The drivers’ championship and constructors’ championship are both settled, but there is still plenty to fight for as Formula arrives at its penultimate destination, Interlagos in Brazil.
Firstly, there’s pride. Ferrari imploded once they arrived in Asia, but they will want to lay down markers in the final two rounds of the season. Red Bull will also want to maintain their recent strong form. Mercedes will want to remind everyone why they are top dogs. For drivers Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, the two will want to emphasise their skills and motivation, despite their title battle being resolved.
For other teams, there is still a lot to play for. The top four are settled – Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Force India have locked in those places – further back, the battle for fifth, and the important prize money it represents, is still very much on. Williams currently occupy that spot on 76 points, putting them comfortably clear of Toro Rosso, who are on 53 points. However, one good race for Toro Rosso could see that gap reduced ahead of the final race, whilst Renault (48 points) and Haas (47 points) won’t have given up the fight either. They are all vying for position, so we could see some juicy scraps before the season concludes.
Brazil will offer a passionate test. The atmosphere is usually incredible, the weather is not consistent and the track combines some raw power with dramatic curves and turns that can out-fox even the most experienced racers. Diving downhill into the Senna Ss and snapping out onto Reta Oposta is one of the most exciting portions of any circuit anywhere in the world, with turn 4 being a surprisingly tight affair – it is all too easy to run wide here. The sequence from 6-12 is going to suit the Red Bulls, with a combo of slow and medium speed corners that just keep on coming. It’s a good track that has seen some high drama (including the controversial title decider in 2012, with Vettel winning his third title that year), and the two nerve-wracking deciders in 2007 and 2008.
Finally, this will be Felipe Massa’s final Brazilian Grand Prix. It was meant to be last year, and Massa actually had quite the emotional send off then, but he stayed on an extra year at the request of Williams. This time though, looks set to actually be his final Brazilian race. It would be fitting if he could get on the podium, though it seems unlikely.