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F12017: Brazilian Gp Preview – Free-for-all at Iconic Interlagos

For all the innovation that Formula 1 continues to deliver there are some things in the sport that, untouched by too much change, remain and embodies the very essence of the sport. One such example is the Brazilian grand prix and the famed Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

For decade after decade the Interlagos based circuit has delivered on everything a Formula 1 race should be. Through scorching temperatures and rain-soaked afternoons the Brazilian fan’s euphoria for F1 has always been palpable. And it has, since 1973, been driven by some of the most dramatic and memorable races in the history of the sport.

There have been many highly emotional Brazilian grand prix throughout its history but none more so than Ayrton Senna’s majestic 1991 win in the McLaren after which he was so physically exhausted that he had to be extricated from the cockpit. In the decades since there’s been no let up on the drama with several of the most theatrical moments coming in the 21st century. In 2005 Fernando Alonso became, at the time, the youngest world champion and two years later, in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen won his world title in what had been, arguably, one of the most fascinating championship battles of all time. A year later thousands of Brazilian hearts sank as Lewis Hamilton snatched the title from local-favourite Felipe Massa, literally, on the last corner of the last lap whereas the 2012 grand prix marked the final race of the great Michael Schumacher storied career.

Felipe Massa 2008The circuit, at roughly 4.3 kilometers, isn’t a long one and a lap time below seventy seconds is likely, especially for quali. Besides having the iconic, and tight, Senna S as Turn One its three sectors stand in contract to each other. A strait and several medium to high-speed corners dominate the first part of the lap while the middle sector is the more technical section before its capped by Junção, the final climb up the hill to the start/finish strait.

Despite not having a Brazilian world champion since Ayrton Senna the fans have shown a fanaticism for the sport and other Brazilian drivers as fervent as you’re likely to see anywhere in the world. One driver responsible for inspiring said passion is Felipe Massa. The Williams driver has announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 season making this weekend his final Brazilian grand prix. Though never a world champion Massa has inspired countless fans, colleagues, and contemporaries with his incredible talent, generosity, passion, and sportsmanship. Obrigado Felipe.

Nico Rosberg_Brazil 2014The fact that most positions in both the drivers and constructors championships have been settled adds a further element to this weekend’s Brazilian grand prix. No longer do teams such as Force India have to impose team orders on Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Now they’ll be free to race and bang wheels to their heart’s content and this directive, pretty much, goes for everyone up and down the pitlane too.

While the forecast predicts a dry race weekend the weather for the Brazilian grand prix has always been, at best, uncertain.

One thing that is a certainty however is that there has rarely been a dull Brazilian grand prix and it shouldn’t be any different in 2017.

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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