Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interlagos, the end of the F1 season

Unlike the past 4 years, Formula 1's visit to Interlagos does not have any driver's championship implications riding on it. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because most of the top guys can pretty much race with no extra burden.

Of course there are minor placings to be sorted out, but any of the heavy hitters involved in those already have their seats confirmed for next year.

The highest profile score to settle is the battle for 2nd place between Mark Webber, Jensen Button, and Fernando Alonso. We see Jensen keeping his present slot at 2nd in the title chase.

As for the win...Sebastian Vettel is the favorite. Given that he is looking to take hold of the record for the most pole positions in a season for himself (currently tied with Nigel Mansel with 14), we wonder if he was too hard on his tires during qualifying in Abu Dhabi and did his tires in for the race. The drivers reaching Q3 start the race with their Q3 tires.

No one will mention that possibility of that being what happened, because he wants that record, and with nothing to loose the team doesn't mind letting him be a bit daring in qualifying.

There are other actors who will be playing for the win here, if Vettel does not get all his ducks aligned. In order of likeliness here they are:

Lewis Hamilton: he has had a turbulent season, but he is still Lewis Hamilton one of the fastest and decisive drivers around. Just the thought of at least finishing with more wins than Jensen Button can make him rise to the occasion; everybody needs a consolation prize. If he is fully focused, the race can be his with or without Vettel in contention. He has nothing to loose.

Jensen Button: He has a bit of a reason to drive a calculated race; he wants to remain 2n in the standings. As long as he finishes in the top 3 there's nothing anyone can do to unseat him.

Fernando Alonso: Arguably the prototype Formula 1 driver and team leader. Despite his various skills, the Ferrari lags a bit behind the other cars here.

Mark Webber: We don't see him hauling in either Fernando Alonso nor Jensen Button. However like Hamilton he has nothing to loose, and he dearly wants a win this season. He can take more risks than Button, but his fortunes have not been the greatest.

Felipe Massa: Very unexpected, but this is a sport and a hometown hero always has a chance of performing a miracle by feeding off the cheers.