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Old 15 Nov 2019, 11:41 (Ref:3940718)   #1
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Brazilian Grand Prix 2019: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 20 of 21

Interlagos – this is one of the great circuits and almost always stages drama and emotion. It has hosted opening and closing races to many seasons and now it brings us the penultimate Grand Prix of 2019. The raucous and ebullient fans cheer from the grandstands that sit so close to the circuit that they make an amphitheatre of it. The track plunges downhill into Turn 1, setting the drivers off on a rollercoaster ride of a lap, with some interesting gradient changes affecting the corners. It is a bit like Suzuka in that regard, but less polished a place, and although like many a circuit, any bumps have been smoothed out, it remains nonetheless a traditional track with a rough-round-the-edges quality. With both championships now settled, we can look forward to some pure Grand Prix action, but also tight midfield battles: be in no doubt that those teams will be battling hard for valuable financial rewards and of course, the honour and achievement of beating each other.

The only track with facilities that eschew the contemporary slickness of 21st Century Formula 1 (even when Bernie Ecclestone was busy panning Silverstone, Interlagos curiously escaped his ire), São Paulo continues to bring us nailbiting tension, spectacular overtakes and big upsets year on year. Before we go back to the new world of the Middle East, let us enjoy a final fling at raw racing in an old school setting at a place with evocative corner names instead of mere numbered turns.

Newly-crowned six-times World Champion Lewis Hamilton arrives in Interlagos on the back of a glorious run of success with Mercedes. In 2008, he was less complete as a package than he is now and after coming so close to the championship win in his debut season the previous year, finally losing out at Interlagos, he did indeed win it, but by the skin of his teeth, in the famous race where Felipe Massa was supposedly “world champion for 30 seconds”.

This notion is actually a misconception, as Ferrari and Felipe celebrated too early. It had been raining and Hamilton and race leader Massa both pitted for intermediates, but in their haste to celebrate, the Scuderia had not allowed for Hamilton finding a way past Timo Glock who was slithering about on his dry-weather tyres. That he did so at the final corner of the season to take the points he needed capped one of the most dramatic endings to a sporting event in recorded history. The Constructors’ Championship seemed little comfort for Ferrari, as a mechanic headbutted a glass wall in the pits and Fiat president Luca di Montezemolo reportedly broke a TV.

2008 was one of two home victories for Massa. The other was in 2006 when he led from pole to the finish. It was Michael Schumacher who made all the headlines, though, in what was expected to be his final race, after having hit problems in qualifying, which restricted him to 10th on the grid. He was relegated to 19th place on Lap 9 after a collision and made it back to fourth, overtaking Kimi Räikkönen near the end.

It was the Finn who won his only world championship to date the next year, when he also took his sole win in Interlagos so far, vanquishing McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who finished the season tied on points, but with Lewis coming out ahead in the title race on countback.

It nearly wasn't the only win for Kimi. In 2003, Fernando Alonso, then with Renault, shunted on the start-finish straight, bringing out the red flags in a wet race in which he speared into the inside wall. Räikkönen was declared the victor on countback, despite Giancarlo Fisichella taking the chequered flag having overtaken the McLaren driver. The Jordan winner entered the pits on fire in a strange ending to the race. The decision to award the win to Räikkönen was overturned in the F.I.A. Court of Appeal in Paris a few days later when it was confirmed that Fisi was in fact the winner, because he had crossed the line in the lead two laps before Alonso’s crash (the race result was taken from the running order two laps before the race stoppage). Fisichella claimed his winner’s trophy back from Kimi in a bizarre start-finish ceremony at the next Grand Prix, taking Jordan’s final win in Formula 1.

In 2012, Vettel took his third consecutive championship, despite spinning on the first lap and narrowly avoiding being hit. Another memorable year was 2001, when Juan-Pablo Montoya announced his presence on the Formula 1 scene with an audacious move on Michael Schumacher to take the lead, before being taken out by Max Verstappen’s father Jos.

Back in 1997, eventual world champion of that year Jacques Villeneuve won the race after having got in a tangle at the first corner. Unlike these days, if there was a red flag back then, you could jump into the spare car.

All these examples are fairly modern, but Brazilian Grands Prix had started being run at the Gavea circuit in Rio de Janeiro in 1936. Interlagos was first developed when, in the late 1930s, two property developers bought the land, only to discover it was unsuitable for housing. It was completed in 1940. Just like the previous race in Mexico City, the first Grand Prix held at the circuit in 1972 wasn’t a world championship event, joining the Formula 1 World Championship the following year. Argentina's Carlos Reutemann won the first Braziian Grand Prix in his Brabham, while São Paulo native Emerson Fittipaldi took the spoils in the inaugural Formula 1 race for Lotus.

In 1974, the start was delayed when officials had to sweep the track to clear away broken glass that the excitable crowd had put on it. When the flag dropped to signal the start of the race, it caught several drivers out and Reutemann went into the lead. After his tyres went off, leader Ronnie Peterson battled with Emerson Fittipaldi, but Peterson developed a puncture (possibly from some of the glass). The race was stopped on Lap 32 of 40, due to heavy rain, and home hero Fittipaldi took his second Brazilian win on the bounce, this time for McLaren-Ford.

In 1975, São Paulo native Carlos Pace won his only Formula 1 race in Brazil. He was to be killed in a plane accident two years later and the circuit is now named after him, being the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. The following year, Tom Pryce scored his only podium, for Shadow, in third, behind winner Niki Lauda and second-placed Patrick Depailler in his Tyrrell-Ford. Ferrari's Reutemann won from Hunt and Lauda in 1977, while in 1978 Reutemann won again in the Ferrari (the first ever win for a Michelin-shod car), with Emerson Fittipaldi securing an excellent second place in his own team's car. The next year, it was a Ligier 1-2, Laffite leading home Depailler. It was another French 1-2 in 1980, this time with Jabouille’s Renault winning in front of Pironi’s Ligier.

The race switched to the Jacarepaguá circuit in Rio in 1981. Reutemann led home Alan Jones and ignored an instruction from Williams to let Jones past. Jones refused to show up to the podium celebrations.

In 1982, Nelson Piquet came home first in his Brabham and eventual world champion Keke Rosberg was second in his Williams, but both cars were disqualified, due to their ballast water tank, which cooled the brakes, emptied during the race and filled up at the end. These disqualifications led to the FOCA teams boycotting San Marino a fortnight later. Alain Prost was therefore declared the winner for Renault.

Nigel Mansell won on his debut for Ferrari in 1989, the first person to do so since Mario Andretti in 1971 and the last until Kimi Räikkönen in 2007. A spectator ran across the track just as he crossed the line.

The race switched back to a reconfigured Interlagos in 1991.

In 1994, there was a four-car collision between Eddie Irvine, Martin Brundle, Jos Verstappen and Éric Bernard, which led to Irvine being banned for three races. It can make you wince to watch how Brundle’s neck shook about in the cockpit. Ayrton Senna spun out in his Williams while chasing down and closing the gap to eventual race winner Michael Schumacher.

Interlagos is full of tricky camber changes, ascents and descents. The drivers dive into Turn 1, a downhill left-hander nowadays known as the Senna ‘S’, which then goes 90 right and which is followed by a long left-hander, the Curva do Sol. This takes them onto the Reta Oposta, an opportunity for overtaking present here particularly on the opening lap, depending on the exit from the previous corner. ‘Reta Oposta’ should mean ‘back straight’. The explanation for why this would therefore be the back straight lies in a comparison with the old layout used before the 80s. The track used to go left at Curva 1 on part of the track which was outside where the Senna ‘S’ is nowadays. The Curva do Sol was therefore a corner which was on the infield of the old circuit and was followed by the Reta Oposta.

Back to 2019 and the drivers enter the Descida do Lago, which is a really quick left-hander for which they brake extremely late (around 50 metres before the turn). They have to maintain speed and not run wide, which it is easy to do. There are two apexes here. This takes them back onto another brief straight before they begin to ascend again. The tremendous Ferradura (which means ‘Horse Shoe’) and Laranjinha ('Little Orange') is effectively a long double-apex right-hander and getting themselves on the apex is essential to winding the car up the hill effectively. Once they plateau, drivers enter some of the tricky, technical corners, the cambers presenting them with an added challenge. Right-hander Turn 8 doesn’t seem to have a name and goes into the Pinheirinho (Little Pine Tree) left-hander. Bico do Pato (Duck Bill) follows and is a lot like Turn 8, but it’s particularly easy to lock up here on the way in.

Mergulho is a quick left-hander where drivers keep their foot planted but have to be careful to balance the car on the correct line before they dare to brake as late as possible for Junçao, carrying a lot of speed in, but maintaining traction up the hill before taking the Subida dos Boxes and Arquibancadas curves, two left-handers which are basically a case of maintaining speed and possibly lining themselves up for a pass. What a magnificent circuit Interlagos is.

If the track wasn't exciting enough, the weather also loves to throw a spanner in the works, as we have so often seen.

Circuit length: 4.309km
Number of laps: 71
Race distance: 305.090km
Dry weather tyre compounds: C1, C2 & C3
Race lap record: 1:10.540 (2018 - Valtteri Bottas- Mercedes)
First Grand Prix at this circuit: 1972
First World Championship Grand Prix: 1973
First Grand Prix on this layout: 1991



To join in our predictions contest and Fantasy F1 contest, go here: https://tentenths.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=70

Constructors’ championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2019/team.html

Drivers' championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results....9/drivers.html

Brazilian Grand Prix tyre choices:
https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/a...Gz3skzD3i.html
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 13:38 (Ref:3940742)   #2
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Another great intro, thanks. ‘Tricky camber changes, ascents and descents’. Yes!

All I’ve got to do is stay awake long enough to watch the C4 coverage. Or maybe catch up next morning....
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 14:57 (Ref:3940764)   #3
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E.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Peeing down in P1, and a wet forecast for Friday and Saturday with a dry race on Sunday,

Thanks again BR for the intro. Always a good read.
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 16:02 (Ref:3940779)   #4
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Lancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
In FP1, almost no running on anything other than full wets or intermediates, and session red-flagged early after those who tried Softs or Mediums found it "tricky", with Verstappen going off and Albon sticking it into the wall........
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 16:25 (Ref:3940781)   #5
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TrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTrapezeArtist should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
It's been a while since I've read your intros. That is brilliant, BR.
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 17:38 (Ref:3940799)   #6
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Great intro as ever.

Shame the WDC has been decided, as this track one of my favourite tracks. However, I'll still enjoy the race.
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 18:05 (Ref:3940805)   #7
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wolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Thank you BR for your excellent intro.



I see Leclerc has 10 place penalty for a new V6 so we can witness at least one fast car working its way through the mid field on a circuit that is good for overtaking.





https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/14...t-back-of-grid
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 20:53 (Ref:3940838)   #8
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Looking forward to some great racing on a "proper" racetrack.
As always BR..cheers
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Old 15 Nov 2019, 22:19 (Ref:3940850)   #9
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Listened to FP2 on the radio and caught some FP1 highlights on YouTube

Both RBRs find the limits of their slicks the hard way. Seems the STRs threw it off in FP2. Will have to see the Kubica off. And did Bottas really hold up Hamilton?
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Old 16 Nov 2019, 08:02 (Ref:3940884)   #10
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Listened to FP2 on the radio and caught some FP1 highlights on YouTube

Both RBRs find the limits of their slicks the hard way. Seems the STRs threw it off in FP2. Will have to see the Kubica off. And did Bottas really hold up Hamilton?
That was nearly "accident of the year". How LH avoided VB I've no idea, then Vettel had the same from Bottas..
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Old 16 Nov 2019, 13:29 (Ref:3940928)   #11
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That was nearly "accident of the year".
It really was wasn't it. The sort of accident which can kill, even in cars as tough as these. Did we ever hear any explanation for Bottas's dawdling about?
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Old 16 Nov 2019, 16:16 (Ref:3940944)   #12
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Lancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Apparently a few similar incidents in FP3......which ended up with Hamilton fastest ahead of Verstappen, Leclerc, Vettel, Albon and Bottas......top six covered by just under 1 second - but all slower than last year's pole. Hamilton reported a "big loss of power" in the final minute or two and pitted.....



Roll on qualy!
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Old 16 Nov 2019, 21:15 (Ref:3940986)   #13
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Mad Max is on Pole, followed by Vettee and Lulu. The rest of the Top 10 is Bottas, Albon, Gasly, with a surprise appearance by Grosjean in 7th. Kimi is 8th, Magnussen 9th and Norris 10th. Leclerc starts 14th, due to a grid penalty for an engine change.
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Old 16 Nov 2019, 23:46 (Ref:3941009)   #14
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Well done Max, I predict a strong race from him tomorrow’s
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Old 17 Nov 2019, 09:03 (Ref:3941058)   #15
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Great intro BR!

Qualifying was a bit odd, wasn't it? It never looked like the Mercedes or Ferrari drivers had quite enough to outpace Verstappen, which for this season is pretty unusual. Max, for once, seemed to be on rails and demonstrated non of the real ragged-edge stuff he's done in the past (a couple of kerb-strikes notwithstanding).

Felt sorry for Sainz, that was a cruel way to not get a time.

Was a bit puzzled by the end of quali though - why did they not line the 1-2-3 cars up on the grid, was there a support race about to happen?
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