The championship might have already been decided, but there is little reason to believe the Brazilian Grand Prix will be a dud.
With little left to fight over, the final race of the season could take on an exhibition feel.
Lewis Hamilton claimed the 2017 Formula 1 world drivers’ championship, his fourth, at the Mexican Grand Prix to secure his place among the greats of the sport. While his elite status is questioned by some, largely because of his off-track antics and attitude in defeat, his ability behind the wheel cannot be called into question. He deserved the 2017 crown.
Sebastian Vettel now finds himself in a battle with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas for second in the standings. The Scuderia topped the leaderboard until the Italian Grand Prix weekend in September, so falling behind both Mercedes would be an embarrassment.
Williams driver Felipe Massa has announced his retirement from the sport. After retiring during last year’s rain-affected race and receiving a standing ovation from many in pit lane, the Brazilian hopes the see the checkered flag this time around.
Fans of Force India can now rejoice. Having been banned by the team from racing at close quarters after a few comings together, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez have been freed from their shackles and told that they are free to race. The decision comes after Force India secured position in the constructors’ championship standings, widely considered the best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
As well as allowing their drivers to race openly, the team will field GP3 champion George Russell his Formula 1 debut in FP1 at both Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The 19-year-old Briton is part of the Mercedes young driver setup and speculation would suggest that he is being considered to fill the role of third/reserve driver for 2017.
Brazilian Grand Prix in Numbers
1973 – The year of the first official Brazilian Grand Prix
44 – The number of official Brazilian Grands Prix
6 – Alain Prost (1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990) has the best success rate in Brazil
12 – McLaren is the most successful manufacturer in Brazil
71 – Number of laps in the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix
2.68 miles – Length of the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
1:11.473 – Fastest lap – Juan Pablo Montoya (2004)
141 feet – Elevation change
Lewis Hamilton’s victory from Nico Rosberg guaranteed the 2016 title fight continued into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but none of the post-race chatter concerned the title event. Instead, the paddock was enthused by the performance of Max Verstappen, who finished in third place, pulling off some of the best overtaking maneuvers of the season and saving a slide — which, with any other driver in the cockpit, would likely have ended in a massive shunt with the barriers.
Featuring several red flags, a crash from Haas driver Romain Grosjean on his way to his grid slot and some incredible talent in near impossible conditions, if you could only watch one Grand Prix from 2016, the Brazilian Grand Prix comes highly recommended. You can view that below.