F1 Power Rankings: Brazilian Grand Prix

We’ve finally reached the end of the 2011 Formula One World Championship. After 19 Grands Prix over the eight months, F1 has reached the final round at Interlagos in Brazil for the Brazilian Grand Prix. There is still a mathematically alive three-way battle between Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber for second in the championship. Although if you’re really digging for a championship battle, Sauber and Toro Rosso are separated by 1 point for 7th in the Constructors’ Championship.

#1 Sebastian Vettel (Last Race #1)
Apparently F1 drivers find counter-clockwise tracks hard on the neck. Imagine if they did this every week: “Brazil is going to be exciting because Interlagos is known for its passionate fans, anti-clockwise driving and the extreme altitude of the track. Sao Paulo is about 1000 metres above sea level, which costs us some power. The long left corners are a strain on our neck muscles because the track is anti-clockwise, which is opposite to normal. That’s why i usually do some special training before Sao Paulo to get my muscles used to it.”

#2 Jenson Button (LR #2)
Jenson thinks he couldn’t cut it in the 70s. He’s probably right: “There are a lot of physical challenges to overcome at Interlagos. It’s a busy lap with a lot of corners and gradients. I can only imagine what it must have been like to race here in the 1970s when it was twice as long but still packed into the same amount of space. Although it’s not the only anti-clockwise circuit on the calendar, the combination of bumps, gradients and corner speeds put a lot of stress on neck muscles that are more used to turning right than turning left.”

#3 Fernando Alonso (LR #3)

#4 Mark Webber (LR #4)
Webber is hoping that a win can slightly salvage a currently winless season: “Brazil is one of the best races of the year. It’s a track which reminds me of Brands Hatch and the Formula Ford racing there because it’s a like a bowl in terms of the atmosphere. The Brazilian people love their motorsport and are extremely passionate about it, obviously off the back of Piquet, Senna, Fittipaldi and Rubens – they’ve had some really great drivers… I’ve always done well there so i hope i can get a nice result, it would be a great way to end the season with a good last race.”

#5 Lewis Hamilton (LR #5)
Lewis reminds us that Interlagos rarely plays host to a plain dry race: “It’s rare for there to be a straightforward race at Interlagos – particularly if the weather plays a role. I hear it’s been raining heavily in Sao Paulo at the moment – if it rains on Sunday, anything could happen. I remember having one of my best races in Formula 1 there in 2009 when I qualified 17th in seriously wet conditions, but raced up to third by the chequered flag. I spent the whole race overtaking people – it was brilliant.”

#6 Felipe Massa (LR #8)
Felipe is looking toward 2012 more than his home race. That’s what happens when you need a miracle to win it again: “This year has not gone so well, but we have tackled it with our usual fighting spirit and that is what we will take forward to next year, when we hope to have a very different sort of championship to this one just ending. The intention is to be competitive right from the start, fighting for the win in every race.”

#7 Michael Schumacher (LR #6)
Old seven-time hopes to finish out the season with another good finish: “There is always a really good atmosphere at the Interlagos track and it’s one of the traditional venues for Formula One to end the season. We have enjoyed some good results finishing in the top six over the last few races, and I would love to continue this trend in Brazil and bring the season to a positive end. The team have worked very hard to improve our performance with the car that we have available to us and it would be a fitting reward for them.”

#8 Nico Rosberg (LR #7)
Rosberg plans to employ the Clarkson strategy this weekend. All POWERRRR: “The Interlagos track is amazing to drive, and in the last weeks we have made some steps forward without having any big updates on the car, so it should be a good weekend. I would love to give the season a nice ending; our engineers, the boys in the garage and everybody at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth deserve a good result at our last race… Our Mercedes engine power and the top speed in the car will be good for getting up the hill on the long start-finish straight.”

#9 Adrian Sutil (LR #11)
Sutil talks about the Brazilian fans and not about the fact that he’s probably going to DTM or sports cars for employment next year: “It’s always a really special race. The crowd is very loud and they create an amazing atmosphere. Even when you are driving the car you can hear the crowd cheering. As for my results there, I have both good and bad memories. 2009 was great when I qualified third on the grid, but in the race things did not go to plan. In fact, I’ve never had much luck racing in Brazil and I’ve yet to score a point at Interlagos. I really want to change that this year!”

#10 Jaime Alguersuari (LR #9)

#11 Sergio Perez (LR #10)
This may not be Checo’s home race but it’s as close as he’ll get: “I have never been to Brazil and I’m very much looking forward to my first visit. Before I fly to Sao Paulo I will spend a few days in Mexico, and I must admit I’m also looking forward to going home. The last time I went back home was during the summer break in August. I have heard a lot about Sao Paulo and Interlagos. Apparently it is a great race track and the crowd can get very emotional. I expect them to be a bit like my Mexican fellow countrymen, and am looking forward to the atmosphere passion creates. Of course I have also had some warnings that the city can be a dangerous place.”

#12 Paul di Resta (LR #12)
Dario’s cousin reflects on his first F1 season: “The year has been incredible and I’ve enjoyed every moment. It’s flown by really quickly and I can’t believe we’re at the last race of the season already. The standout moments for me were my first race in Melbourne and qualifying sixth for my first British Grand Prix. The atmosphere at Silverstone was so special – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – and that’s something I will always remember.”

#13 Vitaly Petrov (LR #13)
For the sake of irony, here’s what Petrov said when asked about his 2012 plans: “I am here to achieve and to reach my targets. Generally, I feel good. Throughout my first two years, I have always felt I’ve been improving but maybe less so than at the very beginning. I am still learning how to work with the team and how to get the car to work for me. I am still not yet at 100 percent, but it is difficult to ever be. First things first, I must give Brazil my best shot. Then, I will look at next year.”

#14 Sebastien Buemi (LR #14)

#15 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #15)
For an F1 driver, Kobayashi Maru sure likes food: “For me Sao Paulo is a special place because it was here where I drove my first Formula One race in 2009. I finished ninth and had some good fights on the track. But there’s another reason why I like to go to Brazil: it’s the Churrascarias with the fantastic meat! Sao Paulo will be the last race of 2011. For our team it has been an exciting season, and I will give my utmost so the team can finish the season with a positive result.”

#16 Bruno Senna (LR #16)
Bruno is happy to be racing at home: “I am very excited about racing in my homeland. I did, in fact, travel straight to Brazil from Abu Dhabi to prepare for everything. It’s going to be another difficult race because of the type of circuit we are facing. It’s a classic track, and it’s my home race which will make it extra special but there are also some long, slow corners in the mid-section of the track. We will have to prepare fully to give ourselves the best chance of success there. One thing is for sure – people will remember the last race of the season and how we perform in that.”

#17 Rubens Barrichello (LR #17)
Could this be Rubens’ last time running his home GP: “It’s the best week and race of the year for me. It always goes by so fast but I try to enjoy every little second of it. I love the racing track, especially the Laranjinha corner with it is double apexes. Interlagos has always been very good for overtaking and I expect nothing different this year. For a quick lap you need a combination of good brakes, good traction and good engine power. I am looking for a positive end to the season with a points finish.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado (LR #18)
Speaking of home races, this is the closest Pastor will get to Venezuela: “It will be my first time racing in Brazil, although I have visited the country once before and loved it. It will be an interesting race for me because it is the closest one to my home country, so I hope to have lots of Venezuelan fans and support for me there. I really like the look of the Interlagos track and, having spent time driving it in the simulator, I think it is very fast and I am going to really enjoy it.”

#19 Heikki Kovalainen (LR #19)
Heikki is already looking forward to 2012 when the team will be called Caterham: “As the team keeps growing and keeps developing I’ve just had to make sure I am driving as hard as I can, and every time I get out of the car I’ve been satisfied that I couldn’t get any more out of it, so I can’t really do any more than that. There is a great spirit in this team – we are definitely going in the right direction, so we will all look back on this year as another step forward, and then make sure we keep that momentum up as soon as we hit the track in 2012.”

#20 Jarno Trulli (LR #20)
Unanswered question – Will Jarno be in the car next season: “azil is a track I always look forward to but one I’ve never been too lucky at. It’s one of the old style tracks, not the stop / start long straight / tight turn we see at a lot of the modern circuits – it’s the sort of place you can build up a good rhythm as it’s a mix of high speed turns merging into slower corners and from inside the cockpit that feels good.”

#21 Timo Glock (LR #21)
One last PR quote from Tim O’Glock: “I really enjoy racing at the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo. Even though it’s not a very long lap, it is one of the most demanding challenges on the F1 calendar, with some great corners – for example turn 6, an uphill double right hander, which is fast and blind. The car has to be stable through the twisty middle section as well as being quick on the straights, so a good balance will be key.”

#22 Jerome d’Ambrosio (LR #22)
Jerome plans to keep his eyes on the skies: “The Brazilian Grand Prix is also known for its unpredictable weather – I always remember the qualifying session in 2009 where it looked like it was never going to stop raining! So you never know what to expect here, which makes it an even more exciting weekend.”

#23 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #23)
Danny Boy likens the atmosphere at Interlagos to a soccer stadium. Could be worse. Kyalami’s (South Africa) soccer atmosphere would have vuvuzelas: “The key for this race is to get a bit of momentum on the first few laps. I’m really looking forward to ending on a good note and I’m going to give it everything I have to make sure that I do. I was at the Brazilian Grand Prix last year and, although I didn’t race, I really enjoyed it; the atmosphere was amazing with people playing drums and blowing horns. It’s like being in a soccer stadium and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

#24 Vitantonio Liuzzi (LR #24)
Liuzzi’s having delusions of grandeur again: “If everything goes like Friday and Saturday morning in Abu Dhabi then we can be competitive and fight with our rivals in this last race. We can be positive about the year we’ve had and it would be perfect to cap it off with a good performance in Brazil. Interlagos is a fast circuit with a wonderful atmosphere, it’s a great place to race and I’m looking forward to getting there and enjoying it.”


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