Brazil – update

Just a few notes on what’s going on down in Brazil at the moment.

Title Decider
F1’s points system runs 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 and Lewis Hamilton has a 7 point lead over Felipe Massa. They are tied on 5 wins apiece.

This is what LEWIS HAMILTON needs in order to win the title:

Finish in the top five (even if Massa wins).
Alternatively: Massa to finish 3rd or lower no matter where Hamilton places.

That’s it. Sounds easy, right? Last year proved it isn’t.

This is what FELIPE MASSA needs in order to win the title:

Finish 1st with Hamilton 6th or worse (tiebreaker on wins per below).
Finish 2nd with Hamilton 8th or worse.
Finishing 3rd will only give him 6 points so won’t cover the existing deficit.

If Hamilton finishes 6th and Massa wins the race it is a tie on points and the title would go to Massa based on number of wins.

It is worth remembering that if they are tied on points and tied on wins the title will be decided on the ‘quality of results’ system. That’s the number of 2nd-place finishes, if it is still a deadlock it goes to # of 3rds, and all the way down until a winner is found.

Ferrari have an 11 point lead over McLaren. For McLaren to win the Constructors’ title they need to outscore Ferrari by 12 points which just isn’t going to happen realistically is it? They do need to keep tabs on BMW who can take 2nd position from them – Kovalainen needs to be on his game as do the two BMW drivers.

My prediction: Massa to win the race, Hamilton to finish on the podium and take the title. It won’t ‘feel’ right if the title-winner isn’t on the podium, always a nice symmetry and he gets to celebrate with the crowd. Ferrari will get the Constructors’ title.

The forecast for the weekend is for showers, indeed FP2 was held in such conditions. It will rain tomorrow but maybe not during qualifying, though the track may already be wet. Showers are possible during the race on Sunday.

Hamilton is great in the wet and the Mclaren is more suited to it than the Ferrari. The outcome of the title could depend on which Felipe Massa turns up. There’s the guy who was quick in the wet in Monaco, and the guy who threw it away (5 times) at Silverstone. I think the former will appear with this being his home race.

Let’s hope this fight isn’t decided by a Safety Car or a stewards’ decision.

One thing to note if it does rain heavily is that last time it did, in 2003, a large river of water crossed the track after the Senna ‘S’, creating the most expensive parking area for damaged cars in the world. The track has been resurfaced since ’03 so hopefully that won’t happen again.

Check this for a review of ’03 (with crappy music), featuring lots of overtaking, Montoya’s great driving and the two huge crashes which ended the race:

If it rains on Sunday let’s hope we get the great racing without the big crashes!

David Coulthard
This will be David Coulthard’s last Formula 1 Grand Prix. To mark the occasion his car has been painted in the colours of Red Bull’s own charity, Wings For Life. F1 teams are not allowed to run cars in two colour schemes without unanimous agreement from the team bosses (you might remember BAR trying that in 1999 and having to run that ridiculous livery with 555 on one side and Lucky Strike on the other). This time it is all for a good cause as well as DC being a popular paddock figure, so they of course agreed.

David remains with Red Bull as chief test driver and consultant, and a strong persistent rumour since July has been that he’ll join the BBC’s broadcast team in one role or another and will attend each race in that capacity. I look forward to it – he can be funny and outspoken!

Helmet Cam
The Straw Poll column at reports that F1 will be trying out the Helmet Cam this weekend, similar to the one pioneered in Champ Car a few years ago. I remember seeing the view from Paul Tracy at Long Beach and being amazed at the acceleration of the car! I can’t wait to see the F1 version.
Read the whole of that column for Friday (it is daily during F1 weekends) for a brilliant story of the Canadian Formula Una girl’s application for a visa!

I’ll see you for the notes after the race on Sunday, which will be the last race I watch live this season (before I hit my big pile of recordings!).
I’d like to do notes on qualifying to mark the end of season but I’ll have been chasing a little white ball around a golf course. We’ll be rushing back to watch qualifying and it’ll be away from a PC.

Enjoy the race!

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