|Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG|
As 20 entrants of the top open wheel racing series arrive in Brazil's Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, the penultimate round of the 19-race 2015 Formula 1 season ha already decided many aspects for what has been another sterling effort for the Mercedes AMG team. While recently-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton has been the most effective on-track for much of 2015, the latter part of the season has saw teammate Nico Rosberg, a driver thought to be Hamilton's main adversary for the year's title, showing-up his fellow corporate-affiliated rival. Claiming his fifth consecutive pole earlier in the Brazilian Grand Prix race weekend, the German was on a quest to repeat his victorious effort in Mexico.
Contrary to some weather forecasts calling for rain for the race, the Brazilian Grand Prix started and ended with a dry race track. Defending the lead on the start after receiving pressure from Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg was largely in control of the Brazilian Grand Prix throughout the race. A moment of heightened tension for Rosberg did occur on lap 13. After a slow first pit stop for Nico Rosberg, the Mercedes AMG team cars ran closer to each other. Despite hovering within DRS range after the pit stops were completed, Rosberg was again able to stretch out a safe lead as the race's second stint progress. Hamilton cited in post-race the DRS zone wasn't long enough on the 4.309-kilometer track.
In the final run of race, Nico Rosberg pulled away from Lewis Hamilton as tires begin to wear. A four-second lead rapidly shifted towards a 7.756-second advantage for Rosberg as he crossed the line to win the 2015 edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix. His fifth grand prix victory for the 2015 Formula 1 season, it also allowed Rosberg to post repeat wins on the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. Indicating "It was the perfect weekend for me" in post-race comments, the first-place finishing Mercedes AMG driver has described the latter part of his Formula 1 season as a reason to advance his game. Nico Rosberg also secured to second spot in the 2015 Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship with his win.
For what resulted to be a three-stop race for the podium finishers, both Mercedes AMG race cars started on soft compound Pirelli racing slicks before trading their initial tire set for medium compound rubber. The team cited higher tire wear for the election of the the triple-pit stop strategy. The remaining Formula 1 teams competing in the Brazilian Grand Prix were roughly split between a two-stop and three-stop strategy.
|Photo Credit: FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA|
In 2nd place for the second-straight event, Lewis Hamilton is being examined critically despite winning the season's championship in Austin. While Hamilton has appeared to be upstaged by his teammate in the final races of the 2015 Formula 1 season, the three-time drivers' champion has only missed the podium on two occasions this year.
After 71 laps, the top-four starters of the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix ultimately finished in their grid positions. Behind the Mercedes AMG squad, Scuderia Ferrari proved to once-again be the second-best team effort in a grand prix. Taking the final spot on the podium Sunday at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit was Sebastian Vettel who finished in 3rd place 14.244 seconds behind the winning Mercedes AMG car. Vettel operated on a three-stop strategy while the Ferrari team serviced their second car only twice. Kimi Raikkonen opted for a two-stop race chancing his tire preservation on the second stint of the race and effectively skipped the middle pit stop other frontrunners made. Crossing the line fourth, Raikkonen was 47.543 seconds behind Rosberg and was the last vehicle to finish on the lead lap.
The first driver to improve his position from qualifying was Valtteri Bottas was finished fifth. Supposed to have started fourth in Brazil, Bottas received a penalty for a Friday practice incident where he overtook on a red flag. In the race, the Finnish driver's Willliams-Mercedes race car made up 2 of the 3 lost positions. Bottas' climb resulted in the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg as well as Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull-Renault falling one spot from their starting spots to sixth and seventh place.
Crossing the line in 8th place was Felipe Massa but a late race has been excluded from the final results of the Brazilian Grand Prix. At issue is a right-rear tire on Massa's Williams-Mercedes race car at the start of the race ruled to be above the maximum temperature allowed. Measured at a temperature of 137 degrees Celsius compared to the permitted 110-degree Celsius limit, their effort and points now rely on a pending appeal filed by the Williams Martini Racing team. Because of this, 8th place and lower is subject to possible change if Williams is successful in having Massa's finish reinstated.
|Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.|
Following a disastrous qualifying outing, both drivers of the Lotus F1 Team redeemed themselves after 71 laps on the Brazilian race track. Romain Grosjean started the race in 14th place after a mishap in the Q2 session of qualifying while Pastor Maldonado was unsuccessful in escaping the initial Q1 segment starting 15th. Grosjean finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in 8th place while Maldonado took the final point in the event placed in 10th following the event. The Lotus F1 Team effort sandwiched Max Verstappen's Toro Rosso in the final running order of the race.
After starting 19th, Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull race car finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in 11th place in a maiden effort with a new-spec Renault engine. Following all the rumblings and rumours surrounding the Red Bull Racing team's prospects for a 2016 season powerplant, it seems more than likely the team will continue to use Renault power last year. There's also mention the engines could be badged as Infiniti power units to heighten the global profile of the luxury brand for 2016.
The 2015 Formula 1 season will conclude in two weeks time at the Yas Marina Circuit holding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 29th.
2015 Formula 1
Brazilian Grand Prix
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
5 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
7 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault
8 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes-Benz
9 33 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
10 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Mercedes-Benz
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
12 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
13 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
14 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
15 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
16 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
17 28 Will Stevens Manor Marussia Ferrari
18 53 Alexander Rossi Manor Marussia Ferrari
19 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
20 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz (Excluded from results pending appeal)