The Crazy Formula: Five Insane Interlagos Moments
From title showdowns to unbelievable victories, big crashes to amazing overtakes, The Autodromo Carlos Pace, or Interlagos as it’s known has seen some crazy moments in its history as host for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The race in Sao Paulo is famous for its long sweeping straight and tight corners, as well as the changeable weather conditions that flutter from sun to hail and rain and back in a matter of minutes.
1. The Craziest Race Ever.
The 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix will forever be remembered as one of the craziest races in the history of F1. Home driver Rubens Barrichello secured pole but lost the lead early on to McLaren’s David Coulthard. In the torrential conditions, and due to the new regulations that teams could only bring one wet weather tyre compound to each race, it was the recipe for disaster. Coming off the long turn three many drivers crashed including Jaguar’s Antonio Pizzonia, Williams’ Juan Pablo Montoya and reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher. Jordan’s Ralph Firman would also suffer a suspension failure and collide with the Toyota of Olivier Panis going into the Senna chicane. Pizzonia’s teammate Mark Webber would also spin at Turn 3 but would survive to race on.
A bitterly disappointed Barrichello would fail to finish after suffering a fuel system failure, handing the lead back to Coulthard after an early lead pass. Coulthard would pit on lap 53 handing the lead to McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen, where thanks to all the mess behind, it was Jordan’s Giancarlo Fisichella in third, who would claim the lead off Raikkonen on lap 54 after the Finn went wide. Webber would not be so lucky a second time, as a spin saw a violent collision with the wall on the home straight, as well as a major accident for Renault’s Fernando Alonso after making contact with debris from Webber’s accident, stopping and ending the race on lap 54. Fisichella’s car would catch fire in Parc Ferme amidst debate as to who won. Raikkonen was deemed the winner on the day, but due to investigations by the FIA and Jordan, it was found that the winner was actually Fisichella, due to being in the lead when the results were taken two laps before red flag.
2. Senna's First Home Win.
Despite been racing in Formula One from 1984, it took until 1991 for the adored Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna to take his first win on his home track. Senna led away from pole but was pressured from Williams’’ Nigel Mansell throughout the race. Mansell looked to be much faster than Senna and was sure to take the lead until a puncture forced him to pit unexpectedly for a new set of tyres. Senna looked home free, until a failing gearbox seen him stuck in sixth gear for the final few laps. Senna, exhausted from the physical strain of the race, had to be lifted from his car after the race and driven to the podium due to muscle cramps, but it didn’t stop a very emotional celebration with the home crowd.
3. Raikkonen Just Edges Championship Glory.
Going into the final round of the championship in Brazil in 2007, outside contender Kimi Raikkonen found himself seven points behind McLaren Rookie Lewis Hamilton and three points behind his teammate Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen passed Hamilton for second off the start, with Alonso also challenging. This teammate duel meant Hamilton locked his brakes at Turn 4, leaving him seventh. Raikkonen would be chased by Alonso as the title went down to the wire, but thanks to Hamilton failing to recover the fifth place he needed for the title and Raikkonen’s Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa sacrificing a home win to let Raikkonen into the lead saw Kimi Raikkonen take an astounding championship win by just one point.
4. Oh, So Close for Massa.
The following year in 2008, Hamilton found himself embroiled in yet another championship battle with a Ferrari driver but this time with the other Ferrari of Felipe Massa. A sudden rain shower on the grid cause concern for teams, but as things got underway Massa led from pole. Massa needed to win with Hamilton lower than fifth to win the title. Massa got the job done in torrential conditions as he took the second home win of his career, while Hamilton, unsettled by a lapped Robert Kubica and passed by Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel seemed like he would fail once again. However, the pair would pass the Toyota of Timo Glock in the final corner, who struggled on the wrong tyres during another sudden shower, to give Hamilton his first title by just one point on the final corner!
5. Vettel's Inspired Drive.
2012 marked yet another explosive season finale in Brazil, and another in appealing conditions. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel needed to be at least fourth to maintain the title, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso needed a Top three finish. Vettel had a poor start dropping to seventh, but a collision with Bruno Senna seen Vettel drop to the back of the grid. A truly inspired march back up the grid with a damaged car seen Vettel eventually finish in sixth, meaning Alonso’s eventual second was in vain and Vettel was champion by a mere three points.