The Brazilian Grand Prix is always a hard one to predict, just ask Lewis Hamilton. But when rain is forecast, anything can happen.
Last year the rain played havoc with the race and set us up for one of the most thriling climaxes to a Grand Prix in years. It started to rain in the closing stages and the front-runners didn’t want to take any chances so pitted for wet tyres with a few laps to go. But the two Toyotas gambled on staying out on dry tyres. The rain fell harder in the last two laps and Timo Glock’s gamble failed to pay off, Hamilton passed him with on the penultimate corner and came through to win the world title. But it can be very finely balanced like that.
Jenson Button could do with a nice predictable weekend and a solid podium to finish things off in style. A chaotic race in the rain is the last thing he needs. It only takes one small slip and you are out of the race. Vettel and Barrichello will both view this weekend as an opportunity, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a wet and chaotic race.
If it does get complicated it will present a real challenge for the Brawn strategists to give both drivers and equal amount of attention, whereas Red Bull can focus on Sebastian Vettel.
No-one can have any certainty about their position in the wet at Interlagos, it is one of the most treacherous tracks in the calendar, “The weather can play a decisive role in Interlagos. Heavy rainfall causes rivulets of water on the track, which leads to aquaplaning,” says BMW technical director Willi Rampf.
Remember the race in 2003, where a car park of mangled machinery built up at the bottom of the hill after the Senna S? Even the great Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari ended up in that automotive graveyard. Mind you that was due to the fact that Bridgestone only brought an intermediate tyre to that race, which couldn’t cope with the conditions.
The long drag up the hill into the main passing zone of Turn 1 should give the KERS cars a real advantage and so McLaren are likely to get mixed up at the front with the championship contenders. I also think Toyota could be strong this weekend, coming off the back of two consecutive podiums.
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Incidentally I’ve just found out that next year’s calendar has been changed. It looks like they have moved the Monaco Grand Prix back one week to 16th May. It was originally scheduled to be 23rd May as the first half of a back to back with Turkey, but logistically that was tricky. The following race is in Montreal two weeks after Turkey. I was alerted to it by a hotel, but it’s confirmed on the Automobile Club of Monaco website, even though nothing has been officially announced by Formula 1 management.
If you are planning a Monaco GP trip, you might want to change your reservations..