyre and missed his turning and braking point but was also to continue running in the session. Kimi Raikkonen at the same corner as Juncadella twice and went off the track but was able to continue running.

It was also announced during the session by Sky Sports F1 that the Marussia F1 Team has “ceased trading” and will be making their staff redundant. This is due to Marussia not being able to find investment or a management buyout before their deadline which was today. This is a real shame for Formula One to lose a team like Marussia who have battled hard this season to score their first points in Formula One with Jules Bianchi at Monaco and also had a difficult month in October too.

If you want to read more on the situation, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/marussia-formula-one-team-closes-its-doors/.

During the session, the Caterham team announced that they are launching a crowdfunding project to get the team to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Using Crowdtube, the Caterham F1 team have asked F1 fans to help donate anything they can to help the team raise £2.35 million before the 14th November. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/caterham-launches-a-crowdfunding-project-to-get-back-into-f1/

It was also announced by the FIA that they will testing out their virtual Safety Car procedure at the end of the session. In order to test out this procedure, the FIA will randomly select two cars from the grid who will test this out for the FIA.

Practice 2 saw Rosberg topping the timesheets with a time of 1.12.123 followed by Hamilton with a gap of 0.213 seconds behind, Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 0.573 seconds behind, Ricciardo was in fourth with a gap of 0.833 seconds behind and Bottas was in fifth with a gap of 0.912 seconds behind Rosberg. Massa was is sixth with a gap of 0.976 seconds behind, Alonso was seventh with a gap of 0.999 seconds behind, Kvyat was eighth with a gap of 1.131 seconds behind, Vettel was ninth with a gap of 1.210 seconds behind and Magnussen finished the top 10 with a gap of 1.591 seconds behind Rosberg.

We saw a lot of action on track during the session and also the session was red flagged three times due to three different drivers stopping on track. During FP2, we saw Adrian Sutil, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean going off the track (Raikkonen went off twice) while getting to grips with the new surface on the circuit. All of the drivers were able to continue on during the session.

We also saw Sebastian Vettel struggling with blistering on his tyres on the front and the rear due to the high temperatures at the Interlagos circuit. Due to the temperatures, we saw engineers advising their drivers after setting a lap time to have a “cool down” lap to help the ERS systems cool down properly.

In the early part of FP2, Jean-Eric Vergne was the first driver to stop on track with a suspected power unit issue but this hasn’t been confirmed by the Toro Rosso team as of yet. This then caused the session to be red flagged while Vergne’s car was recovered by the marshals.

Then Esteban Gutierrez was the second driver to stop on track in the second half of the session. Guiterrez has been suffering with ERS problems during the weekend and he stopped on the back straight of the Interlagos circuit, thereby bringing out the second red flag of the session while his car was recovered.

In the latter stages of the session, Fernando Alonso was the third driver to stop on the circuit after his engine blew up on the circuit. This then brought out the red flag for the third time in the session while his car was extinguished and then recovered by the marshals. This engine blow up could now see Alonso taking a penalty for taking an sixth engine for the season.

Practice 3 saw Rosberg top the timesheet with a time of 1.10.446 followed by Hamilton with a gap of 0.114 seconds behind, Massa in third with a gap of 0.429 seconds behind, Bottas in fourth with a gap of 0.608 seconds behind and Ricciardo in fifth with a gap of 0.742 seconds behind Rosberg. Button is sixth with a gap of 0.764 seconds behind, Raikkonen is seventh with a gap of 0.870 seconds behind, Alonso is eighth with a gap of 0.953 seconds behind, Magnussen is ninth with a gap of 1.053 seconds behind and Kvyat topped the top 10 with a gap of 1.388 seconds behind Hamilton.

With the rain overnight washing away the rubber laid down on the Interlagos track, we saw a lot of action on track during the session. During FP3, we saw Esteban Guiterrez out of the exit of the Juncao corner nearly lose the rear of his Sauber due to the water that hasn’t cleared from last night but he was able to continue on during the session.

We did also see Jean-Eric Vergne and Lewis Hamilton having severe lock ups (Hamilton locked up twice during the session) going into Turn1 and nearly losing the rear end of their cars but both were able to continue during the session.

McLaren, Williams, Toro Rosso and Ferrari look to be having a good weekend so far with both drivers which show that both teams might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Ricciardo, Alonso and even Bottas or Massa also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Ferrari and McLaren have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…