Interlagos, Brazil Overview -F1

Mon 8 Nov 2010

The main focus this weekend was, would Fernando Alonso win the championship in Brazil ? There was however a surprise in a rain hit qualifying when Nico Hulkenberg managed to find 2.5 seconds in his last few laps and takes pole position, with Sebastian Vettel over a second behind.  Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton took the next two positions on the grid, with Alonso in fifth.  Jenson Button didn’t make it through to the final qualifying session and languished back in eleventh.  This could be an interesting start with the top four title challengers all gunning down the straight into the first corner behind a rookie. So to the start.  Both Vettel and Hulkenberg made good starts. Nico tried to pull across in front of his fellow German but Seb held the inside line for the left hand corner, that benefits the second place starter.  Webber then manages to slip past Nico on turn 4 so it’s a Red Bull one-two by the end of the first lap. Hamilton and Alonso were battle for fourth, swapping places a number of times, until Alonso led his fellow championship competitor.  Button gained a couple of places at the start but is overtaken by an on-form Michael Schumacher. For laps 4,5 & 6 the Hulk defended against Alonso and was not letting him through that easily, but on lap 7 the inevitable happened as Nando slipped through on turn 6.  This meant that Hulkenberg had Hamilton to deal with.  Nico however held him back for six laps before he got through, but by this time Alonso had managed to create a decent gap. Button came in for an early tyre change on lap 11 and came out in eleventh.  Massa was next in but there was a problem, as a lap later he was in again as one of the front wheels was not put on correctly.  Jenson overtakes Petrov to take tenth.  His team mate Hamilton was beginning to complain about a lack of grip, so on lap 20 he made his stop and managed to come out in front of Jenson, despite a couple of good laps from the fellow Brit. A couple of laps later and Alonso was in, who managed to make it out ahead of Rosberg.  Both Vettel and Webber also had clean stops, and retained positions – both Red Bulls were then storming, swapping fastest laps. On lap 35 Rueben Barrichello’s Interlagos bad luck continued as he clipped Jamie Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso in an overtaking maneuver, and gains a front left puncture.  Meanwhile Lewis is still not in a happy mood as he now complains his F-duct isn’t working, but his engineer and the timing tell a different story as his McLaren is currently fastest on the straights. By lap 45 Alonso was not able to gain any headway on Webber, however the Australian was just 1.5 seconds behind Vettel as they weaved there way through the back markers.  There are many nervous conversations on the Red Bull pit wall. Hamilton was reporting his tyres were loosing grip.  A lap later Liuzzi goes wide on turn 2 and hits the tyres, meaning the Safety Car is released whilst it’s removed, giving Hamilton the opportunity to get harder compound tyres.  Button was also in but for super softs – totally different strategies there then !  Due to the time it takes the Safety Car to pick up the leaders, and all the back markers, they both come out in the same position.  Rosberg also pits but there is confusion over the tyre type, and he is back in a lap later to change again, but also manages to retain position somehow. The restart was confusing due to the race positions being very different to the cars on the track, and everyone was fighting for position, as the midfield cars and back markers are having to move out of the way for the leaders.  There’s a lot of blue flag waving, but nobody was sure who it was aimed at !  It turns out one was aimed at Heidfeld as he later gets a drive through penalty for not obeying the flag.  Vettel took advantage of the restart as he pulled away from Webber and by lap 61 was 5.0 seconds ahead. Massa and Buemi have a coming to, but nothing serious.  Felipe, who has not featured in this race after the tyre problems, looks to have resigned himself to not gaining any points and a few laps later he also clips Petrov, but both continue. By now Alonso has closed the gap on Webber to just 2.4 seconds but struggles to get any closer. The race finishes with Vettel winning with Webber second and Alonso third.  Hamilton took fourth, Button fifth and the final points are taken by Rosberg, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Kubica and Kobayashi.

Which one will be world champion ?

Red Bull win the Manufacturers Championship, but the Drivers goes to the final race. The current world champion Button is now out of the tile hunt, however the other four still remain in the fight.  Hamilton needs a miracle with 222 points, whilst Alonso with 246, Webber with 238 and Vettel on 231, are all still in with a shout. A final thought… if Alonso doesn’t finish in Abu Dhabi and Vettel and Webber finish one-two, the Red Bulls drivers will have equal points, but Seb will take the championship on race wins.

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