McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Humidity on Sunday will be a high 73 percent, while wind speed should be low.
Peak temperature during the race will only be around 72 degrees F (22 degrees C), which is relatively mild compared to the high temperature experienced during yesterday’s practice session. Teams were caught by surprise with track temps reading as high as 122 degrees F (50 degrees C) during the session.
It’s fair to say everyone in the paddock was shocked to find that it was rather cold at the United States Grand Prix last week, and at Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the much more familiar Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, everyone was surprised again, this time with the heat.
This was particularly troublesome for tire management: teams are running Pirelli’s P Zero Silver hard and P Zero White medium compounds, the same used at the USGP, but on a track surface that's much more abrasive and grippy. This means degradation is much higher.
So far during practice, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, last week’s winner, has been fastest. Just behind him in the time sheets is Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel, who looks safe to earn another Drivers’ Championship title, the German youngster's third in a row.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the fifth fastest during practice and the only other driver in contention for the title, was also outmatched by Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, and even his own team-mate Felipe Massa. Alonso is certainly aware that it will take some special circumstances to get him one point ahead of Vettel at the conclusion of the race.
Going into qualifying later today and Sunday’s eventual race, Vettel has a nice edge over Alonso thanks to his 273 points versus the Spaniard’s 260. Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen is a distant third with 206 points.
Red Bull Racing was awarded the title for the 2012 Constructors’ Championship at last week’s USGP after amassing an unbeatable 440 points. The race for second is still alive, with Ferrari’s 367 points putting it just ahead of McLaren, which has 353 points.