Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rosberg Rolls to Fifth Consecutive Formula 1 Pole of Season in Brazil

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

For the past four grand prix events, German driver Nico Rosberg has been attracting the limelight away from his championship-winning Mercedes AMG teammate Lewis Hamilton.  Since the Japanese Grand Prix, Rosberg has held a stranglehold on the top spot of the starting grid in qualifying for every race. Taking a dramatic win in the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago, the late season effort is working effectively to give Hamilton something to be jealous about after winning the 2015 drivers' title.

The second-to-last event on the 2015 Formula 1 tour, the Brazilian Grand Prix ends a three-race swing in the Americas. A track known for attracting a steady crowd from the massive of Sao Paulo, the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (routinely referred to as Interlagos) has underwent several upgrades including a new set of curbing placed in the circuit's corners. As a result, the 4.309-kilometer race track presented an added challenge for veteran drivers to adapt to the slight chance.

In qualifying, the Mercedes AMG once again prevailed triumphantly in Brazil. Through Q1 and Q2, it was Lewis Hamilton who took the session lead with nearly identical runs. However, the final session deciding the top-10 runners was the moment where Nico Rosberg made the most crucial run. With a 1-minute, 11.282-second lap time, Rosberg spirited to a fifth-straight pole position. Generating an all-Mercedes AMG front row for the 14th time this season, the difference between the two team cars was just 0.078 seconds. If Nico Rosberg manages to score a pole at the final race in Abu Dhabi, he will tie four drivers in third place all-time. The record for most consecutive pole positions is eight set by Ayrton Senna.

The factory Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen faired well in qualifying to claim the 2nd row of the Brazilian Grand Prix but were still a distant pace slower than the Mercedes AMG cars. Though Vettel mounted an effective Q2 lap to split the Silver Arrows for the timed session, his top time in Q3 was more than half a second off the pace of Nico Rosberg's pole effort. Both Ferrari drivers are previous winners at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

Due to several grid position penalties, the starting grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix has undergone a noticeable transformation. Williams' Valtteri Bottas was demoted from a 4th place result in qualifying to a 7th place after a 3-position grid penalty suffered on Friday when the Finnish driver was ruled to have overtaken under a red flag in practice. An immediate benefactor of Bottas' loss of position was Nico Hulkenberg. In 2010, the Brazilian Grand Prix was the site of the one and so far only pole in Nico Hulkenberg's Formula 1 career with Williams. Starting fifth on Sunday, Hulkenberg's Force India team is continuing to enjoy a fruitful effort in the second-half of the 2015 Formula 1 season as the German as well as teammate Sergio Perez have been fairly consistent in adding to the point standings.

Another significant penalty has been taken by Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo who is running a new Renault engine at Interlagos. Ricciardo will drop from a 9th place spot to 19th place. The older spec Renault powerplant in the Red Bull Racing machine piloted by Daniil Kvyat is starting sixth for the Brazilian Grand Prix.


A confrontation between Brazilian drivers at their home grand prix race also led to one of the Saubers being dropped down the field at the start. In Q1, Felipe Nasr was cited with a 3-place grid penalty for interfering with a timed lap made by the Williams-Mercedes driven by Felipe Massa. Nasr's Sauber-Ferrari will start in 13th on Sunday (one position behind teammate Ericsson). The two Williams-Mercedes race cars are planted in the 4th row in the starting line-up set to once-again place third in the constructors' points for a second-consecutive season in Formula 1.

The 71-lap 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix will start on Sunday at 2 P.M. local time (11 A.M. eastern time). Weather forecasts have predicted a cloudy day with rain showers as well as a thunderstorm risk at race time.

2015 Formula 1
Brazilian Grand Prix
Starting Grid

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 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
6 26 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Renault
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
8 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes-Benz
9 33 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
10 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
12 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
13 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
14 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Mercedes-Benz
15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Mercedes-Benz
16 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
17 53 Alexander Rossi Manor Marussia Ferrari
18 28 Will Stevens Manor Marussia Ferrari
19 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault
20 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda

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