The Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos is traditionally one of the most unpredictable races on the Formula One calendar and the possibility of rain means that this weekend’s race can again be expected to excite (16:00 GMT, Sunday, live on BBC1 & Sky Sports F1).
The circuit, now officially known as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, located on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, has played host to the Brazilian Grand Prix on a continuous basis since 1990, having first hosted the event back in 1973. Flowing first and third sectors are linked together by a much tighter infield section in the middle part of the lap.
Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team have already wrapped up the drivers’ and constructors’ championships but there are still a number of other battles up and down the grid to keep an eye on this weekend.
One of the most intriguing is the contest for sixth in the constructors’ championship, with Lotus’ grasp on the position having come under increasing threat from Toro Rosso in recent races. Toro Rosso have cut the gap down to six points by out-scoring Lotus by nine over the course of the last five Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen (pictured) providing most of their points.
The Dutch driver, who only recently turned 18, made a relatively slow start to his debut season. But he has found his groove in the second half of the year, scoring in seven of the last eight races, including impressive fourth-place finishes in Hungary and the United States. He has scored more than double the amount of points of his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.
Verstappen likes the layout at Interlagos and expects the track to be well-suited to the Toro Rosso package. His points-scoring run can therefore be expected to continue this weekend.
Force India currently sit ahead of the Lotus and Toro Rosso battle in fifth place in the standings and are on the verge of securing the best championship finish of their F1 tenure to date. Their performances have been particularly impressive since the introduction of their B-Spec package in early July.
Sergio Perez secured the team’s second ever podium finish by coming home third in Russia three races ago and has outscored his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by 53 points to 20 over the course of the last eight races. It is, however, Hulkenberg who can be expected to come out on top this weekend at a circuit at which he always runs well.
The German driver has finished in the points in each of his four previous visits to Interlagos and has always shown strong pace, particularly when rain has come into play. He qualified on pole position in the wet in 2010 and led for part of the race in changeable conditions in 2012 before eventually coming home fifth following a collision with Hamilton. He looks well placed to secure Force India’s seventh top-six finish of the year on Sunday.
For the second year in a row, Nico Rosberg was unable to prevent Mercedes team-mate Hamilton from winning the championship, but he has at least enjoyed the recent advantage in qualifying, having taken pole position in each of the last four races.
Rosberg was victorious in Interlagos last year after beating Hamilton to first on the grid and also out-qualified the British driver in their first season together as team-mates back in 2013. Indeed, he has out-qualified his team-mate of the time in six of his nine appearances at the Brazilian Grand Prix since his Formula One debut in 2006.
In addition to Rosberg’s superior record in Brazil, Hamilton may not be at his best this weekend as he is suffering from an illness that delayed his trip to South America. With a car underneath him that has taken pole position in all but one of the 17 races so far this season, our Brazilian Grand Prix preview expects that Rosberg can head the field on Saturday and we have advised our betting tips, below, accordingly.