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Toro Rosso and Honda preview the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Round 20 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos, Sau Paulo.

Short, fast and breath-taking, the penultimate stop on the F1 calendar has it all. The anti-clockwise São Paulo wows the crowds with elevation change, a tight infield section and an iconic high speed straight. Teams will be looking to finish strong heading into the last race of the season.

Pierre Gasly: “Last year was my first race in Sao Paulo and I enjoyed the experience. You get a real feel for just how important Formula 1 is in Brazil, with Ayrton Senna and the other champions it produced in the past. I really appreciated that and I also thought the track layout was very good. It has a lot of character with an interesting variety of corners and kerbs that you have to ride, I enjoyed driving it. In the race, I started from down the back of the grid with penalties and managed to finish not far off the points in twelfth. I’m looking forward to fighting for points again, after we have taken tactical penalties in the last few races to maximise our chances in these final two races of the season. It often rains in Sao Paulo and I love driving in the wet, because it makes life a bit more complicated for the drivers so it can be more fun and the driver has a greater impact on performance. Naturally, coming from Normandy, I drove a lot in the wet when I was starting in karts. Another interesting point is that the track is anticlockwise and all of the straights are not really straight, so even there you are always turning, sometimes for around 15 seconds in the opposite direction to usual. I remember from last year you can feel it in your neck, but I’ve prepared for that specifically, so I don’t expect any problems.”

Brendon Hartley: “My pace in the last few events has been really fantastic and I had a great points finish in Austin, followed by a strong turn of speed in Mexico, even if it didn’t deliver the result we might have deserved. Therefore, I’m going into the last two races of the year in a really positive frame of mind. We will have the latest spec Honda engine on board and we know that it delivers much more performance. On top of that, the new aero kit adds some value and seems to suit my driving style. I enjoy going to Brazil. It’s an old-school track, with the fans making for a great atmosphere. It’s got interesting changes of elevation and camber and a bit of everything. I know the track well having raced there in WEC. Last year in F1, I unfortunately had to retire with a technical problem, so I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend. The weather can be a factor, producing interesting races at this track in the past, and this year we’ve seen our package goes well in tricky conditions. Whatever the weather, I believe we can be in good shape and we will be targeting some more points.”

Toyoharu Tanabe, Technical Director, Honda F1: “With two rounds remaining this year, we now head to Brazil for the only South American race of the championship. Interlagos is an anti-clockwise track that has many interesting features for the drivers and engineers to deal with. It is the second shortest circuit of the season, but can still be challenging on the PU for a couple of reasons: the first is the altitude, although the track is only 800 metres above sea level, rather than the over 2200 metres we experienced in Mexico, but the turbo still has to work harder than usual and we have to keep an eye on cooling. The second, is the possibility of sudden changes in the weather from dry to very wet, so we need to be well prepared for all conditions.”

“There have been many memorable rain-affected races and personally, I will never forget the 1991 race, when Ayrton took his first home win, bringing the car home with only sixth gear working for the final laps.”

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Teams and drivers preview the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Round 20 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos, Sau Paulo.

The Essentials

Focus points: Front braking. Interlagos is bumpy and many of the corners are cambered, which makes it easy to lock an inside front wheel under braking. This costs time and puts a car out of position. It’s particularly relevant into Turn One, the most obvious overtaking point on the lap, because the track drops away at the apex.

Unique difficulty: Fuel pick-up. Interlagos has many idiosyncrasies, such as altitude and bumps, but the long left-hand drag from Turn 12 to the exit of Turn 15 at the top of the hill presents cars with potential fuel pick-up problems. They are pulling lateral G for 12s through this sequence of corners, which can cause problems if teams aren’t prepared.

Biggest challenge: The physicality of the track. It’s one of five anti-clockwise circuits on this year’s calendar, but what stands Interlagos apart is the long duration of the corners and the number of bumps. Combine these factors with the record-breaking lap times we’re expecting this year and it’s going to be one of the most demanding races of the season for the drivers.

Engineer’s Lowdown

Braking: Light. This isn’t a demanding circuit for brakes, similar to Silverstone. There are only six braking events around the lap, with the hardest braking zone being on the approach to Turn One. The cars are on the brakes for 1.4s at this point on the lap, with a peak deceleration of 5.5g.

Power: The cars use 1.5kg of fuel per lap, which is low. It’s indicative of the low percentage of full throttle (62 per cent).

Aero: Medium-to-high downforce. In terms of altitude, Interlagos is situated significantly lower than Mexico City, scene of last week’s Mexican Grand Prix. But it’s still 800m above sea level and the altitude affects aero performance. The cars need lots of aero and mechanical grip through the twisty mid-section of the lap, but the two long straights make downforce levels a compromise.

Fernando Alonso: “I’m excited to return to Interlagos because it’s an incredible circuit and I’ve always enjoyed racing there. It’s a track where many great races have taken place and it’s always a little bit unpredictable.

“I’m also looking forward to putting the last two race weekends behind me and focussing on extracting the performance we have been working hard to maximise in our car, but haven’t been able to show. I haven’t had the chance to fight for a couple of grands prix now, so I hope we can have a clean battle and show what’s possible.

“The Brazilian fans are always super passionate and it’s clear Interlagos is one of those legendary tracks that is so famous in the motorsport world. Great champions have driven on this circuit, and with this year’s cars it’ll feel even faster and more exciting than before.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “Last year my experience of Interlagos was a short one as I was involved in an incident on the first lap and was forced to retire, so I hope we don’t see a repeat for either myself or Fernando this weekend!

“From the time I did spend driving the track, I thought it was a really cool circuit and can see why so many drivers from history talk about it as being one of the best in the world. It’s fast and flowing and you can really attack the corners.

“Points in Mexico were a great boost for the team, and both Fernando and I will be chasing a solid performance in Brazil. As usual we’ll work hard on our preparation and strategy to try and get the best possible result in front of the Brazilian fans.”

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: “I’m looking forward to returning to my hometown for the first time with McLaren for the Brazilian Grand Prix. It’s a race that has been an important part of Formula 1 history for many years and has an incredible fan base of passionate Brazilian aficionados of the sport.

“It’s a track on which legends of the sport have won and lost grands prix in the most dramatic circumstances, and unpredictable weather has played its part in influencing the outcome, too. This all adds to the magic of Interlagos and I hope we can see another weekend of great racing this year.

“As we enter the penultimate grand prix of the season, we are as focussed as ever on getting the most out of our car’s performance in the final two races, and bringing home as many points as we can. Fernando, in particular, has had an unlucky run of late, so we’ll be working hard to bring both cars home across the finish line at what is traditionally a gruelling race for both car and driver.

“Finally, Lando will once again step into the cockpit during Friday morning’s FP1 session, to gain more valuable experience behind the wheel at a new circuit.”

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If there ever was a prize for the most dramatic final lap of a grand prix it would have to go to the one in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton pipped Felipe Massa to the championship by a point thanks to a last lap overtake on Timo Glock to do the business and break the heart of every Brazilian.

That day alone would make a script for an awesome Hollywood movie, had it not happened no one would believe it. We have heard of the pain of the Massa family, the unbridled joy of his father celebrating the ‘title’ only to realise that it was all a hoax his son had not triumphed.

The unabated delight of the McLaren camp on a night that triggered Hamilton’s journey to superstardom and five titles to date.

Immediately after the race, unfounded accusations of collusion between Glock and Hamilton emerged ridiculously suggesting the pair had some preconceived plan. Video evidence has since dispelled most conspiracy theories.

So who best to pour cold water on the whole affair than Glock?

The German recalled the episode in a recent interview with ESPN, “There were a couple of journalists who were very aggressive, especially from the Italian side, pointing fingers at me and saying I had done this on purpose and it must have been planned before the race: how much did Mercedes [McLaren’s engine supplier] and Lewis pay you.”

“It was a situation I never thought I would be in. I could not believe people actually followed this stupid thought that I had somehow planned this with Lewis before the race. How did we know the weather would turn out like this before the race?”

“We even had letters come in to my family, to my dad and mom’s house about how I had done this and how people should shoot me, I shouldn’t be in the sport anymore. I could not believe how bad people could be. It was pretty extreme.”

For Glock, it’s an old story that follows him around like Groundhog Day, “Every year, every November I get asked about it! I get less abuse now that someone at F1 put the video up on the internet — you can see how much I struggled on the last lap.”

“This calmed down the situation totally as I can just send people that now. I have no idea why it took them so long, but I also have no idea why I never thought to ask them to put the onboard online! But it’s helped people understand there was no tactic behind it and that it was just a battle to keep it on the race track.”

Hamilton won the championship by a single point that year and now arrives in Brazil, ten years since that dramatic weekend, a five times F1 world champion.

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Renault have taken a cheeky stab at Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, taunting the Dutchman in the preview to the race weekend at Interlagos.

Previewing Round 20 of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship, Renault wrote on their website: “A party atmosphere is one similarity between Mexico and Brazil, with another being the sheer volume of people living in the two host cities.”


“With a combined population of 20 million, which may or may not be equivalent to the number of times Max Verstappen has moaned about something this season.” Ouch!

Of the Renault powered band of drivers, Verstappen has been critic in chief, often lamenting the lack of power at his disposal and blatantly blaming the team’s engine supplier.

Despite the power disadvantage to Mercedes and Ferrari this season, Verstappen has won twice, most recently last time out in Mexico.

Next year Red Bull joins Toro Rosso with Honda power and the long-standing media based feud between the energy drinks outfit and Renault will finally end as they part ways, with the feuding partnership making way for a real rivalry.

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Sean Bratches warns Silverstone over Formula 1 future


Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches has warned Silverstone, and other long-standing circuits, that “nothing is immutable” in terms of the calendar, amid Vietnam’s impending arrival.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Formula 1 has signed a multi-year deal to hold a Vietnam Grand Prix on a 5.5km semi-permanent street circuit close to the city of Hanoi.

It is the first new confirmed event unveiled by Liberty Media since its takeover of Formula 1 in early 2017, though it previously released proposals to race in Miami, which are currently on hold.

Liberty has this year penned extensions with Japan, Belgium and Germany, though the latter’s revised contract is only for 2019.

It means that long-standing events in Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain are without contracts for 2020.

The respective three-year deals with Italy (Monza) and Spain (Barcelona) expire after next season, with the previous contracts having been agreed under Liberty’s predecessor CVC Capital Partners.

Silverstone, meanwhile, agreed a 17-year British Grand Prix contract in 2009, though had the ability to exercise a break clause mid-2017 that meant it would stop hosting duties after 2019.

It opted to trigger that clause, citing long-term financial concerns if it continued under the original contract, and there has not been any progress in reaching a new deal.

Bratches stressed the importance of retaining historic events but warned that iconic circuits cannot be guaranteed of their place on the calendar, and hinted that the British Grand Prix could move away from Silverstone post-2019.

“We want to preserve the heritage races, they are very important to Formula 1 and they are very important to fans,” said Bratches.

“I’m talking about the Silverstones, the Spas, the Monzas of this world.

“Then we have a set of street races and hybrid street races, where we race in parks and on city streets, such as Melbourne, Montreal and Mexico City.

“The third segment features purpose-built facilities such as Shanghai, Austin, Texas and Bahrain.”

When asked whether events in Britain or Italy could be moved to different locations, Bratches replied: “We’re a 68-year-old entity and the nature of grand prix racing is that it is dynamic.

“Silverstone was the first grand prix, but we haven’t raced at Silverstone all those 68 years. The race has been held at Brands Hatch and other venues.

“Nothing is immutable in this sport in terms of where we race.

“We do value certain races highly and we do what we can to preserve racing there, but we are a business.

“We are a public company and we have a lot of stakeholders and shareholders and we’re trying to marry what’s best for fans with running a successful business.”

The British Grand Prix has been ever-present on the Formula 1 calendar, with Silverstone the permanent home since 1987, having also held the inaugural World Championship event in 1950.

Neither Brands Hatch nor Donington Park, which hosted the 1993 European Grand Prix and was in line to host F1 from 2010 until plans fell through, are at the required level, while occasional ideas to hold a race in London have never been fully developed.

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Interlagos pit straight DRS zone extended by 100m


The second DRS zone at Interlagos, home to this weekend’s Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, has been extended by 100 metres.

The FIA has experimented with the number and length of the various zones at Grands Prix this year, in a bid to enhance the quality of the racing.

As per 2017, there will be two DRS zones at Interlagos, with the first located along the Reta Oposta, with the activation point 30 metres after the Curva do Sol, and the detection point at the second apex of the Senna S.

The second detection point remains 30 metres after the Turn 13 kink, but the activation point has been moved from 60 metres before the Turn 15 kink to 160 metres before.

No major changes have been made to the circuit layout since last year’s event.

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Ericsson admits Sauber exit timing "hurts"

Ericsson admits Sauber exit timing

Marcus Ericsson has admitted it “hurts a bit” to be losing his Sauber Formula 1 drive just as the team has reclaimed a place in the championship's midfield.
Ericsson has driven for the Swiss outfit since 2014, scoring 18 points in that period, but will be relegated to a reserve driver role next year as the team switches to an all-new line-up of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.

With Raikkonen a former world champion and Giovinazzi taking the seat Ferrari had priority for as part of the Alfa Romeo tie-up, Ericsson said he understood Sauber's thinking, but didn't hide his frustration.

“Of course, it was hard to accept,” Ericsson said. “I thought I was going to stay but obviously I understand the reasons as well, with a driver like Kimi becoming available, and the other seat is obviously taken [by Ferrari].

“To get an opportunity to get a driver like Kimi, it's impossible to not take that opportunity. So I understand that, even though it's obviously disappointing for me and my career.

“I feel like I've been here, working so hard for the team in very tough times, and the car has been at the bottom, and people have been leaving the team, and I've been always putting all effort into trying to turn it around, staying positive and never blaming the team for anything.”

Sauber has become a regular points contender with Ericsson and teammate Charles Leclerc this season, after spending two years mired at the back of the grid.

The C36, carrying a year-old Ferrari engine, was F1's weakest package in 2017 by a hefty margin, and the team's progress since then has impressed many – with Racing Point Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer recently claiming Sauber has “outdeveloped” even F1's leading teams.

Ericsson continued: “[I've] just been pushing really hard to try and help the team to improve and I feel like I've been very much part of that journey and part of that process.

“And to then not be able to continue that, when the car is finally getting competitive and the team is finally getting competitive, it hurts a bit, but that's the sport we're in.”

Ericsson will combine his Sauber role with a maiden IndyCar campaign next year, having signed with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

The SPM ride should give provide him with the tools to compete for top results, as the team has won races in five of the last six IndyCar seasons.

“Just the thought of going to a race and knowing that I can win this weekend, it just gets me so excited, because I've missed that so much,” Ericsson said.

“All my career [before F1], every weekend, it's been about trying to win, and then for five years you don't even have that thought in your head. It's not even in your head.

“And now, when I've accepted that F1 is not going to happen next year, it's something that really gets me excited - that next year I could actually go to the first race and know that, if I do a a good job, I can actually win.”

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Hamilton might need different motivation for 2019 - Prost

Hamilton might need different motivation for 2019 - Prost

Four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost says Lewis Hamilton may have to find a different kind of motivation next season after securing his fifth title in 2018.
Prost says that going ahead of Ferrari rival four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the record books spurred Hamilton on this year, and that won't apply in the future.

Prost still believes that Hamilton can go on to match seven-time title winner Michael Schumacher, but he will have to take it a step at a time.

"We all thought it was impossible," Prost told "I always said this year, if you are Sebastian or Lewis, you cannot have a problem of motivation.

"Because they were both four times champions, and they knew that there would be a fight between them, so they'd be the first one at five.

"After that it's personal. Is the target to be at least seven, or not?

"I think the target is to be again world champion, and see what happens next year. It's the first step, a personal decision. When you are on five, you think about six, you don't think about seven or eight.

"Sometimes if for example like next year you have a change of regulations, it can always give you an extra motivation, because inside the team you don't know how to manage that, and it's again going to be a long season.

"That's why it's difficult to tell. You know one day you wake up and then say do I want to do that again? You don't know, nobody knows."

Prost says it's hard to compare Hamilton with champions of the past.

"It's always difficult to compare the generations, because I think it was very difficult to be a multiple champion at one stage, especially also because the level of performance of the teams was up and down sometimes, and reliability was also a big problem.

"Today it's different, but it doesn't take away the merit. Lewis is for sure one of the best if not the best of his generation. It's difficult to be champion every year, or almost every year."

He believes that Hamilton did a near perfect job on his way to the 2018 title.

"This was maybe one of his best seasons, because the competition was there from the beginning to the end.

"What you ask of a driver and his team, to be world champion in this situation, is a mix of stability, being consistent, not trying to get stupid points when you can't because you need to accept sometimes to finish second, third or fourth.

"If in a few places where you really need to find the time to get on pole, like Singapore, he was there. He had a small bit of luck sometimes, because it's a long season.

"Also when Sebastian did one or two mistakes, after that you could see he was so strong and motivated, because he knew that if Sebastian left the door open, he had to come in. Ferrari did a lot of mistakes, and Sebastian, if you think of Baku, Germany, China.

"Then what do you do, do you put more pressure to them? That's why the season was really well managed by Lewis and the team."

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BRAZIL PREVIEW: The stats and info you need to know


Formula 1 returns to the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix as the drivers prepare to take on the undulating and intimidating Interlagos. Here’s your crib sheet for this weekend.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is always one of the racing highlights of the F1 season. Unreliable weather, a long, banked start-finish straight and a tricky mid-lap section makes for a challenge that the drivers all love getting stuck into.

Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up the fifth of his world titles at the Mexican Grand Prix last time out, but there’s still plenty to play for in both Brazil and Interlagos. Mercedes and Ferrari will continue their fight to see who comes away from 2018 with the team honours, while there’ll be a few drivers with some scores to settle as the season draws to a close…

So let us jet to the land of Senna and Fittipaldi and prepare for the 46th Brazilian Grand Prix, and the 36th at Interlagos. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the weekend.


The form book…

Mercedes will be looking to sew up their fifth consecutive constructors’ title at Interlagos, and they’ll be helped in that plight by their form around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace – a track their car tends to fly at. Analysis of qualifying from the last four Brazilian Grands Prix since 2014 – all of which have seen a Mercedes starting on pole – gives the team a pace advantage of, on average, 0.363s over the next fastest opponent from another team around Interlagos.

That average was brought down last year, however, when Valtteri Bottas qualified just 0.038s quicker than the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, before the German went on to pip Bottas for the win, the first for a non-Mercedes runner since Vettel’s victory for Red Bull in 2013. And in a 2018 season where Ferrari have looked Mercedes’ equal, if not their better, at tracks where the Silver Arrows have previously dominated, it could well be that Ferrari finally reverse Mercedes’ outright pace dominance at Interlagos this year.

If Mercedes do manage to hold off the Scuderia and triumph once again, however, victory may well come from Valtteri Bottas rather than Hamilton. The Finn was very publicly moved aside in Russia to help Hamilton in the drivers’ race. And with that championship now settled, Mercedes will be anxious to pay back Bottas with some win bonus dosh and a bit of glory – especially given that Bottas is currently on course to become the first Mercedes driver to fail to win a race in a season since 2012.

Red Bull called Mexico their last proper time in 2018 to take a win, and although Max Verstappen got the job done in some style two weekends ago, the team were right in that, in F1’s hybrid era, the Brazilian track hasn’t tended to suit them.

In qualifying since 2014, Red Bull have only ever had a car that was third fastest or less at Interlagos, the team tending to be out-horsepowered up the hill and onto the start-finish straight, then out-horsepowered again in the long drag from Turns 3 to 4.

Their only post-2014 podium was Verstappen’s third place after his epic drive in the rain in 2016. That’s bad news for Daniel Ricciardo, who’s desperate to ensure that he takes at least one more podium with Red Bull before he leaves for Renault at the end of the year – his chances having taken a cruel hit with yet another mechanical failure in Mexico.

But rain could help the Bulls’ cause – and it’s looking likely there’ll be some of that, as we’ll see…


The stats that matter…

This year’s Brazilian Grand Prix will see Interlagos tie with Hockenheim as the seventh most-used Grand Prix venue, with its 36th appearance.

This year’s race will be the first ever held on November 11.

Victory for Lewis Hamilton would mark his 50th in Formula 1’s hybrid era – he’s already the fifth most successful driver of all time in terms of his post-2014 wins alone!

Since 2014, Red Bull have led a total of zero laps at Interlagos.

Sebastian Vettel leading for 11 laps would see him clinch Michael Schumacher’s record for laps led at Interlagos – currently 236. Seven laps led for either Vettel or Raikkonen will give Ferrari the record for the most laps led by a constructor at Interlagos, currently held by McLaren.


Mercedes, meanwhile, need to lead just 16 laps to make it into the ‘5000 laps led’ club – only the fifth team to ever achieve the feat.

Daniel Ricciardo’s pole position in Mexico was the only segment or session the Australian had led in the previous four Grand Prix weekends.

Kimi Raikkonen remains the only driver to have started in the top six at every Grand Prix in 2018 – but the Iceman has never started on pole in Brazil.

Lewis Hamilton has only managed to outqualify a team mate once in Brazil in the past five years, when he beat Nico Rosberg to pole in 2016.

Brendon Hartley has outqualified Pierre Gasly twice at the last three races, having only done it five times in total this season.


The circuit…

Banking and an anti-clockwise layout at Interlagos make it one of the most peculiar challenges on the Formula 1 calendar, and one that definitely leaves the drivers’ neck muscles in need of the Magic Sponge come Monday morning.

First built in 1938 on land that was deemed too swampy for housing, the track at one time could be run as a mahusive oval (hence the banking) while a full lap of the circuit used in F1 up until 1980 clocked in at an epic 8km – a kilometre longer than the current Spa-Francorchamps layout. However, the 1990 redesign gave us more or less the punchier, shorter track the drivers know and love today. And they really do love it.

“It’s an incredible circuit and I’ve always enjoyed racing there,” said Fernando Alonso ahead of the 2018 race. “It’s a track where many great races have taken place and it’s always a little bit unpredictable.”

Coming off the banking into the S bends named in honour of Brazil’s favourite racing son, Ayrton Senna, the track then plunges downhill to Turn 4 before looping back into the modern, rollercoaster-like infield section, through tricky, uncomfortably cambered corners like Ferradura (Horseshoe), Pinheirinho (Little Pine Tree) and Bico Do Pato (Duck Bill). Those turns invite drivers to attack the entry but will punish them with locked inside wheels if they overcommit – or worse, as Lewis Hamilton found out in qualifying last year.

Out of Juncao, the drivers then begin to loop back up the hill and round onto the start-finish straight – what looks to be a gentle climb through a softly opening corner, but which can bite hard, as Mark Webber found out while driving for Jaguar in 2003.


The tyres…

Pirelli have called up a relatively tough selection for Brazil. That’s largely because, although the lap is the third shortest on the calendar at 4.309km, it’s a busy one, with the corners coming thick and fast in the middle part of the lap and a higher concentration of traffic that the drivers need to move off-line for. Many of those corners are also quick – and in the case of the start-finish straight, banked – putting high energy loads through the tyres, particularly the right-rear on this anti-clockwise layout.

“We’re not expecting anything very different to what we’ve seen during previous years in Brazil,” says Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing. “The only change is that we’re bringing a nomination that is one step softer. The current medium and soft are similar to last year’s soft-supersoft tandem that formed the winning race strategy, while this year’s supersoft – the softest tyre we have selected for the weekend – is roughly equivalent to last year’s ultrasoft, which didn’t come to Brazil. So, this tyre effectively makes its debut at Interlagos.

“Dealing with traffic and going off-line is always an important aspect to managing the race in Brazil, and due to the high energy loads from the fast corners and possible high temperatures, degradation will be another factor to bear in mind – although we don’t expect it to be excessive under normal circumstances.”

The forecast…

For those of you who enjoy a wet Brazilian Grand Prix – and there have been some good ones over the years – you might be in luck this weekend, with a 40 per cent chance of rain predicted on Friday, rising to a 50 per cent chance across Saturday and Sunday. That rain will be accompanied by some chillier-than-usual temperatures as well, with highs of just 20 on Friday, falling to around 18-19 for the rest of the weekend.

When does the Brazilian Grand Prix start?



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Vietnam will join the Formula 1 World Championship calendar in 2020 with a street race in the Southeast Asian country’s capital city Hanoi, organisers said on Wednesday.

The Vietnamese Grand Prix, which will be staged for the first time in April 2020, is the first new race announced since Liberty Media bought the commercial rights to the series.

Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup JSC, has signed a “multi-year deal” to host the event, the press release said, without elaborating.

VinFast, a unit of Vingroup, is set to become Vietnam’s first fully-fledged domestic car manufacturer when its first production models built under its own badge hit the streets next August.

The Hanoi round of the championship, which will be run on a 5.565-kilometre circuit in the west of Hanoi, will be the fourth street race on the calendar along with Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan.

Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said the race would reflect Vietnam’s ability to hold global events.

Vietnam is a growing market for sponsors such as brewer Heineken and would be give East Asia four races on the calendar again after the departure of Malaysia.

While the country does not have much of a tradition of motorsports, sporting events or competitions in which the national team does even marginally well are widely watched and passionately celebrated.

There will again be 21 races on the 2019 calendar, with the same races as this year retaining their places.

Press Release: Formula 1 and the City of Hanoi today announce that a Grand Prix will be held in the Vietnamese capital from April 2020.

As the first new race to be announced under Liberty Media’s ownership, the Vietnamese Grand Prix represents Formula 1’s firm commitment to the Asia region where races are already well established in Singapore, China and Japan. It also forms part of Formula 1’s long-term strategy to broaden the appeal of the sport and to reach new audiences around the globe.

Hanoi promoter, Vingroup, has signed a multi-year deal to host the Grand Prix, which will begin as a thrilling street race in the heart of the city. Working in close collaboration with the City of Hanoi authorities, the Promoter and Formula 1 Motorsport department the 5.565km track will deliver an exciting racing experience for the drivers as well as the fans.

To celebrate the launch of the race, Formula 1’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Chase Carey joins the City of Hanoi leadership and Vingroup promoter as part of a grand ceremony this evening at the Hanoi Citadel, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Local artists will perform to highlight the unique culture of Vietnam in an event open to the people of Hanoi.

Fans also have the unique opportunity to win the very first two tickets for Hanoi’s inaugural Grand Prix in 2020 simply by registering interest in the event at the following link>>>

Chase Carey, Chairman and Chief Executive, Formula 1 said: “We are delighted to announce that Hanoi will host a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Since we became involved in this sport in 2017, we have talked about developing new destination cities to broaden the appeal of Formula 1 and the Vietnamese Grand Prix is a realisation of that ambition. We are thrilled to be here in Hanoi, one of the most exciting cities in the world right now with such a rich history and an incredible future ahead of it. This is the perfect formula for Grand Prix racing and I look forward to this becoming a real highlight of the F1 calendar.

Our Motosport team, working in collaboration with the City of Hanoi and promoter Vingroup, has worked to enable a circuit that will not only test the drivers but also ensure that our fans enjoy the racing spectacle. We are really looking forward to seeing Formula 1 cars speeding around the streets of this fantastic city from 2020.”

Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman, City of Hanoi said: “We are proud to be hosting the Formula 1 Vietnam Grand Prix, and showcasing the city of Hanoi to the world with its special combination of ancient and moden beauty from 2020. It’s a further demonstration of Vietnam’s ability, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world to host events on a global scale and attract tourism to the country. It provides an opportunity for inward investment to Vietnam and importantly to bring the exciting wheel to wheel racing of Formula 1 to the people of Vietnam.”

Nguyen Viet Quang, Vice Chairman and CEO, Vingroup, Promoter said: “We are excited to see that our work with Formula 1 to secure this deal has finally come to fruition. An essential part of this collaboration has been making sure that we not only showcase the city of Hanoi but also deliver an exciting race for Formula 1 fans in Vietnam and around the world. With the mission of “a better life for Vietnamese people”, VinGroup wants to bring this race to Vietnam because of the general benefits to the society such as more jobs will be created, the infrastructure of Hanoi will be upgraded, and other bigger worldwide events will be encouraged to take place in Vietnam. For VinGroup individually, through the F1 racing event, we are going to proclaim the first Vietnamese car manufacturer, VinFast, to millions of audiences in the world.

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From 2020, an exciting new venue will adorn Formula 1’s calendar as Vietnam plays host to a dazzling new street circuit in the beating heart of its iconic and culturally rich capital city Hanoi…

The Vietnamese Grand Prix will become F1’s fourth street race, joining Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan with its unique 22-turn, 5.565km track. It will also be the fourth race in Asia, joining China, Japan and Singapore.

F1’s Motorsports team have worked with renowned circuit design company Tilke to create a semi-permanent street track, using both existing and purpose-built roads.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect come April 2020…


Inspiration from all over the world

F1 is blessed with a plethora of stunning turns and corner sequences scattered across the world’s great racing circuits, so in creating a new track, it makes sense to take inspiration from them.

That’s what the architects of the Circuit of The Americas, the current home of the United States Grand Prix, did. They drew creativeness from the quick Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence at Silverstone and Istanbul’s multi-apex Turn 8 among others.

The same strategy was employed for Vietnam’s new track, located on the western side of the city in the vicinity of the My Dinh National Stadium. And that means it’s not your typical street circuit – far from it…

The aim was to create a unique hybrid layout, fusing a street circuit’s characteristics with a permanent countryside track layout within the confines of the city’s topography.

There was a real desire to steer away from humdrum 90-degree road-junction type corners and foster a layout that facilitates wheel-to-wheel racing while retaining a closed-in street feel that makes city race tracks so demanding for drivers.

Turns 1 and 2 are based on the opening corners at Germany’s Nurburgring – known as a red zone for overtaking. In 2006, you may remember Juan Pablo Montoya sweeping by Giancarlo Fisichella by using the long straight for slipstream and completing his pass in the braking zone for Turn 1.

Turns 12 through to 15 may look familiar, too. They have been inspired by a section of the famous Monaco street circuit, from Turn 1 and the run up the hill to Massenet.

The Turn 16-19 sequence that follows features fast changes of direction reminiscent of the sweeping iconic Esses at Suzuka, while the final three corners take inspiration from Malaysia’s Sepang – the fast left-right followed by a tightening radius entry.

That tricky and challenging final sequence, which completes the lap, offers the potential for mistakes and opens the door for a chasing driver to pick up a slipstream and launch an attack into the first turn.


How the design came about

You won’t be surprised to hear it’s been a lengthy process.

The Hanoi Feasibility Group provided suggestions of potential locations, track layouts and associated CAD (Computer Aided Design) data to F1’s Motorsports team, who subsequently built a simulation model of the circuit to carry out lap simulation analysis.

It was at this stage that anticipated car speeds, G-forces and the overall flow and characteristics of the circuit could be assessed.

The final design will be the culmination of a collaboration between F1’s Motorsports team, circuit design company Tilke (who have been responsible for designing many of F1’s best tracks), the City of Hanoi authorities and the race promoter, with governing body the FIA also part of the process.

What the drivers and fans can expect

What’s certain is that fans attending should be treated to plenty of action – not a procession. The drivers, meanwhile, will have their skills tested to the limit.

The circuit features a range of corners from a slow-speed hairpin and technical slow- to medium-speed corner combinations to high-speed esses and flat-out corners and long straights – one of which is 1.5km in length, with expected speeds of 335km/h through the speed trap.

The opening two sectors lean towards slower-speed turns and longer straights while the final sector will put a premium on cornering.

The long straights will create a challenge for the teams, as they will have to balance wing levels to maximise speed on the straights while generating downforce to attack and defend through the corner sequences.

Intriguingly, the pit lane also misses out the last and first corners, which should reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a pit stop and therefore make a multi-stop strategy more enticing and viable.


The next steps

F1 representatives have already made multiple visits to the venue while the FIA’s F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has also been, with the governing body responsible for granting the circuit a homologation licence once they are satisfied the track design is safe and meets their Grade 1 (the highest level required to host F1) requirements.

April 2020 may seem like a while away, but there is plenty to do before then – in fact in many ways the project is just beginning!

The circuit and building detail designs need to be signed off, along with construction project plans and site planning approvals. Once those are completed, the land can be prepared ahead of the construction phases.

The build process for the inaugural race will run from now right up until the start of the event.

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Lewis Hamilton has no plans to gift any wins to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas despite having a fifth Formula 1 world championship sewn up.

The Briton has won nine of the 19 grand prix races so far this season while Bottas, who has dutifully obeyed team orders to help Hamilton and endured agonising bad luck while leading, has yet to triumph.

Asked at the Brazilian Grand Prix whether he would let the Finn win were he in a position to do so, Hamilton told reporters that would be a decision for Mercedes to make.

“I don’t think he is going to want that, he is going to win one on his own, in his own way,” added the 33-year-old, who clinched the drivers’ title with two races to spare in Mexico last month.

Bottas has won three races since he joined Mercedes last year as a replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.

He started on pole position in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the last two races of the season, last year and won the latter with Hamilton second.

Hamilton hailed Bottas’s contribution after winning the championship in Mexico, and has emphasised how well they get on as teammates.

“One of the most difficult moments of the year was in Russia for me,” he had said in Mexico City, referring to a race in which Bottas was asked to move aside to let him win.

“We have such a huge respect for each other… it’s the greatest partnership in terms of respect and teamwork from drivers that has ever existed in Formula One probably.”

Mercedes can seal the constructors’ championship at Interlagos for the fifth year in a row, providing Ferrari do not score 13 points more than them, and that will be the team’s absolute focus.

Hamilton has won only once before in Brazil, in 2016, and in those years where he has wrapped up the title with races to spare has failed to triumph afterwards.

The Briton was third in Texas and then fourth in Mexico last month after racking up four wins in a row as he sensed the title beckoning.

“If you look at the last two races you will see that we kind of struggled, so I don’t really have an idea of how it is going to be in the next couple of races,” he said.

“It’s difficult to explain why it has been tough for us, particularly in this last one, but I really hope the car this weekend feels more normal and we are more competitive.

“We still have a job to do on this weekend, to win the constructors title, so the focus remains absolutely the same. It’s not always easy to find solutions. There’s a lot of work to do, even at this point of the year.”

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Williams driver Lance Stroll defined his Formula 1 season as a “survival year” on Thursday and said the team had shown no improvement since the opening race in Australia.

The 20-year-old Canadian has two more races with the former champions, now languishing at the bottom of the constructors’ standings, before an expected move to the Force India team owned since August by his billionaire father Lawrence.

Williams have scored just seven points in 19 races, six of them thanks to Stroll who is also the youngest on the starting grid.

“The car just hasn’t been there so we’ve just been surviving every weekend rather than actually competing,” the driver told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“We’ve just been on the back foot throughout the whole year. We haven’t really developed the car at all since Australia (in March), I don’t think we’ve really improved the car at all. It’s been a survival year, that’s all I can say.”

Williams, fifth last season but without a win since 2012, use the same engine as champions Mercedes but lost their way on the aerodynamic side with a problem they have been unable to do much about.

At the same time, Ferrari-powered Sauber — last overall in 2017 with a year-old engine — have become much more competitive with an up to date power unit and have lifted themselves to eighth with 36 points.

“It’s been tough to see some of our competitors early on, like Sauber for example who were neck and neck with us at the beginning, make big steps in the right direction, compared to us,” said Stroll.

The Canadian, whose current teammate is Russian Sergey Sirotkin, said he had still matured as a driver in his second full season and “absorbed a lot of information”.

“As a driver, you have to accept that some years are more challenging than others and that’s part of the game,” he added.

Williams have so far confirmed only one driver for 2019, Britain’s Formula 2 leader George Russell.

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One of the primary problems a Formula 1 design engineer faces is how to create sufficient downforce in a wing while at the same time reducing the drag that the downforce ultimately creates.

The downforce helps the car negotiate the turns at a faster speed, and the drag slows the car and reduces the top speed down the straights. It was thought by many that a team cannot have both. Most teams spend a lot of time and money deciding how much downforce to use verses how much time is lost to drag.

Has Ferrari found a partial solution to this problem?

According to observers of the Mexican Grand Prix, a side-car view of the left front wing showed a lot of flexibility in the multiple elements that make up the wing section.

On lap 30 of the race, the telecast showed the sidepod view from Sebastian Vettel’s car forward to Daniel Ricciardo’s Redbull. It also showed the wing section as well as the speeds of both cars at the bottom of the screen as they both exited slow turns and reached maximum speeds on the straights.

As many have seen, as the speeds increased from around 100km/h exiting the slower turns, the elements of the Ferrari wing stayed seemingly ridged and more upright until around 250km/h when they appeared to begin to bend and become more in-line with the oncoming air.


Then as the speeds reached upwards of 355km/h, the same elements were folded back and the Ferrari’s speed was some 10km/h faster than the Redbull.

While the DRS for both cars is shown to be activated at this point, the Ferrari was still faster than Ricciardo, and one has to wonder that if the wing were more rigid, might the top speed of that car have been slower due to the increased drag?

This may be one way many of the teams have designed their front wings to alleviate the conflict between needing low-speed downforce and reducing high-speed drag, hopefully working well within the spirit and intent of the rules.

Or, have the teams found a loophole in the regulations? Might we see more attention paid to this design area of the cars at the Brazil Grand Prix? Tune in and see.

This is what is written in the rules:

  • 3.9.8 Any part of the trailing edge of any front wing flap may deflect no more than 5mm, when measured along the loading axis, when a 60N point load is applied normal to the flap.
  • 3.9.9 In order to ensure that the requirements of Article 3.8 are respected, the FIA reserves the right to introduce further load/deflection tests on any part of the bodywork which appears to be (or is suspected of), moving whilst the car is in motion
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Lewis Hamilton admitted this week that he was not impressed by Niki Lauda before the pair became teammates at Mercedes since then they grown much closer with the British driver who revealed how he keeps the convalescing Austrian in the picture.

Lauda and Ross Brawn convinced Hamilton to join Mercedes in 2013, and amid much criticism and ‘prophecies of doom’ it has proven to be one of the most inspired signings in the history of the sport. Now, four Formula 1 world titles later the pair are best of chums.

But before that Lauda, in his role as a pundit, did not shy away from criticising Hamilton when he drove for McLaren, at one point calling him “mad” and questioning his tactics.

While the Merc deal was brewing, to break the ice Hamilton explained how Lauda – a TV pundit on German TV before becoming Mercedes F1 chairman – undid years of criticism with a simple sentence: “You’re a racer, just like me!”

“From then on, our relationship got better and better. I love Niki, I miss him and I hope he will be back soon, but originally I did not have a high opinion of Niki.”

“I often send him a video from the box or from the engineering briefing and keep him up to date on what’s going on here.”

“He called me last week, it was so nice to finally hear his voice again. He was very happy that the operation went well, he was joking and in a good mood,” added Hamilton.

Lauda is recovering from a life-threatening lung transplant he suffered in summer which has kept him out of the paddock.

Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, a close friend of Lauda, added, “He said he feels much better and just has to take a lot of pills and be disciplined. His secret plan is to be back in Abu Dhabi,”

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F1 drivers to discuss tyre concerns in Brazil

F1 drivers to discuss tyre concerns in Brazil

Formula 1 drivers' body, the GPDA, plans to discuss concerns about tyres and the state of racing in a meeting in Brazil on Friday, amid mounting frustrations with the sport.
An increased reliance on tyre management, plus an ever-widening gulf between the top three teams and the rest of the field, has prompted drivers to get together and work out if they need to step in to try to improve things.

Daniel Ricciardo said that while the latest tyres allowed drivers to push harder in certain circumstances, the need to look after rubber to minimise pitstops meant that there was still something lacking from a driving perspective.

That is why the subject of tyres has been added to the agenda of Friday's GPDA get-together, which will take place after the official drivers' briefing.

"I don't think anyone ever seems to be satisfied," said Ricciardo about the tyre situation. "They wanted a tyre we can race harder on for longer, and I feel now we're nearly getting that.

"But I don't know how to have a tyre that we can push hard on but is going to degrade, so we can still do a two or three-stop. I feel we're just going to drive slower, like we're doing now."

Although the issue of tyres – and whether degradation and management has got too much – has been singled out as a key point for the GPDA discussions, Romain Grosjean says that wider F1 issues have set some alarm bells ringing.

"It's not only tyres," said Grosjean, who is a director of the GPDA. "I feel, and I don't want to speak for everyone else, but I feel like we need to give our feedback and maybe try to do a bit more because the races aren't fun.

"P6 in Mexico is two laps down? How do you hope to see a midfield car on the podium if they are one or two laps down?

"The delta between the big teams and the small teams is too big. Plus the tyres being so complicated to understand, to drive, if you don't have the downforce you destroy them and you open the gap again."

Grosjean said the idea of the GPDA discussion was to gauge the feelings from all drivers.

If there was a consensus about what needs to be done, then that could be formalised and put to fans, the media and F1's rule makers to try to make the sport better.

"If we get to somewhere where everyone is happy with what we have discussed, and we have got bullet points, then we should move them forward to you guys, to Liberty or whoever. [It's important] we don't sit back and don't do anything for the sport we love."

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly thinks the current frustrations with tyres showed that the drivers needed to speak up more if there was any hope of making the racing better.

"There are many things we can improve but there's clearly one aspect that could improve racing: if we had more robust tyres that are less sensitive to overheating," he said. "It will give us the opportunity to follow other cars for longer.

"At the moment you do three corners really close from another car and you start sliding and three degrees of temperature on tyres and start to lose performance. It's a snowball effect, the temperatures keep increasing and you're done.

"It's something Pirelli should focus on. We told them already, they need to respect what FOM asks them so it's a topic we discussed many times. Probably as drivers we need to be stronger in our opinion, our view and desire of what we need for the future."

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Lewis Hamilton won an action and drama packed Brazilian Grand Prix on an afternoon in which Max Verstappen was cruelly denied when he was rammed by Esteban Ocon, but recovered to claim second place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

The result was enough for Mercedes to claim the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship title to make it ten in five years.

Hamilton was gifted the lead when, with victory in sight, Verstappen came upon Esteban Ocon to lap him into Turn 1, but for some reason the Force India (a lap down) hung in there and rammed the side of the Red Bull as they powered through the Senna-S.

This caused the Red Bull to spin, allowing the #44 Mercedes to flash past before recovering and chasing gamely, but second place was his reward when victory seemed so close for the driver who again delivered a stellar performance. Ocon was given a penalty for his shenanigans.

Although Verstappen pushed hard in the final laps, in the end Hamilton had it in control and crossed the line 1.5 seconds ahead of the blue car when the chequered flag waved to end the race at Autodromo Carlos Pace.

Hamilton said of his afternoon and 72nd grand prix victory, These guys have worked so hard over the past six years, it’s been an incredible journey. This is what we’ve worked for every single day. I’ve always said it’s such an honour to drive for them.”

“We were a sitting duck at one stage. We were having problems with the engine. I just want to thank everyone. The team give me the tools and I do the best I can,” added the World Champion.

Verstappen was livid, in the cockpit during the slow down lap he said, “I hope I can’t find him now in the paddock because that guy has a fucking problem. What a [expletive].

He was not done, after he removed his helmet the Red Bull driver added, “We did everything today. He [Ocon] was such an idiot he gets taken out while he’s being lapped. I think the race was better than expected for us today. The car worked well. The strategy worked well. I’m happy with second, but we should have won today.”

Raikkonen, who finished third, summed up, “Yeah it was good, not easy but there was some battling so it was fun. My tyre [strategy] was good but it was difficult to pass and it took too long, I don’t know.”

Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull delivered another typical gutsy performance, with trademark overtakes to claim fourth place, ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in a distant fifth followed by Sebastian Vettel sixth in the Ferrari.

Bottas and Vettel struggled relative to their teammates, with Vettel making what appeared to be an extra unscheduled stop late in the race.

The top six were all very close through the race with some jaw-dropping moments, Ricciardo’s overtake on Bottas a special moment in a race packed with big ones, in contrast with Raikkonen’s laborious efforts to get by the #77 Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc delivered another high-quality performance for Sauber, running as high as fourth at one stage and finished seventh, Best of the Rest on the day, ahead of fellow Ferrari powered Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen taking double points with eighth and ninth.

The final point went to Sergio Perez in the Force India, the Mexican bringing it home in tenth after a relatively lonely race.


FIA Blow-By-Blow Report

At the race start, Hamilton held his advantage from pole position to take the lead but a poor getaway by fellow front-row starter Vettel allowed Bottas, starting third, to get past the German through the opening two corners.

Verstappen, starting from fifth, was already beginning to work his way forward. He closed on Kimi Räikkönen and at the start of lap three he went past the Finn around the outside into Turn 1. Vettel was the Dutchman’s next target and at the start of the next lap he again used DRS to close but this time he opted for a dive down the inside to claim P3.

Behind him, team-mate Ricciardo was also gaining places, and after passing Magnussen on lap one he quickly began to pick off the cars ahead, rising to P6 on lap seven, ahead of Leclerc.

On lap 10 Verstappen made another move, this time choosing the inside of Turn 1 to dive past Bottas and claim second place. Race leader Hamilton was now just 1.7s ahead.

Bottas was the first of the leaders to pit, the Mercedes man heading in for medium tyres at the end of lap 18. Hamilton then ceded the lead to Verstappen at the end of lap 19, with the Briton also stopping for medium compound rubber.

Hamilton emerged in P6 behind Leclerc but by lap 25 he was past the Monegasque and closing on fourth-placed Daniel, who was just under six seconds ahead.

Vettel then pitted at the end of lap 27 and the German also opted for medium tyres before rejoining in ninth place. Freed from behind the Ferrari, Daniel moved up to third and set the fastest lap of the race to that point, a 1:12.919. And when Räikkönen pitted the Australian was promoted to second place behind his team-mate.

The Red Bulls began to pull out a lead from those who has already pitted but Verstappen was unable to build a big enough margin before his own stop, and when he rejoined on lap 35 he was in third place, 3.0s behind Hamilton.

Verstappen was armed with newer rubber and greater pace than the champion, however, and as the pair arrowed towards the start-finish line to begin lap 39 he eased past Hamilton.

The Dutchman’s lead wouldn’t last long, however. At the start of lap 44, he went to lap Ocon, making a move down the inside of the Force India. Despite being lapped, Ocon protected his position and tried to deny the pass.

Verstappen turned in to take the second corner and the pair collided. Verstappen was sent into a spin and sustained serious floor damage in the incident, while Hamilton was allowed to sweep past into the lead. Ocon was later handed a 10-second stop/go penalty for causing the collision.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, was having his own close calls, twice banging wheels with Vettel as he tried to get past the Ferrari. At the second attempt the Australian won out and he climbed fifth place behind Bottas.

Both Red Bulls began to close on the cars ahead, with Verstappen edging to within two seconds of Hamilton and Ricciardo getting inside DRS range of Räikkönen but neither could make a move stick in the closing stages and after 71 laps Hamilton crossed the line to take the second Brazilian Grand Prix win of his career, ahead of Max, with Räikkönen third ahead of Ricciardo.

Bottas was left with fifth place ahead of Vettel, while Leclerc finished in a best-of-the-rest seventh place. Grosjean took eighth place for Haas ahead of team-mate Magnussen and the final point on offer went to Pérez.




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A shoving match ensued when Max Verstappen confronted Esteban Ocon after the Force India punted him out of the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix when being lapped, costing the Red Bull driver what was a sure victory on the day.

Verstappen was livid as he spun out and was forced to watch Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes flash past to claim the lead and eventual victory at Interlagos. The Dutchman recovered, flipping the bird at Ocon in the process.

But the car was damaged and although he delivered a gutsy fight back, he simply ran out of laps and had to settle for second.

He fumed on the slow down lap: “I hope I can’t find him now in the paddock because that guy has a fucking problem. What a [long beep].”

In parc ferme the Red Bull driver added, “We did everything today. He [Ocon] was such an idiot he gets taken out while he’s being lapped. I think the race was better than expected for us today. The car worked well. The strategy worked well. I’m happy with second, but we should have won today.”

Verstappen then sought out Ocon and what ensued was a shoving match between the pair in the weigh-room as shown in the video below.

Asked about the tete-a-tete Verstappen said, I don’t really have lots to comment on that, except that he was being a pussy.”

“We are all passionate about the sport, but it would be odd if I shook his hand. I don’t care what people say. I’m a winner. To get taken out by that and to get a stupid response from their side, I was not happy about that.”

Both drivers were summoned to the stewards for alleged breach of Article 12.1.1.c) of the FIA International Sporting Code which states: Act prejudicial to the interests of any Competition or to the interests of motor sport generally, physical contact with another competitor in FIA garage.


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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 11: Second place finisher Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 11, 2018 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Will Taylor-Medhurst/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1XFZ7HEKW1W11 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

The high profile altercation between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix, was investigated by FIA race stewards who deemed that the Red Bull driver overreacted in the drivers’ weigh-in room and have ordered him to two days of community service for losing his temper.

Verstappen was leading at Interlagos when Ocon tried to unlap himself and the two cars banged together, the impact sending the Dutchman into a spin that cost him a second successive victory.

The Red Bull driver, who had called the Frenchman an idiot over the radio among other more colourful language, was then seen on television angrily confronting Ocon and giving him a shove.

The 21-year-old was unrepentant when asked about it afterwards, “We are passionate about the sport, right? It would be odd if I would shake his hand.”

Verstappen dismissed those who said he had taken things too far, adding: “I don’t care what those people say, “I am a winner. To get taken out like that and then to get a stupid response from his side as well, I was unhappy about that.”

Video footage of Verstappen confronting Ocon after the race went viral and as result the pair were called into the FIA Stewards’ room afterwards to discuss the incident for which Ocon was penalised during the race.

But the Dutchman, clearly angered by losing out on a race which was his to win, was fuming and after confronting Ocon, was subdued on the podium walking off before the celebration champagne was sprayed.

The FIA race stewards’ report:

The stewards reviewed video evidence from the FIA’s CCTV Cameras and heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen), the driver of car 31 (Esteban Ocon) and the team representatives.

The driver, Max Verstappen entered the FIA Weigh Bridge Garage, proceeded directly to driver Esteban Ocon and following a few words, started an altercation, pushing or hitting Ocon forcefully several times in the chest.

The stewards held a hearing, in which both drivers acted appropriately and cooperated with the Stewards. The Stewards understood from Max Verstappen that he was extremely upset by the incident on track during the race and accepted his explanation that it was not his original intent to strike Ocon, but that he was “triggered” and caused him to loose his temper.

While sympathetic to Verstappen’s passion, the Stewards determined that it is the obligation of sportsmen at this level to act appropriately and as role models to other drivers at all levels and found that Verstappen failed in this respect.

The Stewards therefore ordered that Max Verstappen is required to perform two (2) days of public service at the direction of the FIA within six months of the incident. (Penalty under Art. 12.3.1.c of the FIA International Sporting Code.)

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Mercedes clinches fifth successive F1 Constructors’ crown


Mercedes has clinched its fifth straight Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship with one round of the 2018 season to spare.

Mercedes arrived at the Brazilian Grand Prix 55 points clear and needed to avoid being out-scored by Ferrari by 13 points in order to wrap up the crown before Abu Dhabi’s season finale.

That was achieved as Lewis Hamilton took victory in a dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix, putting the crown out of Ferrari's reach.

It is only the second time in history that a team has won five straight Constructors’ titles, following on from Ferrari’s six in a row from 1999 to 2004.

Mercedes’ fifth crown moves it above Red Bull on the all-time list, behind Ferrari (16), Williams (9), McLaren (8) and Lotus (7).

The title was not awarded during Mercedes’ previous Formula 1 era in the mid-1950s, having been officially introduced in 1958.

Mercedes returned to Formula 1 as an engine supplier in the mid-1990s, enjoying success with McLaren, before acquiring the title-winning Brawn outfit at the end of 2009.

But the squad was still feeling the effects of Honda’s withdrawal in late 2008, with staff numbers significantly reduced and purse strings tightened, leaving Mercedes in the midfield group.

Nico Rosberg took a handful of podiums in 2010 but it took a further two years for Mercedes to triumph, with Rosberg victorious in China, and Michael Schumacher quickest during qualifying at Monaco.


Mercedes signed Lewis Hamilton to partner Rosberg for 2013 and the team improved to finish runner-up to Red Bull, with three wins, while Toto Wolff arrived in place of Ross Brawn to lead the operation.

Mercedes targeted the new-for-2014 engine formula as an opportunity to flex its muscles and it exerted a level of dominance rarely seen before in Formula 1.

In both 2014 and 2015 Mercedes swept to the Constructors’ Crown with 16 wins and 18 pole positions from 19 Grands Prix, setting new points records in the process.

An expanded 2016 calendar facilitated Mercedes in setting more records – Hamilton and Rosberg combined to take 19 wins and 20 pole positions from 21 races, and racked up 765 points from a possible 903.

Overhauled aerodynamic regulations for 2017 brought Ferrari, and to a lesser extent Red Bull, back into the equation, while Mercedes also faced internal reshuffling as Valtteri Bottas replaced the retired Rosberg and James Allison arrived in place of Paddy Lowe.

Mercedes relinquished the lead of the Constructors’ battle for the first time since the 2014 season-opener but bounced back to get on top of its ‘diva’ W08, aided by mistakes and reliability setbacks for Ferrari.

Mercedes wound up with 12 wins and 15 poles from the 20 Grands Prix, as Bottas added his name to the list of Formula 1 race winners.

A similar narrative has unfolded this season with Mercedes ultimately easing clear of Ferrari after the summer break to take a fifth straight crown in the battle between the teams.

It is good news for the 1500 Mercedes employees who are in line to receive a substantial bonus – as they have done annually since 2014.

Mercedes’ Constructors’ success meant it has achieved the ‘double’ in each season of the hybrid era, with Hamilton (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) and Rosberg (2016) having secured the respective Drivers’ title.

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Ferrari reveals sensor problem hurt Vettel's race

Ferrari reveals sensor problem hurt Vettel's race

Sebastian Vettel’s Brazilian Grand Prix was compromised by a sensor problem that forced him to run different setting and made his Ferrari Formula 1 car difficult to drive.
Vettel started on the front row of the grid at Interlagos but was passed by Valtteri Bottas into the first corner, by Max Verstappen a few laps later and then fell to fifth when he ran wide after locking up at Turn 4.

He eventually finished a distant sixth after being overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo and making a second pitstop.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said after the race: “Right from the formation lap, we became aware of a problem with a sensor on Seb’s car.

“This meant that, for the whole race, he had to run different settings to those we would have normally used and that made the car difficult to drive.”

Vettel said he was not sure how much of a difference the sensor made and that in the car he tried to do everything he could to work around it.

Having started on soft tyres to Mercedes’ and Red Bull’s supersofts, Ferrari was declared the “favourite” ahead of the grand prix.

Vettel briefly thought his team was “quids in” when his rivals had a brief drop in performance early in the stint but realised it was short-lived and said he expected his rivals to suffer more on the softer compounds.

“The supersoft didn’t struggle enough, let’s put it that way,” said Vettel.

“You could see they had two or three laps where they were in some pain and we thought now we are quids in, but they were faster before and after that phase.

“They were fast, the supersoft was fast, faster arguably, and lasted long enough.

“I don’t think before the race anyone thought a supersoft-soft was feasible but it was actually no problem.”

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Alonso, Vandoorne punished for ignoring blue flags

Alonso, Vandoorne punished for ignoring blue flags

McLaren Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne have both received points on their licences for ignoring blue flags while being lapped during the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The pair were also given five-second time penalties. Alonso's was awarded during the race, and demoted him from 16th to 17th.

Vandoorne's penalty was only decided after a post-race hearing in which an incident where he blocked eighth-place finisher Romain Grosjean's Haas while battling with Lance Stroll was discussed.

The penalty will drop Vandoorne from 14th to 15th, elevating Esteban Ocon.

Both McLaren drivers received two penalty points on their licences, taking their tallies to three, but this punishment will prove irrelevant because neither will race in F1 in the 2019 season.

Alonso and Vandoorne had started only 17th and 20th, and spent most of the race battling with the two Williams drivers and the recovering Ocon.

Vandoorne overtook his teammate, Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin on track to secure 14th on the road in a performance he declared himself extremely proud of.

"Maybe no one noticed again, but I think it was a great race again today," said Vandoorne.

"We did a good job in the first stint, made the tyres last a little bit longer than the others, came out on the fresh tyres, had a good fight with Fernando and from there on we did a good race.

"We managed to overtake the Williams as well.

"It might not look on the timing board like it's been a great race, but I feel like today I maximised everything so I'm happy."

Alonso's strategy of a very early first pitstop backfired, not helped by a slow stop, and though he was able to repass both Williams following a late second stop for new supersofts he then lost one position to Sirotkin again due to his penalty.

"It was tough today," Alonso admitted. "We gambled on the strategy a little bit, stopping very early. It didn't work.

"With the medium tyres we blistered the tyres and we were not competitive in the second half of the race. The pitstop was not clean and smooth so we lost a bit of time in there.

"Overall we've been too slow all weekend. We didn't have the pace to be in the top 10 so whatever strategy, whatever we tried I think the points were unreachable."

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Horner: Ocon "lucky to get away with a push" in Verstappen row

Horner: Ocon

Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner has defended Max Verstappen over his physical altercation with Esteban Ocon after the collision that cost him Brazilian Grand Prix victory.
Verstappen was pushed into a spin by Ocon's lapped Force India while leading at Interlagos, demoting him to second behind Lewis Hamilton.

After the race an enraged Verstappen was filmed shoving Ocon when they encountered each other while being weighed.

"I think Max has been pretty restrained," Horner told Sky Sports F1 when quizzed about the shoving incident.

"It's cost him a grand prix victory. He's driven his heart out with a damaged car.

"Esteban was lucky to get away with a push, to be honest with you. Emotions are running high.

"I told him 'just get yourself under control' on the cool-down lap because he's lost a victory through no fault of his own today and it's hugely frustrating for him and for the team.

"We'd done everything right, we had Mercedes on the ropes, we'd passed Ferrari. Hugely frustrating for everybody to lose a victory through a backmarker."

Ocon had been coming through the midfield after starting 18th following a grid penalty for a gearbox change, and had just pitted for fresh supersofts when he tried to un-lap himself from Verstappen.

"It's clear that as a lapped car you shouldn't interfere with the leader," Horner added. "What on earth Ocon was thinking about there just beggars belief."

Asked if Ocon's tyre situation meant he was faster than Verstappen when they collided, Horner replied: "They're quick on the straight, we know that. But why on earth is he racing the leader?

"He's a lap down. He doesn't have the pace. He's chucked the car up the inside there. It just makes absolutely no sense at all."

Verstappen continued after the collision and closed in on Hamilton again, but could not retake the lead.

His car had sustained significant damage to its floor in the impact with Ocon.

"To actually close on Lewis again with half the floor missing, the amount of downforce he's lost is enormous," said Horner.

"He just drove the wheels off the car trying to put Lewis under pressure.

"We could see that front tyre of Lewis's opening up. Unfortunately with the wounded car he just didn't quite have the pace to catch him."

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