The penultimate round of the 2014 championship does not have the ability to decide the driver’s title. However, the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit is one steeped in some of the most dramatic formula 1 history.
Around its 4.309 kilometers this track has re-written many a driver’s fate. There isn’t a need to look too far back to find these extraordinary moments. The 2012 race was described by Sebastian Vettel as one of the toughest of his career. The afternoon oozed tension and amid changing weather conditions, safety-cars, a litany of pitstops the Red Bull driver was also involved in a collision. Seemingly on course for his third consecutive title the German found himself pointing the wrong way on the first lap of the race. Vettel staged a gallant comeback which was ultimately enough to clinch the title.
For a brief period in 2008 Ferrari’s Felipe Massa thought himself to have won the world championship. But in the most nail-biting finish in decades Lewis Hamilton scraped to the championship title on the very last lap, into the final turn, by overtaking Toyota’s Timo Glock. A year prior, in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen had, mathematically, the least amount of chance of winning the title. With only ten points on offer the Finn was seven adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton. However, the spectacular drama that defines the Brazilian GP saw the Iceman theatrically snatch the title from McLaren as Hamilton was unable to recover from a technical issue suffered in the race.
So you see there is much to suggest that the 2014 Brazilian GP is going to be anything but straightforward. Hamilton starts the weekend with a healthy lead over teammate Nico Rosberg but it, literally, can be wiped out in matter of seconds. In saying this, the pressure still resides in the Rosberg side of the garage. The German driver will be desperate to beat his teammate at this race and he must. There is no alternative for Rosberg this weekend. Though Abu Dhabi has the gimmicky double-points on offer there is little doubt that Rosberg would not want to put all his eggs in that foolish basket.
The only thing Rosberg can do this weekend is his best. The question remains whether Rosberg’s best is enough to beat his teammate who is on a roll of five consecutive grand prix victories. More significantly, Hamilton undoubtedly holds the psychological edge; the dismissive overtake in Austin for the lead of the race ensured that. Yet, this is still Brazil and here dramatic turnarounds have never been in short supply.
The circuit itself is quite technical with a mixture of different corners littered throughout the undulating landscape of its Sao Paulo location. “It’s a tricky circuit to get right but that makes it all the more exciting; there’s more opportunities to overtake there than at other tracks, and the twisty infield section towards the end of the lap is a real challenge as you’re constantly on the limit trying not to outbrake yourself, so when you get it spot on it’s really rewarding,” says Jenson Button.
The weather in these parts tends towards the extreme too. Here, track temperatures of 63 degrees Celcius have been recorded while other weekends have been blighted by monsoon levels of rain. For the 2014 Brazilian GP, the forecast predicts a mostly overcast weekend with the possibility of showers and temperatures in the early twenties.
It’s bumpy, it’s technical, the weather is changeable and something dramatic is bound to happen. It can only be Brazil’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.