F1 Power Rankings: Brazilian Grand Prix

As we reach the end of the season, the Power Rankings is starting to get divided along constructor lines. With the exception of Williams and McLaren (and who would have thought they’d be neck-and-neck twelve months ago), every team’s drivers are right next to each other in the power rankings. That includes the two Mercedes drivers. Even though the Power Rankings show who has the momentum and has the advantage this weekend, the Power Rankings aren’t here to predict the World Drivers’ Champion.

f1-lewis-hamilton-helmet-2016#1 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis is keeping his focus on the championship but is still behind with two races to go: “In terms of the Championship, it’s an unusual scenario to be in – fighting for something and not knowing for sure that what you do will guarantee you’re able to make it. One outcome would be painful and the other would be a great achievement. Regardless, I’m going to keep pushing. Since the beginning of my Formula One career I’ve seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end.”

f1-nico-rosberg-helmet-2016#2 Nico Rosberg
Nico doesn’t mention his sterling track record at Interlagos. A win on Sunday and he can go from I\IICO to N1CO: “There are still two races to go and anything can happen in this sport, so I need to focus my energy on the factors that I have in my control. I’ve got good form in Sao Paulo. It’s one of the real classic tracks, which usually produce some exciting races, so I’m looking forward to getting out there and having a big battle in front of those awesome Brazilian fans.”

#3 Daniel Ricciardo

#4 Max Verstappen

#5 Sebastian Vettel

#6 Kimi Raikkonen

f1-nico-hulkenberg-helmet-2016#7 Nico Hulkenberg
The Hulk has never finished on the podium but he’ll likely never have a better chance than a race in Brazil: “I have lots of good memories from Brazil: it’s where I got a pole position in my debut year in 2010 and where I had one of my best days in 2012. That was a very special race, leading for 40 laps in mixed conditions. It was exciting from the lights: it was dry, then it started to drizzle and some people stopped for intermediate tyres, but I stayed out, took a risk and made it work. It was a special experience and one of my best performances to date.”

f1-sergio-perez-helmet-2016#8 Sergio Perez
Checo finds Brazil a little tricky. Probably not unlike what I would imagine are subtle differences between Portuguese and Spanish: “The track is very complex to master and has some tricky corners. It’s one of the few anti-clockwise layouts, which makes it harder from a physical point of view, especially for the neck. It’s a race where there’s always some external factor playing a big role, whether it’s the weather or something else: races at Interlagos tend to be special.”

f1-valtteri-bottas-helmet-2016#9 Valtteri Bottas
Generic PR quotage of the week goes to Bottas. At least we know that Kimi has a personality. Have we ever seen Valtteri have some fun? “There is a nice combination of different types of corners on the track and it’s quite technical. The new tarmac that was laid there a couple of years ago has made it very grippy since, so I really enjoy racing at this track.”

f1-fernando-alonso-helmet-2016#10 Fernando Alonso
We don’t hear much about how sitting on the grid feels like but how many grids are next to overflowing grandstands: “Sitting on the grid ahead of the race is one of those unique Formula 1 sensations: the crowd seems to loom over you; really in your face, very close. The atmosphere and intensity are always amazing. ”

f1-felipe-massa-helmet-2016#11 Felipe Massa
It’s going to be an emotional trip home for Old Phil: “Interlagos is home. It’s the place that I grew up. It will be emotional racing there for the final time on such an amazing track. I’m looking forward to enjoying every single lap and hopefully I can manage to finish the race with a good result.”

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2016#12 Jenson Button
The other soon to retire driver on the grid sounds like he may want to go to WEC to keep running at Interlagos: “The Interlagos circuit has a bit of – how can I put it? – ‘muscle’. It’s a place that you really attack – and it’s really enjoyable, particularly when the front-end is properly nailed… Even the hairpins require a really attacking style, you can take lots of kerb, and there’s no run-off at the exits. It’s how a racetrack should be, really.”

#13 Carlos Sainz

#14 Daniil Kvyat

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2016#15 Romain Grosjean
Romain talks about the disappearing Haas speed: “It could be the characteristics of the track, the layout, the tarmac, the way we work the tires. We are analyzing all of the things that have happened to us over the last few races. We’ve gone from having a really strong performance to then being nowhere in qualifying but OK in the race, to the last race where we couldn’t get anything right.”

f1-esteban-gutierrez-helmet-2016#16 Esteban Gutierrez
According to Steve, Interlagos is a pain in the neck: “It’s not one of the most physical tracks, but it is quite physical for the neck, and it being anti-clockwise factors into that. The strength goes to the opposite side and all the main straight is not really one straight – it’s a whole corner. In the race I remember my neck getting a good workout.”

f1-kevin-magnussen-helmet-2016#17 Kevin Magnussen
K-Mag feels the same way about Brazil that I do: “Brazil is a legendary weekend. It’s got so much about it, many of my idols have raced at Interlagos in the past. In my childhood it was always the last race so it had that championship presiding feeling about it. I think it’s unfortunate that it’s not the last race anymore as it feels like it should be but it’s still a fantastic weekend nonetheless.”

f1-jolyon-palmer-helmet-2016#18 Jolyon Palmer
JoPal doesn’t get to see much of Brazil previously but given the problems there, that’s probably not a bad thing: “I didn’t see so much of the city last year, but I like Brazil, the main thing is the passion of the crowd they always seem to bring a good, party vibe. It’s also renowned for its food and drink. I’ll probably grab some steak, especially after the race!”

f1-marcus-ericsson-helmet-2016#19 Marcus Ericsson
Marcus and Sauber are smelling 10th in the championship and all they need is one point to score it: ” It will be an important race weekend for us. Of course, our objective is still to score points, so as a team we will do our very best to ensure Felipe and I finish the race in the top ten. We will keep working in the right direction, and we all know that we are hunting for the first point.”

f1-felipe-nasr-helmet-2016#20 Felipe Nasr
Young Phil is looking for some luck in his home GP: “I am really looking forward to my second home Grand Prix. Overall I had a nice experience last year. The Brazilian Grand Prix is certainly a very special race weekend for me. It is always great to see the Brazilian fans and have their support at the race track… Hopefully my home soil can also bring us a bit of luck.”

f1-pascal-wehrlein-helmet-2016#21 Pascal Wehrlein
You know, Pascal has a pretty good generic quote this week: “I think this is the perfect venue for this point in the season – a technically interesting track that has a lot of challenges for team and driver, and one where exciting racing is pretty much guaranteed. It’s a race that can create a few surprises – which means opportunities – so we need to be right there to take advantage of them.”

#22 Esteban Ocon
We’ll have more on Steve’s 2017 plans next week but he’s still pretending to care this weekend: “I’m really hoping we can start from our usual good baseline again and I can focus on building my performance through the weekend. A more representative progression and hopefully a more representative result to go with it. Plus, we have a big job to do for the team in the next two races, so we need to keep pushing and find more performance to help us keep up the fight with Sauber.”

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