The penultimate round of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship takes us to the legendary Autódromo José Carlos Pace, home of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
And even though Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton was already crowned with this year's title at the previous round in Mexico, the Brazilian race is always an exciting one. And don't forgot the 2018 Constructors' title is still up for grabs.
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace, more commonly referred to as Interlagos, is one of the oldest in F1, having hosted its first world championship grand prix in 1973. And although it’s been altered and made safer since that first race, it retains much of its original character.
The track runs alongside the Avenida Interlagos, in a suburb of São Paulo, and is known to offer spectacular views such as the one of the esses named in honor of Ayrton Senna that comes at the end of the main straight. Visibility for spectators is also excellent as the whole track is set in a natural bowl.
It’s a rather dated facility, although the infrastructure was recently upgraded. Its 2.6 miles contains 15 turns and remains bumpy, undulating and narrow, though it's nevertheless quite a quick lap: the pole time for last year’s race, achieved by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, was just over 1:08.
Weather can be an issue. According to the forecast, there is a chance of rain for Saturday's qualifying session, and here the downpours are usually torrential. Sunday's race thankfully is meant to be dry. Like the previous race in Mexico, altitude is another factor teams have to be mindful of. The circuit is situated 2,625 feet above sea level and the thinner air has a bearing on all areas of car performance, particularly aerodynamics and cooling.
Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and supersoft compounds for the race.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton sits on an 358 points versus the 294 of Vettel and 236 of fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen. As mentioned above the Constructors’ Championship is still up for grabs, with Mercedes currently in the lead with 585 points versus the 530 of Ferrari and 362 of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Last year's winner in Brazil was Vettel.