5 Headlines To Watch Out For On Race Day In Brazil
This ought to be an interesting one. Max Verstappen took just his second career pole position yesterday for Red Bull as he goes for his third win of the season, which would match his best season ever in Formula One, not to mention give him a great chance of taking third place in the drivers championship for the first time, however there are two drivers behind him that hold ten World Championship's between them that would like to think they could change that outcome. Of course I'm talking about Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
Whilst the battle for the win is bubbling up nicely, there is more afoot down in the midfield, with Haas and Alfa Romeo, and Racing Point and Toro Rosso fighting in the constructors championship, with Pierre Gasly qualifying a strong P6 for Toro Rosso. So without further adieu, here are five headlines to watch out for on race day at Interlagos.
CAN MAX HOLD OFF VETTEL?
Taking just his second pole position of his career, and the season, Max Verstappen will sense the opportunity here. The Dutchman has only claimed two podiums since the start of the second half of the season, and hasn’t won since Germany nearly 100 days ago. With Brazil being the penultimate GP, this is Red Bull’s best chance of taking a third win of the season.
However right behind him will be Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver qualified P2 for the second race running, missing out on pole by just a tenth, but the straight line speed of the Ferrari might be a worry for the Honda powered Red Bull.
Let us not forget the 2017 edition at Interlagos, where Vettel dived down the inside of pole sitter Bottas in turn one. Could he do it again?
HOW HIGH CAN LECLERC GO?
After receiving a ten-place grid penalty for a new engine, Charles Leclerc’s rotten run will continue with the Monegasque starting P14 for The Prancing Horses. With a new engine and nothing to lose, what can we expect from the two-time race winner?
Well, he’ll be starting on the medium tyres, meaning he doesn’t have to worry about strategy like the others at the front of the field, however whilst he should be able to navigate the midfield, anything more than P6 is a bit of a stretch.
WHERE DID HAAS COME FROM?
Coming into the weekend, there were two battles left in the championship - the battle for sixth and eighth in the championship, with Haas being seven points behind Alfa Romeo. yet as we entered Q3, three of the ten drivers were from Haas or Alfa Romeo, two of the slowest teams on the grid at this point in time.
It’s clear that the lower temperatures in the later stages of qualifying, not to mention the straight line speed from the Ferrari engine helped Haas to get both cars into Q3 for the first time since last year, and Grosjean and Magnussen will be starting P7 and P9 when it comes to the race this afternoon. Strong chance here for big points.
CAN KIMI BE ALFA ROMEO'S SAVIOUR ONCE AGAIN?
Kimi Raikkonen has had somewhat of a nightmare second stint of the season after taking the midfield by storm in the first third of the season, at one point being sixth in the drivers championship, but since we’ve returned from the Summer break, it’s been A Nightmare On Elm Street for the former World Champion, although a P11 after starting next to dead last in Austin was an improvement.
Qualifying P9 was an important job for the Alfa Romeo driver, as he sandwiches the two Haas drivers as they fight for eighth place in the constructors championship, with Kimi starting the race P8 thanks to Leclerc’s grid penalty. For the Flying Finn, he just needs to get through the first corner and finish ahead of at least one Haas. Nothing else is more important for the 2007 WC.
WILL ALBON PLAY THE TEAM GAME, OR HIS OWN?
After having been confirmed for the 2020 seat in Red Bull, Alexander Albon can now rest at ease for these final two races of the season and simply enjoy them. The Thai-Brit rookie has finished in the top five for the past four races, and has outscored Verstappen since joining the team in Spa.
This weekend holds an exciting opportunity for Albon - he could be part of a team winning a grand prix for the first time in his career in Formula One. Starting P5 he will be behind the duo of Bottas and Hamilton, and whilst he was only 0.3 seconds from pole, I'm not expecting him to necessarily push up the field and take a podium, although I wouldn't put that off the cards completely.
But like Mercedes, Red Bull could utilise the fact that they'll have two drivers close to the front, maybe putting Albon out on a long one-stop to hold up the likes of Vettel and Hamilton for Verstappen. Interesting times ahead.
So what do you think? Will Verstappen be able to finally clinch his first Brazilian GP win after cruelly missing out last year, or will Sebastian Vettel be able to put Ferrari back on track? Please leave your thoughts about all five headlines down in the comment section below.