Tag Archives: Brazilian GP

The heroes of Interlagos 2012

To put it simply, the Brazilian Grand Prix of 2012 was one of the best races I’ve seen in my life. Aside from 2008, you couldn’t ask for a better conclusion to a fabulously entertaining season.

What make the race even more special was that it wasn’t just the two title contenders driving their hearts out. Throughout the field, we saw some astounding performances, resulting in a race that will be talked about for years to come.

Let’s have a look at the stars of Brazil 2012:

Sebastian Vettel

Couldn’t write this article without him. Punted into a spin at turn 4, his championship battle appeared to be over before it even begun.

What happened next was pure magic. Vettel blitzed through the field at an astounding pace, even with a damaged floor and exhaust. He tore his way up to an incredible 6th place after only 10 or so laps.

A mistake deciding what tyres to go onto, and then a slow pit stop, left him down in 12th as the race entered its final 20 laps. However, he again laid waste to the midfield, tearing back up to 6th to seal the title.

What was even more impressive is how he continued to push his way up the field, even when the championship was effectively decided. A true triple world champion’s performance.

Nico Hulkenberg

This was the true shock of the day. With the rain falling, a smart tyre choice helped Hulkenberg gain 25 seconds over most of the grid.

With this opportunity, he kept Button and Hamilton under massive pressure, and shocked most viewers by putting a pass on the McLaren.

Even more amazing was how he managed to pull away from the fastest cars on the grid. A small error at turn 1 ruined his chances of victory, but the subsequent penalty was too harsh in my opinion. Still, it doesn’t detract from an absolutely enthralling performance.

Felipe Massa

The fast-starting Ferraris laid waste to the Red Bulls at the start, and surprisingly were able to pull away comfortably for most of the race.

Massa’s start was particularly impressive, moving up as high as 2nd before shuffling down the order soon after. After losing a lap to the leaders after a delayed pit stop, the safety car period gave him an opportunity to fight back, and he seized it with both hands. He picked off car after car, and eventually relieved 2nd to Alonso.

His resurgence in form has been extremely impressive, and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him fighting on equal terms with Fernando next season.

Lewis Hamilton

Again, Lewis did everything right, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

After taking his 7th pole of the year, he was all set to dominate the race, but several factors collided to take him out. The first period of rain allowed Jenson Button to briefly take the lead off the sister McLaren. A poor call for intermediate tyres dropped him down the order, but the safety car slashed a 45-second deficit, and gave him another chance to take a final win with his childhood team.

But like so many times this year, it didn’t happen. A mistake by Nico Hulkenberg took Hamilton out on the spot, and ruined what could have been a beautiful end to the McLaren-Hamilton relationship.

Kimi Raikkonen

All set to finish every single lap of the 2012 season – an incredible record – Raikkonen decided to entertain the fans watching at home instead. A true heroic performance!

Button wins, Vettel triumphs in Interlagos epic

The Brazilian Grand Prix has played host to many incredible races over the years, and 2012 was no exception. After a crazy race that saw several downpours, three different race leaders, and a shocking first-lap crash, Sebastian Vettel presevered to finish 6th, and seal his third world championship in a row.

Incredibly, Nico Hulkenberg led a sizeable portion of the race, but accidentaly crashed into Lewis Hamilton, ruining either’s chances of taking a final win for their team. Jenson Button held on in the closing stages in tricky conditions, and led home Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

This was a race that will be talked about for years to come. Here is the breakdown:

Disaster for Vettel?

It was a taste of Brazil 2007 at the start – the championship leader slipped down at the start, while the challenger pushed through. Vettel found himself down in 5th, but worse was to come at turn 4. A fiesty Bruno Senna clumsily dived down the inside of the Red Bull, and clattered into the side of his car. Sebastian was spun around, while Bruno’s race was ended on the spot.

The clash left Vettel 24th, and seemingly in huge trouble for his championship aspirations. Meanwhile, Alonso was 4th, and his teammate was up in 2nd. Being pressurised by Mark Webber on lap 2, Fernando pulled an epic move, taking both positions at turn 1.

Despite his advantage, though, he made a slip on lap 5, sliding wide at the Senna S and just about holding off Webber. Unbeknownst to the cameras, Vettel was preparing an epic comeback…

Rain-filled chaos, part 1

Nico Hulkenberg made a decent start, and was able to pass Mark Webber soon after the start. After another slip from the Ferrari on lap 6, the Force India was able to inherit 3rd.

Just when it appeared as if the frontrunners were beginning to settle in, the rain threw a spanner in the works. Light rain began to fall on lap 7, and the drivers began to struggle. Webber spun, while Jenson Button began to pressurise teammate Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race.

After Romain Grosjean spun out of the race, it became clear that the track was too damp for dry tyres. Lap 11 saw the majority of the field pit, while Button and Hulkenberg made the brave decision to stay out.

The focus then shifted back onto Vettel, who had astonishingly made his way all the way up to 6th before the stops. He easily passed Webber with little resistance, and within several laps he had fought his way back into a points position.

A surprise leader

Up front, the Force India of Hulkenberg would not let go of Button’s McLaren, and amazingly jumped past Jenson on lap 19.

In the next few weeks, the intermediate-shod drivers slinked back into the pits, admitting they made the wrong call regarding the weather. Further back, shards of carbon fibre found their way onto the racing line, causing a puncture for Nico Rosberg.

Alonso went onto his radio to complain of the dangerous track, and the safety car was promptly called out to clear the debris.

Hulkenberg and Button promptly received their free pit stop, while the order settled down. Nico still led, ahead of Button, Hamilton, Alonso, and then Vettel, who had dispatched of yet another train of drivers.

Rain-filled chaos, part 2

At the restart, Hulkenberg impressively pulled away, while Button made a move on Hamilton for 2nd place.

Kamui Kobayashi raised plenty of eyebrows, as he battled for a drive next season. The Japanese driver bolted past both Vettel and Alonso for 4th position, before succumbing to the Ferrari a few laps later.

Felipe Massa helped Alonso’s chances, but passing Sebastian for P6. The damage to the Red Bull after lap 1 was noticeable, but didn’t result in a chronic lack of pace.

In his final race, Michael Schumacher had his hands full defending 11th place against Kimi Raikkonen. After nearly being collected by Paul di Resta, the Lotus driver squeezed past the Mercedes, closely followed by the second Force India.

However, the rain was back again. By lap 42, consistent drizzle had dampened the track again, and the times began to slip away again.

Battles at the front and back

At the front, Hamilton began to close on the slowing Hulkenberg. In the slippery conditions, the Force India driver had lost his confidence, and on lap 49 put a wheel onto the white line, spinning and handing the lead to Lewis.

At the back, a battle was forming to decide which team would take 10th place in the constructor’s championship. A single 12th place would suffice, and it was being fought between Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov and Marussia’s Charles Pic.

Petrov held 12th for as long as he could, but spun entering the middle sector, and handed the place back to Pic on lap 47.

Despite the darkening clouds, Vettel opted to take on another set of slicks on lap 52. His actions were mirrored by Daniel Ricciardo, while Nico Rosberg took on the intermediates.

Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, slipped wide at turn 12, took the escape road, only to discover that it didn’t lead back to the track as planned. Cue a hasty retreat:

 

Rain-filled chaos, part 3

Hulkenberg attempted to retake the lead on lap 55, but disaster ensued. He lost control entering turn 1, clipped the McLaren, and spun around. Lewis’s race was over, and a drive-through penalty for Hulkenberg ruined his heroic drive.

The worsening conditions made it clear – Vettel had made the wrong call. He dashed back to the pits for inters, but had lost crucial track position. He emerged from the pits in 12th place with it all to do again.

There was no debate amongst the frontrunners this time – all of them immediately pitted by lap 56. After Hulkenberg’s penalty, Alonso was elevated to 3rd, but Vettel was able to claw his way back to 7th.

Button now held an enormous lead over Felipe Massa, who was being caught sharply by Alonso. Within a few laps, a 5-second lead was annihilated, as Massa understood the situation, and allowed his fellow teammate past.

Meanwhile, Vettel wasn’t satisfied with his situation, catching and easing past Michael Schumacher, who similarly posed no threat to the Red Bull.

A tense battle for 12th continued, with Petrov zipping past Pic as the two were being lapped by Alonso.

Despite his searing pace, and attempts to close a 20-second gap to Button, Alonso surely had a sinking feeling in his stomach. With Vettel 6th, the title was out of his grasp.

Premature end to a classic race

Kamui Kobayashi made another attempt to make an impact on the race, doing his best to pass Schumacher for 7th. But, a spin only proved to dampen his sprited charge.

With the race entering the penultimate lap, any hopes for a Brazil 2008-style finish were dashed, as a crash for Paul di Resta brought out the safety car.

After weaving through the debris, Button crawled home to take a triumphant win, while Sebastian Vettel sealed the championship with 6th place. Fernando Alonso was visibly gutted, having lost out on his third title for the 3rd time in the final race of a season.

Di Resta’s sudden retirement meant that Petrov was elevated to 11th, which sealed Caterham’s 10th place in the constructor’s championship. Oddly enough, this works out better for Charles Pic, whose new team next year will enjoy extra FIA funding because of this result.

But the man of the day – and year – was Vettel. Having taken everything that Interlagos could throw at him, he charged through the field countless times to become the youngest ever triple world champion.

And so ends another classic season. In a dog of a car, Fernando Alonso did himself and Ferrari proud, but the best driver/car combination was clearly Vettel, who returned triumphant after a disappointing start to the season. Today’s classic race will cement Vettel’s reputation as one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1 history.

How Alonso or Vettel can win the title this weekend

The 2012 Formula 1 season enters the final round with the title still up for grabs – the 29th time in the sport’s history.

Sebastian Vettel holds a 13-point lead over Fernando Alonso, but an epic title battle from 2010 in Abu Dhabi proved that those leads can be very easily wiped out in a single race. That time, Alonso lost a 15-point gap in the final race, and squandered the championship.

With that in mind, the title is certainly still up for grabs. Let’s have a look at how each driver can win the championship this weekend:

Vettel

It’s a lot easier for Vettel. The easiest way for him to wrap up his third consecutive title on the trot is to finish in the top 4. Even after that, there’s not too many complications:

  • If Alonso only takes 2nd place, Vettel only needs 5th, 6th or 7th.
  • If Alonso takes 3rd place, Vettel needs simple an 8th or 9th-placed finish.
  • If Alonso does not achieve a podium, Vettel only needs to take a single point – assuming that the Ferrari takes 4th instead. Any other situation, and the Red Bull automatically wins.

Alonso

A 13-point gap is sizeable, but not indestructible. After struggling massively all year in a dog of a car, Fernando knows that he will have to jump at the slightest opportunity if he is to claw the 2012 title back into his hands.

However, the odds are against him:

  • If Alonso wins, Vettel would have to finish 5th or lower.
  • If he takes 2nd place, Vettel would have to finish 8th or lower.
  • If he finishes on the podium, Vettel would have to score just a single point (or less) to lose the title.

Flashback to 2010

Over 2 years ago, I wrote a similar article on the 2010 title battle. There, I said that Vettel winning the title was improbable, but certainly within reach.

The maths behind this article are certainly much less complicated, but that doesn’t make this title battle any less interesting!

Variables on track

Remember, this is the Brazilian Grand Prix we’re talking about. The Interlagos track is extremely unpredictable, and occasionally throws up some insane races. See 2003 and 2008 for more information.

  • Rain is always a factor here – there is  a 60% chance of rain on race day. This may push the race in Alonso’s favour, as typically Vettel has not driven well in the wet here before.
  • First-lap incidents – The paving over of turns 1 and 2 has not gone down well with fans or drivers, but the treacherous Senna S sequence may still catch one of the frontrunners out. One of the title contenders being taken out here would end the championship showdown before it even began.
  • Red Bull’s alternator – Several incidents so far this year with the Red Bull alternator could turn the championship on its head. The team are opting to bring a newer-spec model to this Grand Prix, and it is unclear how much testing this model has seen.
  • Felipe Massa – A recent surge in form has resulted in Massa’s contract with Ferrari being extended, and Felipe may be keen to stay on friendly terms with the team by assisting Fernando. Massa typically drives very well at this track, so it mightn’t be out of the question to see him surrender the lead to his teammate.

As to what will actually happen… we’ll have to wait until Sunday for that!

Ecclestone approves revamp of Interlagos circuit

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Interlagos circuit pales in comparison to modern track facilities

The Brazilian Grand Prix’s future looks to be more secure, as FOM ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approved plans to revitalise the ailing racetrack.

The Autódromo José Carlos Pace is by far the most out-dated track on the F1 calendar, with a cramped pit lane, narrow track sections and crumbling grandstands compared to modern F1 standards.

Previous aging circuits such as Imola were booted off the F1 calendar for being too out of date, with no prospect of improvements. The Silverstone circuit was the most recent example, and only survived by agreeing to improve facilities into the future.

The Interlagos circuit has been cracking under the pressure of old age for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before it came under scrutiny. Thankfully, the circuit organisers have submitted plans for revised track facilities, including a brand new pit lane.

It is understood that the new pit lane will be located on the Reta Oposta straight, after the Senna “S” and Curva do Sol.

This was first reported by the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, who claimed that Ecclestone agreed with the new plans. Previously, Bernie has been quoted as saying:

"Brazil will have the next World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. It makes sense. I have 
long believed in Brazil — we've been there since 1972.

The future of Formula One Brazil depends now on major improvements at Interlagos. 
These events [World Cup, Olympics] are a great opportunity to look at the circuit, 
as well.

I can no longer be questioned by the teams about why we are racing at the worst 
circuit in the championship."

 

Brazilian Grand Prix stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel took several more records during the final race of the 2011 F1 season. Here are the stats from this weekend:

  • Vettel’s 15th pole position breaks the record of most poles in a season, previously set by Nigel Mansell in 1992 (14 poles out of 16).
  • Red Bull took their 26th victory, 1 less than the Benneton team. Their 38th pole position is one less than Brabham.
  • With 18 poles out of 19, Red Bull have smashed the record for most pole positions in a year for a constructor – a 94.7% success rate.
  • Red Bull also have scored the highest amount of points in a season ever, with 650 points.
  • Rubens Barrichello took his 326th – and possibly last – Grand Prix entry. Jenson Button equalled Gerhard Berger’s amount of race entries with 210.
  • Nico Rosberg continues to extend his lead in the “Most points without a win” record, with 300.5.
  • Sebastian Vettel took his 30th pole position, 37% of his total race entries.
  • Vettel’s 17th podium finish this year puts him level with Michael Schumacher’s record from 2002 – when he was on the podium at every single race.
  • Force India have equalled their best ever result with 6th and 8th places.
  • An interesting fact from Pirelli – 1111 pit stops were made this year!
  • Felipe Massa’s disappointing season was reflected by the Brazilian equalling his best finish of the year – 5th. It is the first time since 1981 (Didier Pironi) that a Ferrari driver has not been on the podium once in a season.
  • Despite this, Massa made his 100th race start for the Scuderia this weekend.
  • Being transformed into Marussia for next year, Virgin have extended the record of “Most starts without a point” to 38.
  • Mark Webber took his 7th career victory, as many as Juan Pablo Montoya and Rene Arnoux. His 13th fastest lap – set on the final lap in Vettel style – is as many as Ricardo Patrese, Jacky Ickx and Alan Jones. Despite his poor season, he has set the most fastest laps this season – 7.

Webber ends season on a high in Brazil

The second Red Bull streaks away from the rest of the field at the start

The second Red Bull streaks away from the rest of the field at the start

Mark Webber took his sole victory of the season in Interlagos today. He finished well ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who nursed a gearbox issue throughout the entire race. Jenson Button was 3rd, after 2 spirited battles with Fernando Alonso. Here is what happened:

At the start, Fernando Alonso got past Lewis Hamilton for 4th, while Felipe Massa moved into 6th. Jaime Alguersuari fell down the field, while Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov leaped up.

Kovalainen’s charge soon faded, being passed by Barrichello and Perez, while Alonso and Hamilton challenged Jenson Button for 3rd. However, the DRS zone from Turns 3 to 4 proved to be too short for the Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher tried a move around the outside of Bruno Senna. but clashed with the Renault entering the corner, slightly damaging Senna’s front wing and leaving Michael with a puncture, dropping him to the back of the field.

Senna clashes with Schumacher - the last time this happened, Rubens Barrichello was making his F1 debut!

Senna clashes with Schumacher - the last time this happened, Rubens Barrichello was making his F1 debut!

Alonso moved closer to Button with DRS, then made a fantastic move around the outside of Ferradura to take 3rd. This left the two McLarens to battle it out for 4th. Senna pitted on Lap 13, but didn’t change his front wing, indicating a 3-stop strategy.

Sebastian Vettel was instructed on his radio to short-shift on 2nd gear, and that he had a gearbox issue. Jenson Button was the first frontrunner to stop on Lap 16, while Alonso and Webber began to close on Vettel.

Alonso and Hamilton stopped a lap later, while Sebastian was told to short-shift in 3rd gear as well. He pitted on Lap 18, followed a lap afterwards by Mark Webber.

The collision between Schumacher and Senna was ruled in Michael’s favour, with Bruno suffering a drive-through penalty. Webber’s in-lap before his first stop was unusually slow, costing him 3 seconds in the battle with Vettel and Alonso.

A dislodged wheel cost Timo Glock his race, while Vettel was again told that his gearbox issue was “serious”. Bruno Senna’s race went from bad to worse, as a double shift cost him 16th place.

The Red Bull gearbox issue got even worse, as it became clear that Vettel had to short-shift every single gear. A spin and by Pastor Maldonado ended his race, while Mark Webber closed on his teammate. A dejected Vettel swiftly allowed Webber past, as the Aussie took the lead.

Both Renaults stopped on Lap 30 and 31, and Button followed suit, taking on the harder tyre. Hamilton took on softs 2 laps later, followed closely by Alonso. However, both Senna and Hamilton had their races compromised, as they were informed that they also had gearbox issues.

Hamilton's turbulent season ends disappointingly

Hamilton's turbulent season ends disappointingly

On the medium tyre, Button sailed past Felipe Massa for 4th. Within a few laps, the second McLaren had also closed right up behind Felipe. However, the Ferrari was less generous to Lewis, and he pitted on Lap 45 to avoid losing too much time.

Massa pitted a lap later, and emerged just ahead of the McLaren. Unfortunately, round 6 of their season-long fight never materialised, as Hamilton pulled over with a critical gearbox failure.

Adrian Sutil passed Nico Rosberg on the main straight, before the Mercedes sliced back under to retake the position, in a daring move. It didn’t last long though, as Adrian re-passed Rosberg the following lap.

Despite rumours that Button could make it to the end on his set of medium tyres, he was forced to pit for another set with 18 laps to go. Alonso took on the primes several laps later.

The two Red Bulls stopped within 11 and 12 laps of the end of the race. With the pit stops out of the way, the focus switched to the battle for 3rd between Alonso and Button. Going side by side into the first corner, Jenson shoved his way past the Ferrari with help from DRS and KERS.

Despite another poor race, Massa treats his fans to a few burnouts

Despite another poor race, Massa treats his fans to a few burnouts

Button soon set personal bests in every sector, in an attempt to catch the flailing Vettel, who made quite a large mistake at Turn 4. However, it wasn’t enough, and the McLaren settled for 3rd in the end.

This left Webber to set the fastest lap en route to winning his first race in the last 26 attempts. Vettel was 16 seconds behind, while Button abandoned his chase for 2nd. Alonso finished ahead of his teammate by nearly half a minute, and Adrian Sutil finished an excellent 6th. Nico Rosberg headed Paul di Resta, with Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov topping off the top 10.

The Red Bulls celebrate a job well done

The Red Bulls celebrate a job well done

Button’s move on Alonso ensured that Webber moved into 3rd in the driver’s championship by a single point. It was a relieving race for Webber after a difficult season, and he will head into the winter knowing that he might be able to challenge Vettel next year.

And so today marks the end of another season of F1. I loved the racing this year, but it was just a pity about the battle for the championship – or lack of. Regardless, we have seen excellent drives all year round, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to next year.

Vettel crushes rivals with 15th pole of the year in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel set yet another record today in Interlagos – 15 pole positions in a single season. The German was blisteringly fast in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix – and could have gone faster.

A late lap by Mark Webber ensured a Red Bull front row lockout, while Jenson Button was 3rd. Here is what happened:

Q1

The threat of rain nearby sent most cars out on track early for Q1. Lewis Hamilton set a 1:13.8 on the prime tyres, 2 tenths faster than his teammate. All 24 cars were out within 5 minutes, with Vettel soon taking the lead at the top.

Mark Webber went fastest, and was soon beaten by Jenson Button, with a 1:13.2. Adrian Sutil’s first attempt put him in 6th place, with Felipe Massa only 8th.

An impressive lap put Jaime Alguersuari 7th, while several cars made the switch to the soft tyres. Pastor Maldonado moved out of the drop zone, taking 14th, with local hero Rubens Barrichello moving into 9th.

The Force Indias took 3rd and 5th on the options, while Felipe Massa again felt the need to take on the soft compound.

Maldonado slipped back into 18th, and couldn’t improve on his previous time. Heikki Kovalainen’s final run put him ahead of Jarno Trulli for the 16th time this year.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Pastor Maldonado – 1:14.625

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:15.068

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:15.358

21) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:16.631

22) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:16.890

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:17.019

24) Timo Glock – 1:17.060

Q2

The pit lane was again crowded, as the rain clouds loomed near the circuit. The Force Indias set 1:13 times, while Vettel sett eh standard with a 1:12.446. Nico Rosberg was a tenth off the Red Bull, with Mark Webber half a second behind.

All cars pitted after several laps, with further qualifying attempts only restarting in the last 5 minutes.

Jaime Alguersuari went 12th, while Felipe Massa was forced to use another new set of soft tyres in order to progress to Q3. The rain clouds cleared, leaving the midfield to battle for top 10 positions.

Michael Schumacher just moved into 10th place, with Paul di Resta 11th. Despite Massa ruining his final lap, he was safe in 8th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Paul di Resta – 1:13.584

12) Rubens Barrichello – 1:13.801

13) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:13.804

14) Sebastien Buemi – 1:13.919

15) Vitaly Petrov – 1:14.053

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:14.129

17) Sergio Perez – 1:14.182

Q3

While the thunder storms died away, Nico Rosberg was the only car to leave the pits at the start of Q1. After a warm-up lap for the tyres, Nico set a 1:13.159.

Lewis Hamilton followed the same tactic on the first lap, but was soundly beaten by Sebastian Vettel – setting a 1:12.268. None of his rivals could even get close to that on their first runs.

In the period between the frontrunners’ first and second runs, Adrian Sutil moved into 7th place.

Vettel was first out for the final attempts, smashing the 1:11 barrier, and beating his previous time by 0.35 seconds. Fernando Alonso was half a second off the Red Bull, and Jenson Button went 2nd, before being beaten by Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton’s final lap only gave him 4th position.

Nico Rosberg beat Felipe Massa for 6th, with Sutil, Senna and Schumacher filling up the top 10.

Hamilton fastest in Interlagos Friday practice

Hamilton pipped Vettel in second practice

Hamilton pipped Vettel in second practice

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel was 2nd, followed by Mark Webber, who had earlier led first practice. The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso pulled over near the end of FP1 with an engine issue, and was 6th and 4th across the afternoon.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Jan Charouz and Luiz Razia all drove in first practice for Toro Rosso, HRT and Lotus respectively, all finishing near the back of the field. Romain Grosjean pulled over with a technical issue while driving Vitaly Petrov’s Renault.

Friday Practice 1

 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:13.811   	      26
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:13.825   0.014   25
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:13.961   0.150   20
 4.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:14.025   0.214   28
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:14.507   0.696   34
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:14.541   0.730   26
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:15.162   1.351   28
 8.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    1:15.178   1.367   28
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:15.241   1.430   31
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:15.321   1.510   29
11.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:15.468   1.657   29
12.  Romain Grosjean       Renault                 1:15.547   1.736   18
13.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:15.663   1.852   27
14.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 1:15.732   1.921   32
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:15.747   1.936   31
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:15.836   2.025   27
17.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:15.979   2.168   35
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:16.052   2.241   33
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1:16.514   2.703   33
20.  Luiz Razia            Lotus-Renault           1:17.595   3.784   31
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:18.140   4.329   29
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1:18.653   4.842   29
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:18.952   5.141   33
24.  Jan Charouz           HRT-Cosworth            1:19.577   5.766   37

Friday Practice 2

 1.  Lewis Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:13.392               35
 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault       1:13.559   0.167	41
 3.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault       1:13.587   0.195	41
 4.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                1:13.598   0.206	35
 5.  Michael Schumacher   Mercedes               1:13.723   0.331	38
 6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                1:13.750   0.358	39
 7.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes       1:13.787   0.395	36
 8.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes               1:13.872   0.480	42
 9.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1:14.144   0.752	41
10.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes   1:14.807   1.415	48
11.  Vitaly Petrov        Renault                1:14.856   1.464	38
12.  Bruno Senna          Renault                1:14.931   1.539	37
13.  Sergio Perez         Sauber-Ferrari         1:14.970   1.578	32
14.  Kamui Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:15.019   1.627	45
15.  Sebastien Buemi      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:15.264   1.872	44
16.  Jaime Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:15.388   1.996	41
17.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth      1:15.679   2.287	43
18.  Rubens Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth      1:15.903   2.511	40
19.  Jarno Trulli         Lotus-Renault          1:16.298   2.906	36
20.  Heikki Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault          1:16.338   2.946	48
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth        1:18.031   4.639	39
22.  Timo Glock           Virgin-Cosworth        1:18.051   4.659	45
23.  Daniel Ricciardo     HRT-Cosworth           1:18.367   4.975	42
24.  Tonio Liuzzi         HRT-Cosworth           1:18.476   5.084	42

Brazilian GP stats and facts

The 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix saw the newest addition to the pole position club, as well as a return to form for Williams. Here are the stats and facts from Interlagos:

Red Bull are the first constructor outside of Italy, France or Britain to take the constructor's title

Red Bull are the first constructor outside of Italy, France or Britain to take the constructor's title

  • First things first, Nico Hulkenberg became Formula 1′s 94th driver to take pole position (103rd if you include the Indy 500). He is also the 6th youngest person to do so.
  • Red Bull took their first ever constructor’s championship, and they are the first team outside of the Big Three (Italy, France, Britain) to do this. It was also their 14th win.
  • Sebastian Vettel took his 9th career victory, as many as Jenson Button. It was the 21st time he has started from the front row in 61 race starts, a 34.42% rate.
  • Williams took their first pole position since Nick Heidfeld back in 2005, although it was still their 126th.
  • Lewis Hamilton got the fastest lap, and with 6 he has as many as title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
  • The last time a Cosworth engine took pole was with Rubens Barrichello at France in 1999. Not since the 1983 Brazilian GP though has a Williams – Cosworth taken pole.
  • This may not seem like an odd achievement, but it is the first time since 1963 that the constructor’s title has been won by two different teams 2 years in a row.
  • Red Bull now have 8 1-2 finishes, as many as Tyrrell, Lotus, and Brabham.
  • Once again, the leader of the driver’s championship failed to win the race, continuing the record from the 2009 Turkish GP.
  • The all-time record for most classified finishes in one race was levelled yesterday, as 22 cars were classified. This equals the record from the the 1952 British Grand Prix (though drivers didn’t need to get within 90% of race distance to be classified back then. If the 90% rule was to be implemented into that race, then the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix would be a record breaker in that respect.)
  • This is the first time in Formula 1 history that 4 drivers have entered the final race with a chance of becoming champion.
  • The front row of the grid was the youngest ever, with an average age of 23 years and 104 days.
  • The last 2 Brazilian Grands Prix have seen the polesitter fall to 8th in the race.

If you have spotted any others, let me know in the comments.

Vettel wins, while Red Bull seal constructors title in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel took the win in today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, heading team-mate Mark Webber. Their 1-2 finish ensured that Red Bull now take the constructor’s championship with one race to go. Fernando Alonso was 3rd for Ferrari, and retains his lead of the driver’s championship.

At the start, pole sitter Nico Hulkenberg was swamped by the Red Bulls, Vettel out-braking him into Turn 1, and Webber catching him out at Turn 3. On the second lap, Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at Decida de Lago, allowing Fernando Alonso into 4th.

For the next few laps, the Red Bulls shot away, while Hulkenberg held up Alonso for the moment, the young German holding off the double world champion’s attacks. By Lap 7, a switchback at Decida de Lago ensured Alonso was up to 3rd.

However, Lewis Hamilton was unable to make the same move quickly enough, getting held up behind the Williams for far too long. He then began to complain of low grip on his car. His team-mate Button, up to 9th, was the first to make the call to change to the hard tyres on Lap 11, and instantly set the fastest middle sector on the next lap.

This prompted a charge for the pits, and on Lap 14, Hulkenberg, Massa and Kubica made the change, which released Hamilton. Felipe Massa suffered a disaster in the pits, with a wheel nut problem forcing him to pit again one lap later.

Lewis finally pitted on Lap 20, and emerged just ahead of Button, who had made good progress having stopped 9 laps earlier. Meanwhile, Rosberg and Kobayashi were 4th and 5th, but yet to stop. Nico Hulkenberg lost out badly through the stops, falling down to 10th.

The top 3 were still yet to pit, and Alonso, being 10 seconds behind the duo of Vettel and Webber, was the first to stop. Vettel, and then Webber, stopped one lap after each other, and retained their positions. Further back, Jenson Button made a dive down the inside of Kamui Kobayashi at Turn 1.

On Lap 36, the Brazilian jinx returned for Rubens Barrichello, suffering a puncture while battling for position with Jaime Alguersuari. A few laps later, Nico Rosberg was the next to make a move on Kobayashi, as the Sauber seemed to be struggling badly for pace.

There was a huge train of cars battling for points, which would soon come into play for the frontrunners. Mark Webber began to close on Sebastian Vettel, but was swiftly frustrated by being held up by several backmarkers, like Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi. After losing several seconds, and then regaining them, over the next few laps, the battle at the top was altered again on Lap 52, when the safety car was deployed.

Vitantonio Liuzzi made a mistake at Turn 2 and hit the barriers. This meant that the field was now bunched up, but there were two backmarkers between Vettel and Webber, keeping Sebastian safe at the restart. Both McLarens pitted at the safety car period, as both cars were struggling with the hard tyres.

The safety car pitted on Lap 55, and Kobayashi and Buemi got stuck into the battle for 11th, with Kamui coming off better. Felipe Massa tried to pass Buemi a few laps later, but they make contact, and Massa ran wide, losing several positions in the process.

Apart from Nick Heidfeld suffering a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, not much happened in the final few laps, so Sebastian Vettel took a well-deserved win at Interlagos, leading Webber by 4 seconds. This ensured that Red Bull now have an unbeatable 48-point lead in the constructors’ championship.

While there were rumours during the race of Vettel handing the lead to Webber, this was swiftly ignored as Sebastian drove fantastically well today, and is still in contention for the title next weekend at Abu Dhabi. Alonso is 8 points ahead of Webber, who is 7 ahead of Vettel. Hamilton is 24 points behind Alonso, just within contention, while Jenson Button is now out. The full standings are available here.

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