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It’s the penultimate race of the Formula One season and with both championships sewn up, there will be pride to play for at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Join The Roar for a live blog of the race from 4:10am AEDT.
Returning to Interlagos in the birthplace of Ayrton Senna in São Paulo, the small but demanding 4.3km circuit challenges the drivers to stay on their guard – negotiating the high-speeds and undulations.
The grid is a mixed one heading into the 71-lap race, at a time when minor placings are at stake particularly in the midfield, where constructor’s championships are vital for prize money.
Max Verstappen claimed his second career pole position ahead of three-time Brazilian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel, while the second row of the grid was locked out by the Silver Arrows.
Charles Leclerc starts down in fourteenth as a result of a grid penalty for exceeding his allocated amount of engines for the season, and also having set his fastest time in Q2 on the medium tyre – will be on a different strategy to the rest of the leaders, who start on the softs.
On race pace, Mercedes were still the benchmark followed by Red Bull and Ferrari still behind. Though Verstappen has proven to be quite the prodigy at this circuit, with his performance in 2016 and even leading last year – before that incident with the lapped Esteban Ocon.
It may all come down to how the teams go about their strategies, if Verstappen leads away at the start. Having both Mercedes cars together too, can play to their advantage in the pit-stops, though Red Bull also have Alexander Albon in fifth.
Only 1-point is separating Racing Point and Toro Rosso in their constructor’s championship battle for sixth and it is Pierre Gasly who is best placed to capitalise for the Red Bull junior team.
Haas got both their cars into the top ten, though will they again succumb to the same tyre wear issues that has plagued their season, with 7-points separating them from Alfa Romeo’s eighth place in the standings.
Alfa had their best qualifying in recent races, with Kimi Räikkönen to start from eighth and his re-signed teammate Antonio Giovinazzi twelfth and with a free choice of starting tyre.
Though with the faster cars of Renault and McLaren coming up from further down the order, the fight for points should be another exciting one.
As for the win, it looks to be a three-way contest between the top three teams. Though with 2018’s disappointment in mind, Verstappen could be on his way for a third win of the year.
Tune in on The Roar then from 4:10am AEDT for live blog coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix, as we ready for a showdown in São Paulo.