Brazilian GP Preview: 5 Headlines To Watch Out For
We have just two rounds to go before the 2019 Formula One World Championship is wrapped up, but before we get all teary, we head to one of the best venues of the season: Interlagos.
Last time out there was the fracas between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon when the Frenchman attempted to unlap himself, costing Verstappen the win against Hamilton.
With Interlagos being one of the shortest tracks of the year, yet one of the most toughest, with it being anti-clockwise, combined with short stop-start corners and long straights, it will be a great scrap for the win with all of the top three teams having a fighting chance.
Here are five headlines to watch out for this weekend in Brazil:
LAST CHANCE SALOON FOR VERSTAPPEN & RED BULL
The second half of the F1 season was meant to be like 2018's for Max Verstappen. Weekends such as Singapore, Mexico, Japan and even Austin were earmarked as potential opportunities for the Red Bull team to expand on their two wins so far this year in Austria and Germany, but alas, the best they could get from those four weekends were two podiums.
Brazil represents a different opportunity. Whilst Verstappen was unable to win in Brazil last year, largely thanks to a driver called Esteban Ocon, he dominated the race, and was clearly unstoppable.
It would be irresponsible to assume that Red Bull will have the same pace at the anti-clockwise circuit this year, however with two rounds to go, Brazil is probably their last chance to claim anything more than a win.
Technically Red Bull are having their worst season since 2015, when they claimed no wins, as in 2016 and 2017 they claimed three wins and in 2018 they claimed four, the most since they won the title in 2013.
CAN FERRARI GET BACK ON TRACK?
Despite their brilliant second half of the season, Ferrari have turned off the taps recently. After claiming a solid P2 and P4 in Austin qualifying, The Prancing Horses only walked away with twelve points, on a track that we thought they'd be favourites on.
Looking at Interlagos, Vettel won here in 2017, and Raikkonen claimed a podium last time out, and due to the short nature of the track, when it comes to qualifying the margins will be minute.
Whether a win is on the cards considering the fast flowing first half of the circuit we simply don't know, but Vettel and Leclerc will be fancying their chances for the final two races of the season before hitting the reset button for 2020.
WILL BOTTAS CONTINUING OUTPERFORMING HAMILTON?
Since the Russian Grand Prix came to town, Valtteri Bottas has been the best driver on the grid without a doubt. In Sochi, he was able to keep the faster Charles Leclerc at bay for P2. At Suzuka, he started third but was leading the race by turn one, and was never seen again. In Mexico, he took a solid P3 after crashing heavily in Q3, starting P6, and last time out he managed to overtake Hamilton in the final laps to take his fourth win of the season in Austin.
Bottas took pole position here two years ago and finished P2, but with the form he is on in qualifying, you wouldn't want to rule out The Porridge Man for his fifth win of the season.
RACING POINT V TORO ROSSO
Thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's sixth place in Austin and Nico Hulkenberg's ninth place in Austin, Renault now have a near unassailable eighteen point lead over Racing Point for fifth place in the constructors, their worst case scenario for this season, with McLaren far ahead with 121 points compared to their 83.
However with Racing Point on 65 and Toro Rosso on 64, there is still a race afoot. Racing Point finished seventh last year, with Toro Rosso taking eighth. For the Italian team, they have finished seventh five times in the past seven seasons, with sixth place marking their all time best constructors finish. Could they pip Racing Point?
WHO WILL TAKE THIRD PLACE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
This is a bit of a petty one in my personal opinion, but it's just that I'd run out of headlines to come up with. Currently Charles Leclerc has 249 points, Max Verstappen has 235 points and Sebastian Vettel has 230 points. All three of these drivers are fighting for third place in the drivers championship, and whilst Vettel has made it clear he couldn't give a s**t about it, for Verstappen and Leclerc it has a bit more weight to it, with Verstappen never finishing in the top three before. Just some petty fighting, but nevertheless it will be something interesting to look out for.
So what do you think? Will it be Bottas to take his second consecutive race win, and his third in four races, or will Ferrari come fighting back and take their fourth/fifth race win of the season? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.