The Drivers’ World Championship was decided in Mexico, but nobody in the Formula One pit-lane is taking their eyes of victory as the penultimate race of the year takes place in Brazil.
Lewis Hamilton sealed his fifth world title last month, but he is not finished and wants to end the season in style.
Hamilton is desperate to make sure his Mercedes team seal the Constructors’ title ahead of rivals Ferrari.
“I still have a mission here and I still want to win,” said Hamilton. “That hasn’t changed. The last race was a tough one to swallow and probably the winter will be as well. But giving up is not an option.
“This [constructors’ championship] is the most important thing. When we speak to the team at the start of the year, this is the number one priority. There are over a thousand people who work at the Mercedes factory and this is the title which means the most to them.”
Hamilton does not have a great record around Interlagos, but Sebastian Vettel does having taken the chequered flag in Brazil three times, and Ferrari will be hoping for the win – but the German admits they are already looking at how they can improve in 2019.
“I think something went wrong, as in we didn’t go and develop something in the right direction. So we missed something, not on purpose and not because something was by default set wrong,” he said.
“So it’s up to us to find what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s as simple as that, but not so simple to find and fix it as it sounds.”
— Autódromo Interlagos (@InterlagosTrack) November 7, 2018
Ferrari trail Mercedes by 55 points, with 86 still available – so to take the issue to the final race in Abu Dhabi they would need to beat them in Brazil by 13 points.
Red Bull, who dominated for much of the weekend in Mexico, do not believe that they have much of a chance of a repeat in Brazil.
“Interlagos doesn’t suit our car that well,” said Max Verstappen. “But after finishing on the podium there in 2016 and winning last week in Mexico, anything can happen in the race.
“I’ve had some great battles and overtakes there and I’m hoping for another exciting race.”
BRAZIL GRAND PRIX – ROUND 20
Location: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos
Track size: 2.6 miles with 15 turns
Number of laps: 71
2017 winner: Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
Lap record holder: 1:11.044 Max Verstappen (2017)
Australian Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Bahrain Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
China Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Spain Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Monaco Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Canada Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
France Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Austria Grand Prix – Winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
British Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
German Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Hungary Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Belgium Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Italy Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Singapore Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Russia Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Japan Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
USA Grand Prix – Winner: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
Mexico Grand Prix – Winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 358
2 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 294
3 Kimi Räikkönen FIN FERRARI 236
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 227
5 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 216
6 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 146
7 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 69
8 Sergio Perez MEX FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 57
9 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 53
10 Fernando Alonso ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 50
11 Esteban Ocon FRA FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 49
12 Carlos Sainz ESP RENAULT 45
13 Romain Grosjean FRA HAAS FERRARI 31
14 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 29
15 Charles Leclerc MON SAUBER FERRARI 27
16 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL MCLAREN RENAULT 12
17 Marcus Ericsson SWE SAUBER FERRARI 9
18 Lance Stroll CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 6
19 Brendon Hartley NZL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 4
20 Sergey Sirotkin RUS WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1
1 MERCEDES 585
2 FERRARI 530
3 RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 362
4 RENAULT 114
5 HAAS FERRARI 84
6 MCLAREN RENAULT 62
7 FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 47
8 SAUBER FERRARI 36
9 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 33
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 7
EX FORCE INDIA SAHARA 0
We also spoke with Alistair Gill of Unibet to get their views on the GP
With 4th place enough last time out in Mexico to wrap up the Drivers Championship for Lewis Hamilton, there is a fear the last 2 races could be slight damp squibs. However the Constructors Championship is still alive and kicking, with Mercedes hoping to wrap up another double and Ferrari desperate to salvage a season which looked so promising before the break, but somewhat fell apart after.
At Evens to take pole and 6/4 to win the race, Vettel is favourite for both, followed of course by the newly crowned champion, at 5/4 and 2/1 respectively. Any time Hamilton is not favourite for pole I would suggest it represents at least some value as the man is phenomenal at putting together single lap times.
Mercedes have a strong recent record in Brazil having won 3 of the last 4 runnings. However the one they missed out on was last year, when Vettel took the win for Ferrari, so it’s tough to pick between the top 2. But, for anyone looking for a bit of a bigger price, as one of the most exciting and unpredictable races of the calendar and always liable to throw up a bit of a twist, Daniel Ricciardo to reach the podium at 5/2 in his penultimate race for Red Bull could, given a bit of luck and surprise in-running, look a decent enough price.