This is already the penultimate round of this 2019 Formula 1 season. If the drivers and manufacturers are already played before the Brazilian Grand Prix, behind the battle rages between Ferrari and Red Bull. Author of pole position yesterday, Max Verstappen will try to win a win at Interlagos, a year after a collision that cost him the victory. Follow the race live.
Pilot and constructor titles attributed to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, there are still reasons to follow the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the F1 World Championship, from Friday to Sunday.
THE QUALIFICATIONS. Brazilian GP: pole position for Verstappen at Interlagos
Three drivers for a third place
If the first two places are assured to the British – now six times world champion and a record length of Michael Schumacher – and his teammate Valtteri Bottas, the third remains within reach of Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen (fourteen points) and Sebastian Vettel (five lengths behind the Red Bull driver). However, on the starting grid of the Interlagos circuit, the Monegasque Ferrari will be penalized for a change of engine beyond the quota allowed per season, following an oil leak suffered in free practice in the United States. His opponents Dutch and German have an opening.
Positions that are expensive at builders
In the constructors, the first three places are assured to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, in that order. Behind, positions are not fixed and the stakes are high for mid-table teams. The final classification of the season determines the share of income generated by F1 paid to the stables according to a basic principle: the better they are ranked, the higher their premiums. With 38 points ahead of Renault and consistently better, McLaren seems promised in fourth place. The French manufacturer, fifth, has an advance of 18 units on Racing Point, sixth, and 19 on Toro Rosso, seventh, who engage in the fight the tightest. Seven lengths separate Alfa Romeo, eighth, from Haas, ninth. Williams appears doomed to stay tenth and last.
>> Formula 1. All about the Brazilian GP, mythical race of the calendar
Ferrari to extinguish suspicions
After his return to form after the summer break, Ferrari has stuck in Austin: Leclerc could not do better than fourth and Vettel lacked even more pace before giving up on break suspension. In Brazil, their boss Mattia Binotto expects to find "a normal level of performance". "It would be important to confirm that our car is progressing and take advantage of this momentum during the winter" to prepare 2020, he says. This would especially allow the Scuderia to sweep suspicions on the legality of the engine advantage it has since the GP of Belgium on 1 September. Its US underperformance came after the International Automobile Federation (FIA) issued a technical directive clarifying how to measure the authorized fuel flow. A clarification requested by Red Bull, who does not really hide his doubts about the Scuderia.
Redemption for Verstappen?
The 2018 edition of the GP remains marked by the clash between Verstappen and the French Esteban Ocon, which cost the Red Bull driver victory, unnecessarily aggressive when overtaking while he had won race. After this incident, the Dutchman seemed to have calmed down to relapses in the second half of the 2019 season. What will it be on Sunday?
>> Formula 1. Brazilian GP: Charles Leclerc penalized with 10 places on the grid
Mercedes without his boss
For the first time since 2013, when he took office, Mercedes director Toto Wolff misses a GP. With all the sporting goals completed, the Austrian stays in Europe to "focus on other issues". It will be interesting to see how the Silver Arrows behave in Sao Paulo without their captain, craftsman of their continued success since 2014.