I love Interlagos. I’ve not seriously followed F1 for all that long, but for me it’s up there with Spa and Silverstone. Today featured an exciting race that saw Button’s title hopes axed completely and Hamilton’s hanging by a thread. Barring a seriously unfortunate (for them) turn of events, it’s now a Red Bull/Alonso title.
If the top three got the same places at Abu Dhabi’s tedious Yas Marina circuit Alonso would win. Last year Abu Dhabi was good for Hamilton (he would probably have won or got a podium spot had his car not expired). This matters a lot because if he gets between Alonso and the Red Bulls this would help Vettel and Webber greatly.
But, more title speculation later. The race was also remarkable because, if you followed my tips with equal stakes, you’d actually finish ahead. The wiser heads [ie not me] correctly forecast that Hulkenberg’s dry pace was nowhere near his drying pace, although he did a decent job against Alonso and an even better one against Hamilton. Ultimately, he got 8th, which isn’t great from pole, but it’s not a catastrophe either.
Mercedes had another solid race, and seem to have a decisive advantage over Renault now. Schumacher is improving, outqualified Rosberg by a distance but couldn’t beat him on race day. Be interesting to see how he fares next year, having gotten back up to speed and had input into the 2011 car.
By my assessment, the Ferrari and McLaren were pretty equal. Hamilton thrashed his tyres after the first pit stop, and but for that might have had a chance to try and pass Alonso come the restart. Button did a very good job to climb up to 6th, Interlagos is clearly a circuit he likes.
However, the team that’s quickest is Red Bull. The problem is that their speed is like a glass dagger: very sharp, but brittle. There have been many reliability issues. But for them, Vettel would already be champion.
Red Bull wrapped up the title nowhere cares much about, the Constructors’, showing a tip by me to back McLaren to be a bit rubbish.
So, here are the title standings [decided to omit Hamilton as he needs a win and Alonso to get no points and the Red Bulls to do badly]:
If Webber gets 1st, he needs Alonso 3rd or lower. If Alonso gets 1st or 2nd he gets the title. If Vettel gets 1st he needs Webber 3rd or lower [Webber has more wins] and Alonso 6th or lower [10 points for 5th now].
Here’s a reminder of the new scoring system:
Winner: 25 Points
2nd: 18 Points
3rd: 15 Points
4th: 12 Points
5th: 10 Points
6th: 8 Points
7th: 6 Points
8th: 4 Points
9th: 2 Points
10th: 1 Point
Alonso and Webber clearly have the advantage, but Vettel does stand a real chance. Safety cars working against his rivals and accidents could yet hand him the title.
I’m no fan of Yas Marina, the next and final race of the season. I think it’s a triumph of glitzy hotels over an exciting circuit [the polar opposite of Spa]. From what I recall, the race last year was somewhat processional. Anyway, it’s just 1 week away, not the usual 2. It will be the last race I’ll post a trio of F1 articles [until maybe 2012], after which I’ll take a little time and put up a few season reviews posts [from racing, prediction and betting perspectives]. I imagine I’ll not post again after that until it’s time for a 2011 preview post or two.