With hardly any time to recover from the Mexican GP, the nineteenth round of the season is already upon us. The World Championship will make its third and last stop of the American Continent this weekend to celebrate the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix 2021 (November 12-14).
After the pandemic forced its absence last year, Formula One returns to the legendary Jose Pace Circuit in Interlagos, Sao Paulo.
Brazil gears up for another intense battle for the title between Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes ).
Thanks to his recent triumph in Mexico, the Dutchman extended his lead of the standings to 19 points over the Briton. With only four races to go, the scales are starting to tip slightly to his side. The Briton, for his part, has no margin for error.
The altitude will play a role again
After Mexico, Interlagos is the circuit located at the second-highest altitude of the calendar, 765-meters above sea level, a factor which will again have an influence on the behaviour of the cars.
The turbos are placed under higher stress in order to compensate for the loss of power and the more deficient cooling, all of which will threaten the reliability of the vehicles.
The configuration of the short track itself, a combination of high and low-speed curves, top speed zones and a variety of slopes, make the São Paulo racetrack a true and extreme challenge.
Verstappen: Determined to deal another blow to the title race
Thanks to the current superiority of his RB16B, Max Verstappen has snatched two consecutive victories (Austin & Mexico) that have propped him up to a very comfortable position in the standings. On top of that, the Dutch driver is demonstrating very solid performances, without any sign of weakness or insecurity before his British rival.
Added to his great state of form is that of his teammate Checo Perez. Now fully in sync with his car, the Mexican has taken three consecutive podiums. Also in their favour is the fact that Red Bull’s track record in Interlagos, with a total of five victories (2009-11, 2013 and 2019), the latter by Verstappen.
Mercedes: On a mission to take back the lead
After its two consecutive defeats at the hands of its Austrian rivals, the German team must cut back some of the distance with the leaders at the individual standings.
But, in order to do this, they are gonna have to take some risks and give it all they have. Any mistake or setback, however, will get them further away from their eighth consecutive title.
After a dreadful start from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas left the door open for Verstappen to get ahead in Mexico, the Briton will have to make a superhuman effort to defeat the Dutchman from now on.
Otherwise, his chances of becoming the most successful F1 driver in history will start to vanish. Hamilton, a champion against the ropes, will be looking to repeat his triumphs of 2016 and 2018 in Brazil.
To complicate matters further, his teammate is not the most reliable of allies. During the course of the season, Bottas has alternated great performances with some incomprehensibly disappointing ones, such as the one last week at the Rodriguez Brothers’ Circuit.
Meanwhile, both leading teams are separated by a single point at the Constructors’ standings. There is maximum equality and tension between the two greatest.
Images of Brazilian F1 Grand Prix 2021: F1.com