Tag: Brazil

Lewis Hamilton keeps title hopes alive with a win in Mexico

Lewis Hamilton kept his title hopes alive with a win in Mexico, beating team-mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg. They were joined on the podium by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel however he later lost it due to a penalty.

The Mercedes driver started from pole position and nearly lost out when he was forced to cut the corner at turn one. He maintained the lead while Nico Rosberg also went wide to avoid contact with Max Verstappen.

Pascal Wehrlein was an early retirement from the race having been tagged which resulted in the Virtual Safety Car. A number of drivers took this opportunity to pit and get rid of the supersoft tyres.

The race settled down in the middle and the focus instead turned to frustrated drivers’ radio messages – namely Vettel. After charging down Verstappen he failed to pass, with Verstappen locking up heavily and cutting across turn one. Vettel felt he had gained an unfair advantage but Verstappen did not give the place back. This led to an expletive filled radio message from the Ferrari driver.

Verstappen was handed a post-race five second penalty resulting in him dropping to fifth. He was in the podium room when it happened and Vettel had to make a last minute dash to make it to the podium. However, later on Vettel was given his own time penalty for a move he pulled on Ricciardo giving the Australian driver the podium eventually.

The final order was Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel in the top five. Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas. Felipe Massa had local favourite Sergio Perez behind him for most of the race and he kept them there as they crossed the line to round out the points finishers.

Marcus Ericsson was 11th ahead of Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen. Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon were the remaining finishers.

As the title fight heads to Brazil, Rosberg has a 19 point lead and can become champion with a win.

Desafio Internacional das Estrelas 2014 Entry List

The entry list for Felipe Massa’s annual karting event Desafio Internacional das Estrelas has been revealed. The event, who’s name translates as International Challenge of the Stars, has been running since 2005, when Brazilian Stock Car driver Daniel Serra took the first overall win. It has since been won by Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Lucas di Grassi, and Jaime Alguersuari have subsequently won it. Jules Bianchi beat Felipe Nasr to last year’s title.

Points are awarded to the top 15 finishers in each race, with there being two races. The winner is awarded 25 points, with second place given 20 and third 16. For the rest of the field points are awarded as follows:

13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The pole sitter for race one also gains two bonus points.

This year’s event will take place this weekend (11th and 12th of January) at Karting Beto Carrero in Penha. 26 competitors will take place, including a number of Formula One drivers past and present:

  • Felipe Massa (Brazilian – F1)
  • Jules Bianchi (French – F1)
  • Sebastien Buemi (Swiss – WEC)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italian – Superstars Series)
  • Felipe Nasr (Brazilian – GP2)
  • Lucas di Grassi (Brazilian – WEC)
  • Bruno Senna (Brazilian – WEC)
  • Bia Figueriredo (Brazilian – Indy Car)
  • João Paulo de Oliveira (Brazilian – Super GT)
  • Nelson Piquet Jr (Brazilian – NASCAR)
  • Augusto Farfus Jr (Brazilian – TMD)
  • Pietro Fittipaldi (Brazilian – F4)
  • Rubens Barrichello (Brazlian – Stock Car)
  • Popo Bueno (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Luciano Burti (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Ricardo Zonta (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Antonio Pizzonia (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Allam Khodair (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Daniel Serra (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Valdeno Brito (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Julio Campos (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Ricardo Mauricio (Brazilian – Stock Car)
  • Luis Razia (Brazilian – GT Open)
  • Felipe Giaffone (Brazilian  – F Truck)
  • Beto Monteiro (Brazilian – F Truck)

Massa, di Grassi and Pizzonia have competed every year since the event’s conception in 2005.

The Brazilian GP in Numbers

Statistics from the Brazilian GP weekend

Total number of laps completed (by driver)

Esteban Gutierrez 150
Nico Hulkenberg 144
Heikki Kovalainen 141
Mark Webber 134
Jean-Eric Vergne 133
Jules Bianchi 131
Adrian Sutil 129
Pastor Maldonado 128
Sebastian Vettel 125
Lewis Hamilton 124
Giedo van der Garde 123
Daniel Ricciardo 123
Nico Rosberg 123
Jenson Button 118
Felipe Massa 117
Fernando Alonso 117
Sergio Perez 113
Valtteri Bottas 111
Charles Pic 110
Max Chilton 109
Paul di Resta 103
Romain Grosjean 69
Roldolfo Gonzalez 19
Daniil Kvyat 17
James Calado 9

Total number of laps completed (by team)

Sauber 294
Toro Rosso 273
Red Bull 259
Marussia 259
Mercedes 247
Force India 241
Williams 239
Ferrari 234
Caterham 233
McLaren 231
Lotus 210

Number of race laps: 71
Number of safety cars: 0
Number of race starters: 22
Number of times race lead changed hands (includes pole sitter): 2
Number of different race leaders: 2
Number of classified drivers: 19
Number of retirements: 3
Number of drivers on lead lap at chequered flag: 9
Number of teams scoring points: 6
Most places gained: 13 (Sergio Perez 19th – 6th)
Number of visits to pit-lane: 47
…of which were pit-stops: 44
Drive-through penalties: 3
Fastest lap: Mark Webber on lap 51 1:15.436

Championship Permutations for Brazil

Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel may have wrapped up the drivers and constructors championships for the fourth year in a row, but there are still a few championship battles to be decided at this weekend’s season finale in Brazil.

Third in the drivers championship

Fernando Alonso has secured second in the drivers’ championship, but third place is still up for grabs. Kimi Räikkönen had occupied that spot but as he is currently recovering from back surgery and not contesting the last two races of the season, it has left the door open for Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

Hamilton is currently third with 187 points and Webber is in fifth with 181 points, with Räikkönen between them in fourth. With 25 points available in Brazil, Webber needs to out-score Hamilton by seven or more points to finish third. He can do this in the following ways:

  • winning the race
  • finishing second with Hamilton fifth or lower
  • finishing third with Hamilton sixth or lower
  • finishing fourth with Hamilton eighth or lower
  • finishing fifth with Hamilton tenth or lower

If Hamilton finishes ahead of Webber (in any position) then he will remain third. Only Hamilton or Webber can finish the year in third place.

Nico Rosberg, Romain Grosjean, and Felipe Massa can not be beaten in their sixth, seventh and eighth places respectively. All three of them can also not improve on their championship positions and so will end the year there.

Paul di Resta needs to out-score Jenson Button by 13 points to move clear of him, with Nico Hulkenberg just one point behind the Force India driver. Sergio Perez can leap-frog both di Resta and Hulkenberg if he out-scores them both by eight or more points.

Second in the constructors championship

Mercedes currently occupy second place in the constructors championship, a whopping 205 points behind championship winners Red Bull. There is no guarantee Mercedes will remain there, however. Ferrari and Lotus both have a chance at Brazil to move ahead.

Mercedes lie second with 348 points, Ferrari third with 333 and Lotus fourth with 315. Ferrari need to outscore Mercedes by more than 15 points to move into second.

If Ferrari finish the race with a 1-2, they will be second, regardless of what Mercedes do. However, there are many different permutations for when they finish in other positions.

Ferrari can move ahead of Mercedes in the following ways, for example:

  • with a first and third if Mercedes finish no higher than second and seventh
  • with a first and fourth if Mercedes finish no higher than second and ninth
  • with a first and fifth if Mercedes finish no higher than second and tenth
  • with a first and sixth if Mercedes finish no higher than third and tenth
  • with a first and seventh if Mercedes finish no higher than fourth and ninth
  • with a first and eighth if Mercedes finish no higher than fourth and tenth
  • with a first and ninth if Mercedes finish no higher than fifth and tenth
  • with a first and tenth if Mercedes finish no higher than sixth and ninth
  • with a second and third if Mercedes finish no higher than third and tenth
  • with a second and fourth if Mercedes finish no higher than fourth and ninth
  • with a third and fourth if Mercedes finish no higher than fifth and tenth
  • with a third and fifth if Mercedes finish no higher than sixth and tenth
  • with a third and sixth if Mercedes finish no higher than seventh and tenth
  • with a third and seventh if Mercedes finish no higher than eighth and tenth
  • with a third and eighth if Mercedes finish no higher than ninth and tenth
  • with a third and ninth if Mercedes finish no higher than tenth with one car not scoring

Check out the table below, which shows points for every combination of points, to check other permutations:


Lotus could also finish the year in second place but they need to outscore Mercedes by 33 points (and Ferrari by 18 points). They can do this in the following ways:

  • a 1-2 finish with Mercedes finishing no higher than sixth and tenth. This also relies on Ferrari finishing no higher than third and sixth.
  • a first and third with Mercedes finishing no higher than eighth and ninth. This also relies on Ferrari finishing no higher than second and ninth
  • a first and fourth with Mercedes finishing no higher than ninth and tenth. This also relies on Ferrari finishing no higher than third and eighth.
  • a first and fifth with Mercedes finishing no higher than tenth (with one car out of the points). This also relies on Ferrari finishing no higher than third and tenth.

Fifth in the constructors championship

McLaren are currently fifth in the constructors championship with 102 points with Force India in sixth with 77. If Force India outscore McLaren by more than 25 points then fifth is theirs. They can do this in the following ways:

  • a 1-2 finish with McLaren finishing no higher than seventh and tenth
  • a first and third with McLaren finishing no higher than fourth and ninth
  • a first and fourth with McLaren finishing no higher than fifth and tenth
  • a first and fifth with McLaren finishing no higher than sixth and tenth
  • a second and third with McLaren finishing no higher than seventh and tenth
  • a second and fourth with McLaren finishing no higher than ninth and tenth
  • a second and fifth with McLaren finishing no higher than ninth with one car not scoring
  • a second and sixth with McLaren finishing no higher than tenth with one car not scoring
  • a third and fourth with McLaren finishing no higher than ninth with one car not scoring

Sauber are 24 points behind Force India with Toro Rosso 21 behind them.

Williams confirm Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa for 2014

Williams have announced that Felipe Massa will join them for 2014, replacing Pastor Maldonado as they retain Valtteri Bottas for a second season.

Massa had faced uncertainty about his future after it was revealed that Kimi Raikkonen would be returning to Ferrari to partner Fernando Alonso. After being linked with a number of teams and expressing his desire to continue racing in Formula One, although in a competitive car, Massa will still be on the grid for 2014 after agreeing a contract with Williams.

Team Principal Frank Williams said of Massa, on the official Williams website: “We are delighted to be able to confirm our 2014 driver line-up and welcome Felipe into the Williams family. He is an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the race track; he also brings a wealth of experience as we begin a new chapter in our story”. After a disappointing 2013 campaign, which sees the team lying in ninth place with a solitary point, Williams are determined to bring success back to the team.

Massa’s Formula One career started over a decade ago when he joined Sauber in 2002. He spent 2003 testing for Ferrari, before returning to a race seat in 2004 and 2005 with Sauber. In 2006 he joined Ferrari as a race driver and partnered the likes of Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen and Alonso. He came close to winning the world championship in 2008 and has taken a number of race wins, pole positions, and podiums. With 138 race starts for Ferrari under his belt, only Schumacher has started more for the Scuderia. During his time with Ferrari he has also become part of a well loved friendship with race engineer Rob Smedley, who is rumoured to be heading to Williams as well.

Massa said: “Williams is one of the most successful and important teams of all times in Formula One. When I was a kid, I always dreamed about racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren and I’m glad to be signing with another icon of the sport following my time at Ferrari. It is also nice to remember that some of the best Brazilian drivers raced for Williams and cemented a strong national link with the team. I’m highly motivated to start working hard from the very beginning in what is an exciting new challenge in my career.”

Massa will be partnering Bottas for the 2014 season. The Finn joined Williams as a race driver in 2013, after a year of being their test driver. There was a lot of anticipation surrounding his arrival, after impressing in practice and testing. However, the car has been disappointing this year and he has not been able to shine as much as it was thought. He said of his second year at Williams: “I’m very happy to be staying with the team as I embark on my second season in Formula One. I have known everyone here for many years, firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home. I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows.”

Outgoing driver Pastor Maldonado has been linked with Lotus. In the line-up announcement, the team thanked him for his contribution over the past three seasons, particularly his win at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in Brazil

With 12 victories to their name and 31 podiums, more than any other constructor, Brazil has been a happy stomping ground for McLaren over the years. First held in 1973 as a Formula One World Championship race, Brazil has firmly established itself on the F1 calendar.  Originally held at a longer, 4.9 mile long, Interlagos, the race was moved in 1981 due to safety concerns. The Brazilian Grand Prix had been held at Jacarepaguá in 1978, and it was there that the race took place from 1981 until 1989. Interlagos was shortened considerably and renovated and Formula One returned there in 1990, when local star Ayrton Senna was riding high.

Championships won and lost

Since its move to the end of the calendar, Interlagos has also played host to a number of tense title deciders. The race was previously held at the start of the season but in 2004 moved to the end. McLaren have seen titles won and more often lost in Brazil. In 2005 Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso arrived at the Brazilian Grand Prix fighting for the title – Alonso on 111 points and Raikkonen on 86. With three races left, including Brazil, Raikkonen needed to win the race with Alonso finishing lower than fourth to keep himself in contention. It had been a difficult year for the Finn, losing a number of potential points due to car unreliability. In the end Juan Pablo Montoya led home a McLaren 1-2, after Alonso started on pole with Raikkonen in fifth. Alonso finished third and became, at the time, the youngest ever Formula One world champion.

In 2007 the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton arrived at the Brazilian Grand Prix with the possibility of coming away as champion. Hamilton was leading the way with 107 points, Alonso had 103 and Ferrari’s Raikkonen had 100. A fifth place was enough to secure Hamilton the championship but after a problem filled race he slipped to seventh after starting from second. Alonso finished in third, behind Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, meaning it was another lost opportunity championship wise, this time by just one point for both drivers. 2008 was a different story, however. Hamilton arrived at Brazil, the last race of the year, with a seven point advantage over Massa. A win or second place would be enough to secure him the championship, regardless of where the Ferrari driver finished. If Massa won the race, Hamilton would need to finish at least fifth to be champion. Massa qualified on pole position while Hamilton lined up in fourth. It looked like another title was slipping from his clasp when, in the final stages, as Massa was charging for the finish line in first, Hamilton was overtaken by Sebastian Vettel, dropping him down to sixth. It was Timo Glock who proved to be the turning point, however, after staying out on the wrong tyres, and struggling to control his car in the wet. Hamilton overtook him at the final corner on the last lap to take fifth place. It was McLaren’s first championship since 1999 when Mika Hakkinen won.

Race wins

As mentioned earlier, McLaren have more wins than any constructor in Brazil. They won at the original Interlagos, Jacarepaguá and then again at updated Interlagos. Their first Brazilian Grand Prix came courtesy of their Brazilian driver (and champion) Emerson Fittipaldi. He had won the first race in 1973 and did it for McLaren in 1974. They had to wait a whole ten years until another Brazilian Grand Prix victory came their way, and this time it was with Alain Prost behind the wheel in 1984. He took back-to-back victories when he won again in 1985. Prost won the race again a further two times for McLaren in 1987 and 1988, making him their most successful driver there.

Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna won the race on two occasions – 1990 and 1993. Back-to-back wins for Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999 brought McLaren’s win tally to nine in Brazil. David Coulthard won it in 2001 and Juan Pablo Montoya secured victory in 2005, following his win for Williams there a year previously. Between 2006 and 2011 it was all Ferrari or Red Bull wins. Hamilton qualified on pole position for the 2012 edition of the race, with his team-mate Jenson Button making it a front row lock-out. Later in the race, Hamilton was hit by Nico Hulkenberg while they battled for the lead of the race. This resulted in Hamilton’s last race for McLaren ending with a DNF. Button went on to win ahead of Alonso and Massa.

Race drivers

A number of Brazilian drivers have raced or driven for McLaren, in one form or another, over the years. Of course there are the obvious drivers such as their first world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, multiple race winner and champion Ayrton Senna, and Nelson Piquet who drove for the works McLaren team BS Fabrications. Ricardo Zonta, who currently races in the FIA GT Series, was a McLaren test driver back in 1998.

Raul Boesel was awarded a test drive with McLaren after impressing in British F3 in 1981. He finished the year in third place, behind Jonathan Palmer and Thierry Tassin. Following his test with McLaren, where he impressed with his times, Boesel was signed up to drive for March. He moved to Ligier for 1983 but that proved to be the end of his short F1 career as he moved to America to compete in CART. Mario Haberfield is another Brazilian driver associated with McLaren. He won the British F3 championship in 1998 by quite a margin, beating fellow Brazilian drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Luciano Burti. In 1999 he moved to Formula 3000, driving for West Competition alongside Nick Heidfeld. West Competition was a team ran by the McLaren Formula One team, as part of their young driver development programme. Heidfeld was their test driver at the time.

What next?

The Brazilian Grand Prix is going to be on the calendar until at least 2020. Interlagos have recently signed a new contract which includes rennovations to the existing circuit and facilities. This year has been a difficult one for McLaren so a win or podium will probably not be on the cards for them in Brazil this year. Saying that, anything can happen at Interlagos, and it normally throws up an appropriate amount of drama. So who knows…

McLaren ’50 in 50′: Ayrton Senna

McLaren’s fifth world champion is considered by many, the greatest Formula One driver of all time. McLaren’s resident blogger Alan Henry ranked Ayrton Senna #1 when he counted down McLaren’s top 50 drivers on their website last year. He was with the team from 1988 until 1993 before moving onto Williams, winning three world championships.

Brazilian driver Senna took a traditional route to Formula One, starting in karting before progressing into single seaters. He quickly impressed – winning five titles in just three years – and was soon testing for Williams, McLaren, Brabham and Toleman. It was Toleman with whom he made his Formula One debut, taking up a race seat for 1984. During that year he finished an impressive second to Alain Prost’s first at a wet Monaco Grand Prix. He displayed speed and a talent in the wet for which he would be remembered for years to come. Two further podiums in Britain and Portugal cemented him ninth in the championship. He bought himself out of his Toleman contract and a new one was drawn up, this time with Lotus.

Senna stayed at Lotus for three seasons and he really came alive. His first Formula One victory was not far away when he won the second race of the year in 1985 – the Portuguese Grand Prix – going on to win in Belgium as well. Over the course of his time with Lotus he would take 16 pole positions, six wins, and 16 further podiums. He built up a relationship with Honda through the year and, when they struck up a partnership with McLaren he moved to join Alain Prost which led to one of the most iconic rivalries of all time.

Senna continued to go from strength to strength following his move to McLaren. Eight wins in 1988 was enough for him to clinch the title, despite having less points than team-mate Prost. Due to the “11 best results rule” Prost lost more points meaning Senna became champion. Prost got his revenge in 1989 when he won the championship surrounded by controversy. At the penultimate race of the season in Suzuka, Senna needed a win to take the fight to the last round. He lined up second on the grid with Prost on pole position and, during the race as he lined up a move, the pair touched. Both went off the track and Prost’s race was over. Senna went on to win the race but was disqualified meaning Prost won the championship. The Frenchman had already made the decision to leave McLaren midway through the year and so Senna had a new partner for 1990 – Gerhard Berger, with whom he built up a friendship.

1990 and 1991 saw Senna soar to new heights of domination. From 32 races he took 18 pole positions, 13 victories, ten further podiums and 25 finishes in the points. He beat rival Prost by seven points in 1990. In 1991 it was far more commanding as he finished 24 points clear of second placed Nigel Mansell. Senna dropped to fourth in the 1992 standings with a car not quite up to scratch. His last season with McLaren was 1993 when he won five more races and took two further podiums. It was not enough, however, to beat Prost who won his final championship before retiring.

Senna moved to Williams in 1994 but was tragically killed during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. His legacy lives on, however, and he was the last driver fatality in Formula One. His good friend, Dr Sid Watkins, was amongst many people who campaigned tirelessly for safety improvements in the sport. His life was immortalised in the 2010 docu-film Senna, which won a number of awards including a BAFTA for best documentary. His iconic yellow helmet has had variations raced through the years, by Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton and nephew Bruno Senna to name but a few. When he died he left behind an incredible Formula One record.

41 wins, 80 podiums, and 65 pole positions. He won a record 19 lights to flag races and is the Monaco master – six wins, with five in a row between 1989 and 1993 (inclusive). He also holds the record of most wins for McLaren, of which he has 35 out of 95 races for them. He finished on the podium more times (55) than he was off it/not finishing races. In Brazil he was a national hero and the Instituto Ayrton Senna was set up following his death to continue his work with poverty and children. He also campaigned for improved safety in Formula One.

Senna once said: “If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver”. He lived by this philosophy himself, and that it part of what made him such an incredible driver.

Honda released this video in honour of Senna earlier this year: