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Brazil analysis - dominant Rosberg sets up thrilling title decider

10 Nov 2014

Nico Rosberg delivered an emphatic response to Lewis Hamilton's run of five straight victories by dominating the Interlagos weekend, topping every session and then fending off the Briton to seal a crucial victory - and set up a potential classic final-round showdown.

Williams' Felipe Massa took an extremely popular third on home soil, while Jenson Button boosted his 2015 prospects with an excellent drive to fourth for McLaren. His upturn was in direct contrast to Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered only his second DNF of the season - but was still able to seal third in the drivers' standings. We take a team-by-team look back on the 42nd edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix...

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, P1

Lewis Hamilton, P2

Having dominated practice and qualifying, Rosberg did exactly the same in the race, converting pole into victory for only the third time in 10 attempts and clinching his fifth win of this season. Hamilton looked very threatening at the second round of pit stops and should have emerged ahead of Rosberg - he set a searing fastest lap after being told to push by the team, but was kept out a lap longer than he anticipated and, through a combination of having already used everything his tyres had to offer and his own error of forgetting to reset his rear brake bias, suffered a half spin at Turn 4 on the 28th lap. That dropped him 7.4 seconds behind Rosberg and while he set about rapidly closing that gap, Rosberg always kept any moves covered and thus narrowed the difference between them to 17 points as they head to Abu Dhabi. For Mercedes, meanwhile, an 11th one-two of the season set a new record, beating McLaren's 1988 tally.

Williams

Felipe Massa, P3

Valtteri Bottas, P10

To the delight of the crowd, Massa made it to the podium for the second time in 2014 - despite a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane early on when his limiter malfunctioned, and then pulling into the McLaren bay during his third stop. The FW36 didn't have Mercedes' pace, but it was miles ahead of the rest. Bottas would have challenged for the place, but had a long second pit stop when, of all things, he had to have his seatbelts re-tightened. Both cars also needed a lot of debris removed from ducts during their stops.

McLaren

Jenson Button, P4

Kevin Magnussen, P9

Button was tremendous for McLaren in a race in which they were the third best car. When he was fighting Raikkonen, Vettel and Alonso closed in, but he quickly pulled away again to safeguard a position that may have thrust him back into contention for a seat with the Woking team in 2015. Magnussen, who once seemed a shoo-in to partner Alonso - assuming the Spaniard does a deal with McLaren - struggled home ninth with serious tyre degradation.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, P5

Daniel Ricciardo, Retired lap 40, front suspension

Vettel had a pretty decent race once he started recovering after running wide in Turn 4 on the opening lap. He couldn't catch Button, but had no problem keeping Alonso's Ferrari at bay. Ricciardo tailed him initially, but retired with a front suspension failure after 39 laps.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, P6

Kimi Raikkonen, P7

Alonso reckoned he got the place he deserved with sixth, but he only got that after a heady fight with team mate Raikkonen. The Finn was much happier with his F14 T this weekend, but ultimately a two-stop strategy played against him as Alonso was finally able to find a way past. The Finn was lucky to fend off Hulkenberg by two-tenths at the flag.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, P8

Sergio Perez, P15

Hulkenberg ran different stint lengths to most of his rivals and even led for five laps on what was a pretty smooth run to eighth, right on Raikkonen's tail, but Perez suffered from his penalised starting place at the back and didn't help himself by incurring a five-second stop-go penalty for pit-lane speeding.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, P11

Jean-Eric Vergne, P13

Kvyat looked in play for points for a while on a slightly different stint strategy to others, but ultimately his Toro Rosso wasn't fast enough to fight for the final point. Vergne had a miserable day, trapped mostly behind Perez whom he could not pass even with DRS.

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, P14

Adrian Sutil, P16

Gutierrez ran 10th for a while before fading with tyre degradation after running in traffic. Sutil struggled through on a different strategy after a cooling issue and resultant remedy obliged Sauber to start him from the pit lane.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, P12

Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 64, engine

Lotus had a tough time, needing to change from a two-stop strategy to three when both E22s ran into serious tyre degradation. Grosjean joined Ricciardo on the retirement list when his Renault engine gave out after 63 laps.