Brazil! A classic track full of history and drama. As the penultimate race of the season before the season finale in Abu Dhabi, whatever the result, the drivers’ championship will not be decided between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at this race – it will go down to the wire at the double-points last race. As with every Grand Prix this year, you can enter our FVL F1 Podium Winners Competition to win £50 of vouchers if you correctly guess the podium. Click here to enter by adding your prediction – full terms and conditions here.
New track surface a challenge
The first challenge for the drivers was lack of grip as the Sao Paolo track has been resurfaced this year. Most drivers struggled with understeer initially in First Practice, but the situation improved as the track ‘rubbered in’ and laptimes dropped as a result of more grip. The track layout remains the same, with the exception of a chicane leading into the pit lane to slow down cars, and allowing the pit wall to be moved further away from the track, and a low kerb on Turn 15 to stop cars cutting the corner. There’s also a slightly realigned pit exit allowing a run-off area at Turn 2. The choice of tyres from Pirelli is between soft and medium, although this choice may be academic, as a wet qualifying and race is forecast with thunderstorms threatening over the weekend. The star performer of the day was the precociously talented Max Verstappen, delivering the sixth-fastest time of the day in his first ever F1 Practice Session for the Toro Rosso team. He was using Jean-Eric Vergne’s car – and his team-mate Daniil Kvyat also impressed with 3rd-fastest behind the almost inevitably fastest Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton. As at the last Grand Prix in Texas, the fiscal woes at Marussia and Caterham mean there are only 18 cars competing in this race – and today came the sad news that Marussia have officially ceased trading, making all of its staff redundant.
Practice 2 Summary
There were no major surprises in terms of performance in P2, but Fernando Alonso suffered what appeared to be a serious engine or turbo failure, his Ferrari issuing ominous blue smoke with about 22 minutes of track time remaining, causing a spectacular but short-lived fire which he dutifully extinguished himself.
The session was red-flagged to allow recovery of the Ferrari, and only a further 15 minutes of running took place, promptly interrupted for a further 5 minutes or so when the Sauber of Gutierrez ground to a halt near the pit entrance after he’d suffered repeated issues with his energy harvesting unit.
Alonso’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen provided some entertainment for the crowd and consternation for his mechanics with a few off-road cross-country excursions after twice putting a wheel on the grass in roughly the same location, but still managing to place third behind the Mercedes cars.
As for Mercedes, Rosberg had the edge in both practice sessions, just ahead of Hamilton. A wet qualifying seems likely, but whether there will be a wet race day remains to be seen.
Qualifying tomorrow will see 4 cars, and then a further 4 cars eliminated in Q1 and Q3, with the normal 10 runners battling it out for pole in Q3. Enter our free FVL F1 Podium Winners Competition to win a £50 Voucher
- Add your prediction with a comment below… good luck!
As with every Formula 1 race this year, we are holding the FVL F1 Podium Winners Competition – just guess the correct 1-2-3 on the podium by entering your prediction at least an hour before the race starts, to win. The prize for a correct entry is the winner’s choice of a £50 value of either an iTunes Gift Card, a Google Play Gift Card or an Amazon Gift Card. A winner will be drawn at random if more than one entrant correctly posts the winning 1-2-3. Full Competition Terms and Conditions are here but in essence, you have to be UK resident, and aged 18+. We won’t add you to any mailing lists, or share your details. Add your 1-2-3 prediction in a comment below – at least an hour before the race starts, please! For example, you might enter –
- Bottas by Scott Williams, Manchester
- Please use the hashtags #f1fvl and #myfvl if you share your entry socially, and do join FVL socially online. Good luck!