Sunday, November 9, 2014

By a Narrow 0.033-Second Margin, Rosberg Grabs Brazilian GP Pole

Photo Credit: Pirelli/ Andrew Hone
The second to last race in the 2014 Formula 1 season, the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace track is hosting nine race teams with various mindsets. Many drivers and race organizations are looking forward to 2015. Questions remain for where high-asset properties such as Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and last year's World Drivers' Champion Sebastian Vettel will end-up for next season. In the case of the Mercedes-Benz AMG team, the team has reason to savoir the 2014 season. The German team is rolling through the final two events having already claimed their first-ever manufacturers' title (also the first for Mercedes-Benz as a full-fledged factory effort). A 24-point gap separates teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for the 2014 drivers' championship entering Brazil. While the public sparring between both drivers have cooled from what was seen during this summer, qualifying resulted in one of the most contentious battles for the pole by the Mercedes-AMG teammate.

Right from Q1, the Mercedes-AMG cars were dueling for the top time. From the start, Nico Rosberg obtained the advantage ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 0.11 seconds in the first qualifying round. It was in the final Q3 session where the teammates attacked the 4.309-kilometer Brazilian circuit spiritedly for preferential placement on Sunday's main event grid. From the start of the final 10-minute session, Hamilton set fastest time early only to be immediately countered by Rosberg. Rosberg's Mercedes was only 0.029 seconds faster than Hamilton's. With time quickly winding down for the Q3 session, both Mercedes-AMG returned to the track for a final run. With a 1-minute, 10.056-second lap time, Hamilton took the top spot on the speed chart with roughly 2 minutes remaining in the session. Predicting that his British teammate could eclipse his team, Nico Rosberg went out on the track. In the dying moment of Q3, Rosberg achieved a 1-minute, 10.023-second lap to take his 10th pole position for 2014.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG

Nicking Lewis Hamilton's time by a slim 0.033-second margin, Nico Rosberg claimed some vengeance against his teammate for stealing the United States Grand Prix victory away. It should be worth noting that Rosberg started ahead of Hamilton last week. A championship fight between the two drivers remains hot between the two drivers with Lewis Hamilton holding the advantage late in the season. "Of course, I need a bit of help from my team-mate to make the World Championship happen. But I’m still highly motivated and will continue to push as hard as I can all the way." said Rosberg. Double points for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale means the triumphant Mercedes-AMG will not emerge until after the November 23rd race regardless to the outcome in Brazil.

Mercedes-Benz engine power being at the front of the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix has maintained a year-long streak for pole positions by the powerplant supplier. Mercedes-AMG has accounted for all-but one of those poles. The only pole-winning driver outside the 2014 Silver Arrow juggernaut has been Felipe Massa. Racing at his home grand prix, Massa gave a hard-fought effort in qualifying third on Saturday with a Williams F1 Team car. "This track has a special place in my heart as I was born here in São Paulo and I always get a lot of support. The car has been feeling really good all weekend and although the Mercedes cars still had more raw pace than us, the gap seems to have closed." said Massa who was about two-tenths of a second off the pace of the modern Silver Arrows. Similar to the fight between the Mercedes-AMG cars, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas also enjoyed a close fight for positioning on the second row of the Brazilian Grand Prix grid. Bottas' top lap time was only 0.058 seconds longer than his Brazilian teammate. The McLaren-Mercedes cars of Jenson Button in fifth and Kevin Magnussen placing seventh in the starting line-up also reveal a solid effort in qualifying for Mercedes-Benz engines.  

In sixth place, the Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel will be the highest-starting non-Mercedes-Benz powered entrant for the 2014 Formula 1 race in Brazil. From eighth to tenth, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen round out the top-10. Mexico's Esteban Gutierrez driving a Sauber-Ferrari will start 11th in the field. The Sauber team is still chasing a world championship point for 2014.

The back of the 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix starting line-up will have two penalized entrants. While Russian Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was fast enough for Q2, his vehicle had to serve the remainder of an engine change penalty from the previous event at the Circuit of the Americas. The final car on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix will be Sergio Perez. The Force India driver was assessed a penalty for the collision at the start of the United States Grand Prix.

The Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying session consisted of 18 cars as the troubled Maruassia and Caterham F1 Team are again sitting out due to lack of funding. Both races failed to part of the United States Grand Prix last week. Caterham F1 Team is presently engaged in a crowdfunding initiative meant to place the race on the grid for the finale in late November at Abu Dhabi.

Scheduled for Sunday at 2PM local time (11 AM Eastern time), forecasts are calling for the chance of a wet, stormy Brazilian Grand Prix.

2014 Formula 1
Brazilian Grand Prix
Starting Line-up

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
7 22 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes-Benz
8 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
10 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
11 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari
14 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
15 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault
17 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
18 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz

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