For the penultimate round of the 2019 Formula One World Championship this weekend, teams are in South America for the Brazilian Grand Prix, held at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, known to most fans as Interlagos.
And even though Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton was crowned champion at the previous round in Austin, Texas, the Brazilian race is always an exciting one. The compact layout of Interlagos means there’s generally quite a lot of overtaking, with drivers also having to frequently go off the racing line. It’s corner after corner of action.
The track 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.
It runs alongside the Avenida Interlagos, in a suburb of Sao 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.
Weather can be an issue, although the current forecast calls for fine conditions during both Saturday's qualifying session and Sunday's race. And like in Mexico, altitude is another factor teams have to be mindful of. The track 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 C1, C2 and C3 tires. This is the hardest possible combination of tires, and a step harder from what was chosen last year.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton's tally in the 2019 Drivers' Championship stands at 381 points. Fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is second with 314 points and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is third with 249 points. In the Constructors' Championship, world champion Mercedes enjoys a massive 695 points versus the 479 of Ferrari and 366 of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.