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Rosberg Rides Momentum to Brazil

Drafting the Circuits

Formula 1 Report

Brazil Preview Grand Prix

By Steve Aibel/Drafting The Circuits/F1Racing Plus

@steveaibel

As Formula 1 moves into the final two rounds of the season, both championships have been decided in favor of the dominant Mercedes organization. With Nico Rosberg taking the win in Mexico, we can expect to see Rosberg and 3-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton battle head to head with no holds barred in the remaining 2 races. For Rosberg, winning one, or two, of the final races will do wonders for his confidence going into the 2016 season.

Rosberg has a chance to grab some much needed momentum to close the 2015 F1 season

Rosberg has a chance to grab some much needed momentum to close the 2015 F1 season

The Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil has been home to some tremendous end of the season battles. Lewis Hamilton took his first World Championship by making a last race, last lap, last corner pass on the Toyota of Timo Glock in 2008. Felipe Massa had won the race and had the World Driving Championship in hi hands before the last lap pass by Hamilton gathered the points necessary to displace Massa and earn the World Driver’s Championship for Hamilton.

3X World Champion Lewis Hamilton is burning up the record books

3X World Champion Lewis Hamilton is burning up the record books

This year, with both championships already decided in favor of Mercedes, the most interesting battles at Interlagos will fall further down the order. Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg are still engaged in a battle for second position. Vettel will need to place much further up the order than Rosberg if he hopes to make up the 21-point deficit.

Can Seb catch Nico for P2?

Can Seb catch Nico for P2?

Kimi Raikkonen is sandwiched between the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in a challenge for positions 4-6. Raikkonen has a strong incentive to place his Ferrari behind Sebastian Vettel and in front of the Williams pair. Conversely, if Williams can place one, or both, of their drivers ahead of Raikkonen’s Ferrari, it will be looked at as a major win for the small Grove based squad, especially in a year that has been promising for Ferrari.

Felipe Massa will be gunning for Raikkonen in Sao Paulo

Felipe Massa will be gunning for Raikkonen in Sao Paulo

Further down the order, there is a great competition between the Red Bull drivers for 7th and 8th place. Only four points separate the duo. More importantly, with Daniil Kvyat surprisingly ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, an argument for the #1 driver on the squad could be in debate if Kvyat is able to maintain his advantage. With an imminent engine deal on the horizon for Red Bull Racing, it will be nice to see the squad sort out their supply issues quickly so we can see Red Bull back running at the front of the order.

Daniil Kvyat is in a hot spicy battle for Red Bull #1

Daniil Kvyat is in a hot spicy battle for Red Bull #1

Although Sergio Perez of Force India seems firmly set in 9th position, there is another keen battle for 10th -12th positions. Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean, and Nico Hulkenberg are separated by a mere 3 points. There will be a goliath effort to occupy the coveted 10th position in the final order of 2015. Romain Grosjean will want to end his Lotus effort on a high note and Nico Hulkenberg will not want to fall too far behind Force India teammate Perez. But it is Max Verstappen who has the most to gain if he can best Grosjean and Hulkenberg.

Grosjean wants to finish his Lotus career strong before heading to Haas F1 Team

Grosjean wants to finish his Lotus career strong before heading to Haas F1 Team

The young Toro Rosso driver has had an impressive first year and is being touted as one to watch for some of the top openings of 2017. Although we are greatly putting the cart before the horse, Verstappen may benefit most with a set of strong finishes in the final two races, especially if he can best the two veterans.

Another racer with an incentive for a strong finish is Alexander Rossi. Rossi will be in his final appearance this season with Manor Racing and has driven well enough to be considered for a 2016 racing seat on the F1 grid. Manor have been a question mark the last few weeks as both, Team Principal John Booth, and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon, Manor stalwarts, have left the team.

Rossi is ready for a full time ride. Might it be with Manor?

Rossi is ready for a full time ride. Might it be with Manor?

In an interesting development, American businessman Tavo Hellmund is leading an investment group with eyes on the Manor F1 team. Hellmund was instrumental in the initial effort at getting Circuit of the Americas to become a reality. Hellmund has also mentioned that Rossi would be a prime candidate for a Manor seat. 2016 with two American owned F1 efforts AND an American driver! It’s almost too much to ask for.

On to Brazil and the onset of the silly season in Formula 1.

Drivers’ Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 345
  2. Nico Rosberg 272
  3. Sebastian Vettel 251
  4. Valtteri Bottas 126
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 123
  6. Felipe Massa 117
  7. Daniil Kvyat 88
  8. Daniel Ricciardo 84
  9. Sergio Perez 68
  10. Max Verstappen 47
  11. Romain Grosjean 45
  12. Nico Hulkenberg 44
  13. Felipe Nasr 27
  14. Pastor Maldonado 26
  15. Carlos Sainz Jr. 18
  16. Jenson Button 16
  17. Fernando Alonso 11
  18. Marcus Ericsson 9

 

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Mercedes 617
  2. Ferrari 374
  3. Williams 243
  4. Red Bull 172
  5. Force India 112
  6. Lotus 71
  7. Toro Rosso 65
  8. Sauber 36
  9. McLaren                   27
  10. Manor/Marussia 0

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