Last Time Out:
Lewis Hamilton became only the third driver in history to win a fifth World Championship. Considering his form this season, there’s no reason he can’t outstrip Juan Manuel Fangio’s five titles, and threaten to catch Michael Schumacher’s incredible total of seven. Remarkable.
Max Verstappen franked his reputation as the talent of his generation with a fifth career win, although he’ll be irked by missing out on pole position by 0.024 of a second. He can still become the youngest ever pole sitter if successful in one of the last two races. However his best chance was Mexico.
Most interestingly, Mercedes seem to have fallen off form-wise. For one reason or another, Lewis Hamilton has never won a race after being crowned World Champion with races left on the calendar.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 29, 2018
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos is a unique circuit. Located 800m above sea-level, it’s the second highest race of the year, after Mexico. The high altitude will have a mitigating effect on the best engines on the grid.
It’s a narrow, gnarly, twisting track that rewards good cars and good drivers. Top speed is still a requirement with the long and bending main straight, however downforce is vital for the middle sector of the race.
We’re in a strange point in history at the moment in Formula One. There is no Brazilian driver on the grid. It happens, but rarely. Since Senna, there was Barrichello, Massa, Senna’s nephew Bruno, and many more besides. With Felipe Massa’s retirement last year we await the next gifted Brazilian. For now the obscenely passionate fans at Interlagos will have to cheer on a surrogate.
For my money, Sebastian Vettel holds the cards here this weekend. He drove excellently in surrendering his championship challenge at Mexico, his car was faster than Hamilton’s the last two grand prix, and Ferrari got the job done here last year.
It’s close mind. The high altitude makes Red Bull a factor for the race once again. They won’t be anywhere near as benefited as they were in the last race, but they’ll be closer than usual to the front. If it rains, which it very often does in Brazil, then expect Red Bull and both their drivers to show formidable pace.
Mercedes are the team with questions to answer. A crazy thing to say about a team about to claim the Constructors Championship. They have however, brought a poor car to two consecutive races, and they’ll see it as essential they get back on top of Ferrari and Red Bull before the off-season.
Sebastian Vettel for the race win in Brazil is good value for the reasons outlined above.
Race Win: Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen is worth considering as an alternative for the race win depending on rain. His price of 7/1 is too short if it stays dry, but back him and do a rain dance this weekend and he’ll look a bargin.
Race Win: Max Verstappen
Finally, I’m looking at our first driver retirement market. Toro Rosso are running a new spec Honda engine. It’s an impressive improvement in terms of power, but with the turbo working over time due to the high altitude, there’s more than a chance they go pop.
First Driver Retirement: Pierre Gasly