Brazil preview - rain to add extra thrills to title battle? 04 Nov 2010
Renaults Robert Kubica believes that the Brazilian Grand Prix could be a lottery, and its small wonder, with poor weather predicted all weekend just as the world championship battle is poised on a knife edge.
Fernando Alonsos fifth victory of the season for Ferrari, in Korea, really stirred things up, since both Red Bull drivers know that they must win in order to stay in the hunt. But Alonso, leading now with 231 points, cant just play it safe and run for third place, because McLaren will be bringing yet more updates to their MP4-25 and both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, third and fifth in the chase with 210 and 189 points apiece, really must win to stay in contention. If they get between Red Bull and Ferrari, or ahead of both
Red Bull have made it clear theyll take a decision on team orders depending on how things unravel this weekend, but their default is to let Mark Webber, second on 220 points, and Sebastian Vettel, fourth on 206 after his engine failure in Korea, fight it out.
And just to confuse things further, Kubica himself has been in blistering form of late in the Renault R30 and is hungry for a win, while Ferraris Felipe Massa will be doing everything he can to look good in front of his fellow countrymen, many of whom are still angry that he gave way to Alonso in Hockenheim. He loves the Interlagos track, which is only a few miles from his home in Sao Paulo.
Alonso insists he is not thinking about clinching the title this weekend, though he is the only contender who can do so.
I know it is theoretically possible, but that does not count for me, he says. We want to tackle this Grand Prix in the same way as all the others, concentrating on ourselves with our feet on the ground, trying to do a good job, without making mistakes and with the aim of beating our rivals. I have said it before and I say it again: we will do the maths in Abu Dhabi.
"I am back in the lead of the championship for the first time since way back after the Australian Grand Prix. However, we know that with this points system and the gaps as they are, the standings don't really mean that much: it only takes one race - as indeed we saw in Korea - for the situation to turn itself round.
"All the same, it's always better to be in front than behind! Knowing that achieving our objective is in our hands means we are a fraction calmer, but in no way does it change our approach. We will have to try and do our utmost, making the most of all the potential we have at our disposal. The only difference is that it would be enough, so to speak, to stay ahead of our closest rivals, without having to think too much about the maths."
2009 Brazilian Grand Prix winner Webber says: I obviously have good memories of last year. It was a nice race to win and clearly well be trying to win again. Its now coming to a pivotal stage of the championship, and we need to make the most of every opportunity that we can.
Hamilton, meanwhile, vows to push as hard as he can. "It's going to be tough - we saw again in Korea that we've probably only got the third-fastest car, so we're probably not the favourites - but that's okay. We're bringing new parts to the car all the time, and I know we'll have some more upgrades in Brazil - whether that will be enough, we need to wait and see. But I'm going to enjoy pushing - I've had some good races in Brazil, it's a place where you can really make a charge work, so I go there feeling very optimistic and hopeful of another good showing.
"At this stage, the aim has to be to go to Abu Dhabi with a mathematical possibility of winning the title. As we've seen so many times before, anything can happen at the final race, so Brazil will be all about prolonging the challenge and then maximizing everything for Abu Dhabi.
After his disappointment in Korea, Vettel is also fired up. There are a lot of positive things. The circuit is fantastic and the spectators are passionate about racing. Interlagos is challenging for us because, after a season of racing on clockwise circuits, its anti-clockwise and puts a strain on your neck muscles. But it requires good aerodynamics, and that should suit the RB6.
Button faces the biggest task, but then he did so here last year too and won through, and he says he hasnt given up his title aspirations just yet.
Interlagos is an incredible racetrack - a place where you can race hard, where all your mistakes are punished and where youre really rewarded for attacking. I think our package will be well suited to this circuit.
When I was here last year I learnt an important lesson: I qualified 14th while my team mate put his car on pole - but when I thought it was almost all over, I threw caution to the wind and drove one of the most attacking, best drives of my F1 career. And thats something that Ill be taking with me into this weekend, when I know Ill not only need a strong result, but also to rely on others failing to score to keep me in the hunt for the championship.
Given the points situation, I know that I face an uphill struggle to hold on to the world title, but Ill be giving it everything Ive got this weekend to stay in contention. I fought hard to become the 2009 world champion, and I wont give up my title without a fight.
Bridgestone have brought their medium and super-soft tyres to their penultimate Grand Prix, but the weather forecast predicts showers each day, so its quite possible that they will need all of their intermediate and full-wet rubber, too.
The race will run over 71 laps of the 4.309 kilometre (2.677 mile) circuit (unchanged bar minor kerbing and run-off improvements), or 305.909 kilometres (190.085 miles). It starts at 1400 hours local time, which is two hours behind GMT.
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