Thursday, 24 November 2011

Brazilian Grand Prix Preview

Brazil is host to the last race of 2011, and the season closes at a classic track.

The final race of 2011 is held at Interlagos, Sao Paulo. The Brazilian track is a fans favourite, due to its flowing corners, exciting races, and a great feel about the place. We enter this race with two main pieces of news regarding 2012's driver line-up.

Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa has signed a two-year deal with HRT, to drive for them in 2012 and 2013. De la Rosa drove in the Canadian Grand Prix for Sauber this year, and has been a regular test driver for McLaren and Sauber since 2007. The Spanish team now have a Spanish driver, and will be hoping to be off the back of the grid after signing the experienced 40-year old. The next news about 2012 is quite sad news, as it has been announced that Renault's Robert Kubica will miss the start of the 2012 season, as he is still recovering from injuries sustained in a rallying crash this February. Kubica has missed all of 2011, and now, sadly for Renault, it appears their start man will not be racing at the season opening Australian Grand Prix next year.

Brazil is a fantastic track, and usually produces very exciting races. Its brilliant track layout, coupled with the unpredictable weather, means it is a favourite amongst Formula One. The track features an excellent Turn One, which is so hard to get right. You have to brake very hard, but also not lock up. Furthermore, it is probably the best overtaking place on the track, so often you are defending and attacking while concentrating on the corner. The pit straight leading up to Turn One is very long, creating a passing oppurtunity, before you try and nail your opponent into the corner. After the S turns, we approach the straight from Turn 3 to Turn 4. This is where the DRS Zone has been placed, so is a good oppurtunity for overtaking. The next narrow straight is followed by a series of tricky corners and hairpin bends. Then there is the short straight before the pit straight.

2010: Vettel beats Hulkenberg into Turn One
 Last year's race was the penultimate race, and also one of the few Brazilian GP's not blessed with a plethora of action, as Sebastian Vettel eased to victory, leading home a Red Bull one-two to secure them the Constructor's Championship. Fernando Alonso ensured he led the championship into the final race with third place. The main story from the race weekend was Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg taking an amazing pole position in a wet qualifying session. Hulkenberg was understandably delighted with his pole. The Red Bulls started alongside Hulkenberg, and unsurprisingly the young German was beaten into Turn One. Vettel never looked back, while Hulkenberg still drove well, and finished eighth. Lewis Hamilton missed a chance of a podium when he ran wide at Turn One, allowing Fernando Alonso through, which effectively put Hamilton out of championship contention.

Red Bull will be the favourites after winning the last two Brazilian Grands Prix, but they were comprehensively beaten by McLaren two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi. Lewis Hamilton is coming off of a brilliant drive to victory in Abu Dhabi, and will certainly fancy his chances this weekend. Furthermore, Hamilton and Button have happy memories of this track after both winning their world championships here, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Ferrari were delighted with Fernando Alonso's 2nd in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, but Felipe Massa still fails to impress. He will be looking to improve here, at his home race. Another key driver is Michael Schumacher. Schumacher has done well at the more "traditional" circuits this year, like Montreal, Spa and Monza, and will be hoping for a good finish, as he attempts to overturn a seven-point deficit and finish ahead of Nico Rosberg in the standings. And there is the battle for seventh in the Constructors Championship between Sauber and Toro Rosso, with Sauber just one point ahead entering the final race of 2011. Also, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber will still believe they can finish 2nd in the championship, with Alonso ten points behind Jenson Button. With this been the season finale, lots of championship battles will be decided this weekend.

But the main one is settled, and has been for a long time. Sebastian Vettel is the world champion, and will look to end his phenomenal season in style. The man has been on fire this season, and he will be looking to bounce back from his Abu Dhabi retirement with victory in Brazil. And who can stop him?

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