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Preview | Verstappen can smell the World Championship if he wins in Brazil
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Preview | Verstappen can smell the World Championship if he wins in Brazil

10-11-2021 09:09
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GPblog.com

The Brazilian Grand Prix is the second race in the Triple Header Mexico-Brazil-Qatar. Max Verstappen won the first race and also seems to be the favourite prior to the second race. Can Lewis Hamilton turn the tide or will Verstappen and Red Bull Racing take a big step towards the world title? Read all about the upcoming Grand Prix in this preview.

Brazilian Grand Prix

The Brazilian Grand Prix has been on the Formula 1 calendar since 1973. In 1972 a first race was organised at the Interlagos circuit but this was not yet part of the official calendar. After the success in '72 it was made official in 1973, with a big party as a result. The home hero, Emerson Fittipaldi, won the race.

Fittipaldi did it again in 1974 and in 1975 a Brazilian won again. This time it was Carlos Bace for Brabham. In 1978 the Brazilian GP made a trip to the Jacarepaguá circuit, but returned to Interlagos in 1979. In Brazil they wanted to bring the race back to Jacarepaguá.

After two years Interlagos, F1 returned to the circuit in Rio de Janeiro. The Interlagos circuit had fallen into disrepair and the rise of Nelson Piquet called for a race in his hometown. This proved to be a success, as Piquet would win the GP in his own backyard in 1983 and 1986. In 1990, F1 returned to Interlagos and this circuit has been used exclusively ever since.

Although four Brazilians won twice in their own country (Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Felipe Massa) and Bace also won once, the most successful driver in Brazil is perhaps the most hated man in the country: Alain Prost. The Frenchman won the race in the country of his biggest rivals no less than six times.

Prost fought extraordinary battles with Piquet, but mainly with Senna. This rivalry was heavily charged and caused a lot of tension. That Prost managed to win under that pressure in the lion's den can therefore be considered extra special. Carlos Reutemann and Michael Schumacher each won four times here, with Sebastian Vettel right behind them. With three victories he is the driver on the current grid with the most victories to his name.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was held continuously from 1973 to 2019, but missed out in 2020 due to the coronavirus. In 2021 the race is back on the calendar and despite rumours about a race in Rio de Janeiro, the race will be held at the Interlagos circuit. However, the race is officially called the Grand Prix of Sao Paulo.

Interlagos

At the Interlagos circuit Schumacher has been the most successful driver. The German won four times and Vettel did three times. Fittipaldi, Senna and Massa won their two races here, but Prost only managed to win once at Interlagos. Ferrari is the most successful team with nine wins, although McLaren follows close behind with eight wins.

The Interlagos circuit is not as high as the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, but at 786 metres (2,961 feet) the air in Sao Paulo is thin. On the circuit you need a lot of power for the long straights, but a powerful engine alone won't get you there. The Senna 'S' and especially sector two with Laranjinha, Pinheirinho and Bico de Pato asks a lot from the car and the driver.

Formula 1 in 2021

The 2021 Formula 1 season is nearing its conclusion and it is still not clear who will become World Champion. Red Bull Racing has launched a real attack on Mercedes for the first time and is therefore able to keep it exciting until the final races. With four races to go Verstappen is 19 points ahead in the drivers' championship and Red Bull is one point short of Mercedes in the constructors' championship.

In Brazil there are also extra points to be scored this weekend, as the Brazilian GP will be the third and final time this season that the new race weekend format of sprint qualifying will be used. This means that three, two and one points can be earned on Saturday, while qualifying is done after one practice session on Friday. So it all has to be right for all the teams.

Weather report

According to Weather.com it will start raining from Wednesday night in Sao Paulo and this will probably stop on Saturday. On Thursday there is the highest chance of rain with 63%, but also on Friday the chance is more than 30%. With a qualifying session on Friday, this might lead to some surprises.

Saturday is expected to be slightly clear and cloudy with a 17 percent chance of rain. It remains below 20 degrees though, leaving teams with a wet track and cold asphalt to find grip. On Sunday it clears up with sunshine, 25 degrees and only a ten percent chance of rain.

Prediction for the Brazilian GP

It is clear that nothing is certain in 2021. Hamilton was the big favourite for the American Grand Prix, but it was Verstappen who won the race. In Mexico it was reversed with a 1-2 for Mercedes after qualifying on a Red Bull track. However, in the race Red Bull managed to turn that around and still win the race.

In Brazil, Red Bull have already been very strong in 2018 and 2019 and Verstappen should have won both races, but only did so in 2019 after he came into contact with straggler Esteban Ocon at the lead of the race in 2018. In those years Red Bull did not have a competitive car for the world title, but that is the case now.

As in Mexico, altitude plays an important role for Red Bull and technical sector two is also perfect for the RB16B. However, there will be a lot of power on the straights and in the rain you never know what you can predict. Every weekend with a sprint race has ended with a crash between Hamilton and Verstappen, so nothing is certain this year.

However, with power circuits such as Abu Dhabi and Qatar still to come, Red Bull will need to make a move here. Verstappen has a good margin over Hamilton, but in the last three races the tide could turn. If Verstappen wins here, then second place in the last three races will be enough for him. That is a luxury position to be in at this stage of the championship.

Schedule for the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

Friday

First free practice: 15:30-16:30

Qualifying: 19:00-20:00

Saturday

Second free practice: 15:00-16:00

Sprint qualifying: 19:30-20:00

Sunday

Race: 17:00-19:00

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