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Old 9 Nov 2018, 16:10 (Ref:3862002)   #1
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Brazilian Grand Prix: 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 2018. 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.

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.

There is so much for us to look forward to. Newly-crowned five-times World Champion Lewis Hamilton arrives in Interlagos having taken his first win here only two years ago. In 2008, he took his first championship 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 complete 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. Lewis had been heading into the race with a decent chance of an astonishing and unique championship in a debut year. However, he ran wide at the end of the Reta Oposta and then hit car trouble.

It nearly wasn't the only win for Kimi. In 2003, Renault’s Fernando Alonso 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 twice 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 finished in 1940. Just like the previous race in Mexico City, the first Grand Prix held at the circuit 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 since Mario Andretti to do so 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 down 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. From my understanding of Portuguese, ‘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 and go out wider than the Senna ‘S’ takes them nowadays. So, the Curva do Sol was a corner which was on the infield of the old circuit and was followed by the Reta Oposta. A look at an old track map shows the wider layout of the former configuration.

Back to 2017 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 (named after oranges) 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.

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.
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Old 9 Nov 2018, 16:12 (Ref:3862003)   #2
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Thanks for an excellent intro as always BR.

Verstappen continuing his recent form by being fastest in FP1
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Old 9 Nov 2018, 18:33 (Ref:3862028)   #3
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yeah great intro!

Ferrari Race poster:



i like it a lot but not as good as lasts years which was one of my all time favs!



not going to post the Renault one but here is a link.

Warning it might cause seizures!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrZgf3gXQAAoofP.jpg:large
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 08:42 (Ref:3862109)   #4
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Leclerc locks up.

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Old 10 Nov 2018, 10:12 (Ref:3862117)   #5
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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
Riccardo and Ocon both with penalties. I wonder will Hulkenberg be added to the list after his off in second practice?
At least they are on a track where passing is possible.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 11:33 (Ref:3862129)   #6
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At least that is some consolation in that you can pass here. Shame for Danny again though. And that was quite an off for the Hulk too
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 11:58 (Ref:3862133)   #7
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Skam85 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSkam85 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSkam85 should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Brazil often brings a good race. An interesting stat I only just stumbled across - Hamilton has never won a race in that season after he has wrapped up the title.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 12:46 (Ref:3862143)   #8
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Excellent intro as ever.

Even though the WDC is done and dusted, the WCC has still to be decided. Interlagos usually produces a good race, so looking forward to watching this.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 12:49 (Ref:3862144)   #9
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Originally Posted by chillibowl View Post
yeah great intro!

not going to post the Renault one but here is a link.

Warning it might cause seizures!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrZgf3gXQAAoofP.jpg:large
That's putting it mildly, I sometimes get migraines, so I'm glad you didn't post it.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 17:11 (Ref:3862170)   #10
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Watching Hartley qualify is as painful as a trip to the dentist...
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 18:03 (Ref:3862177)   #11
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I've caught the end of Qualifying and Brundle and Croft are talking about an incident with the Weighbridge.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 18:03 (Ref:3862178)   #12
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That was nothing, but Hamilton impeded two people in Q2 and might get away with it yet again.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 18:09 (Ref:3862179)   #13
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That was nothing, but Hamilton impeded two people in Q2 and might get away with it yet again.
That’s because he ‘impeded’ them on an out lap....ie the rule doesn’t apply so he won’t be getting away with anything, because there was no rule broken

driving off the weighbridge, damaging it and putting marshals at risk on the other hand is explicitly against the rules
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 18:14 (Ref:3862180)   #14
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That’s because he ‘impeded’ them on an out lap....ie the rule doesn’t apply so he won’t be getting away with anything, because there was no rule broken

driving off the weighbridge, damaging it and putting marshals at risk on the other hand is explicitly against the rules
Not entirely sure about the word "explicitly" there. The section regarding the weighbridge in the sporting regulations doesn't have anything to do with driving off, damaging it or anything else of the sort. You could maybe get him for some sort of dangerous driving penalty, but then that's not explicitly for the weighbridge.

Unless someone can point me to this explicit rule.
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Old 10 Nov 2018, 18:15 (Ref:3862181)   #15
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Originally Posted by ascarracinguk View Post
That’s because he ‘impeded’ them on an out lap....ie the rule doesn’t apply so he won’t be getting away with anything, because there was no rule broken

driving off the weighbridge, damaging it and putting marshals at risk on the other hand is explicitly against the rules
Hamilton did impede as where the incident happened was on the final acceleration to start a flying lap. That has to be taken into consideration.
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