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Old 12 Nov 2021, 10:49 (Ref:4082951)   #1
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Brazilian Grand Prix 2021: Grand Prix Weekend Thread - Round 19 of 22

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 sets the stage for the denouement of the battle of excellence that is Hamilton and Verstappen - both at the top of their game. 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.

São Paulo continues to bring us nail-biting 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.

The history

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton arrives in Interlagos aiming to become the first eight-time world champion in the sport while facing perhaps his toughest challenge - overcoming the Red Bull juggernaut, despite being on his best form. 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 take 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, Sebastian 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.

Our last outing in São Paulo was in 2019 - a race at which Max Verstappen commandingly took victory from Pierre Gasly, delighted to take second, and Carlos Sainz, who was only a retrospective podium finisher, awarded the 3rd place after Lewis Hamilton had been penalised for a clumsy collision he had caused with Alex Albon. The top 3 result was the youngest podium in F1 history.

The track

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 2021 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.

Track map and other information



Circuit length: 4.309km
Number of laps: 71
Race distance: 305.909km
Dry weather tyre compounds: C2, C3 & C4
Race lap record: 1:10.540 (2018 - Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes)

First Grand Prix at this circuit: 1972
First World Championship Brazilian Grand Prix: 1973
First Grand Prix on this layout: 1991

Join the fun in the Predictions Contest and Fantasy F1:

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthre...74#post4082974

https://tentenths.com/forum/showthread.php?t=156053

Last edited by Born Racer; 13 Nov 2021 at 08:31.
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 10:58 (Ref:4082952)   #2
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S griffin has a real shot at the championship!S griffin has a real shot at the championship!S griffin has a real shot at the championship!S griffin has a real shot at the championship!S griffin has a real shot at the championship!S griffin has a real shot at the championship!
So many Brazilian GP memories, it’s hard to pick one. And thanks BR for using the Brazilian GP in the title instead of this silly Sao Paolo GP
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 11:27 (Ref:4082959)   #3
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[Pedant mode on] São Paulo Grand Prix [/Pedant mode off]
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 12:41 (Ref:4082982)   #4
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steve nielsen should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Rumours are Lewis will take a new ICE

also Max has a special helmet for Brazil

https://twitter.com/F1HLM/status/1459021224105975808
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 12:46 (Ref:4082990)   #5
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Here’s a great memory of the Brazilian GP. 30 years since Senna finally managed to win his home GP. All the more poignant because we sadly lost Ayrton’s father Milton da Silva a week or two ago
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 14:27 (Ref:4083018)   #6
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This weekend's GP includes the third sprint race of the season. The other sprint races were at Silverstone and Monza and both Lewis and Max tangled in the actual GP.
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 14:35 (Ref:4083020)   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohnsonsmith View Post
This weekend's GP includes the third sprint race of the season. The other sprint races were at Silverstone and Monza and both Lewis and Max tangled in the actual GP.

Well you know what they say. Once is unfortunate, twice is coincidental, but three times is a conspiracy or something

I’m going to make this prediction based on their two previous collisions
Britain: Max retires, Lewis wins
Italy: Both retire
Brazil Lewis retires, Max wins?
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 14:38 (Ref:4083022)   #8
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Love the track. Memories:

Massa Senior's 15 seconds of jubilation, followed by the worst sinking feeling in the world.



Downpours and a river running across the track at the Senna S, and loads of cars aquaplaning off.



Vettel facing the wrong way on lap 1 of a title decider.



Alonso Sunbathing


Kimi getting lost during a race

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Old 12 Nov 2021, 14:59 (Ref:4083025)   #9
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tux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridtux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridtux should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Sky Sports F1 were showing the 2007 race and it was very enjoyable. Cant remember enjoying it this much at the time.
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 15:13 (Ref:4083031)   #10
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Sky Sports F1 were showing the 2007 race and it was very enjoyable. Cant remember enjoying it this much at the time.

I remember it was a bad weekend for England in sports. Not only did Lewis lose the title, but we lost the Rugby World Cup final and failed to qualify for Euro 2008
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 15:47 (Ref:4083038)   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve nielsen View Post
Rumours are Lewis will take a new ICE

also Max has a special helmet for Brazil

https://twitter.com/F1HLM/status/1459021224105975808
Now confirmed. 5 place grid penalty.
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 16:26 (Ref:4083053)   #12
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It doesn't get any easier for Hamilton, meanwhile Verstappen is answering questions about whether or not he would run the #1 if he wins the title (answer: yes). I'm not superstitious, but is that tempting fate?

Small chance of rain on Saturday apparently, but Sunday probably dry.

It would be nice if the WDC went all the way to the last race of the season, but that would need a momentum swing if it were to happen.
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 17:50 (Ref:4083069)   #13
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wolfhound should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
At least 4 of the teams have had their freight delivery delayed due to fog in Mexico meaning that they could not go through their normal preparations. This comes in the middle of a triple header and all long haul flights involved. It seems all the teams are able to get their preparations done with a revised Thursday timetable but this should be a wake up call for back to back races with long distances involved.


https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/ex...razil/6773917/
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 18:06 (Ref:4083071)   #14
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At least 4 of the teams have had their freight delivery delayed due to fog in Mexico meaning that they could not go through their normal preparations. This comes in the middle of a triple header and all long haul flights involved. It seems all the teams are able to get their preparations done with a revised Thursday timetable but this should be a wake up call for back to back races with long distances involved.


https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/ex...razil/6773917/

Yes, I feel exactly the same. Really shows why the likes of Franz Tost need a reality check
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Old 12 Nov 2021, 18:35 (Ref:4083079)   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfhound View Post
At least 4 of the teams have had their freight delivery delayed due to fog in Mexico meaning that they could not go through their normal preparations. This comes in the middle of a triple header and all long haul flights involved. It seems all the teams are able to get their preparations done with a revised Thursday timetable but this should be a wake up call for back to back races with long distances involved.


https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/ex...razil/6773917/
is the lesson here that there are too many races (because there are) or that the teams bring too much stuff with them?

From the article:

"Everybody got their priority cargo," he said. "I think it's three pallets each. They get to choose whatever they want to put in it. I'm sure most people put their their chassis in it, things they needed immediately.

I would hope the teams brought the essentials and if they did maybe the lesson is that they can live without the rest?

Surely reducing transport has to be part of their enviro targets?
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