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Formula 1 2021

A crucial day in the F1 2021 title race awaits

The Brazilian Grand Prix is all set up for a vital day in the championship fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. RacingNews365.com takes a closer look.

Hamilton Verstappen USA
To news overview © Mercedes

Without doubt, the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix will go down as one of the most memorable weekends in Formula 1's turbo-hybrid era.

Controversy between Mercedes and Red Bull over rear wings has increased the tension and emotion between the sport's leading teams.

Toto Wolff says he was surprised to see the stewards' decision to disqualify Lewis Hamilton from qualifying, whilst Max Verstappen found himself €50,000 poorer after he touched Hamilton's car during parc ferme on Friday.

Throw into the mix Mercedes' decision to use a fifth Internal Combustion Engine, triggering a five-grid place penalty for Hamilton which has put him in 10th to start the race, everything is finely poised for another classic in Sao Paulo.

Why is today so important?

The mathematics are simple. If Verstappen wins the Brazilian GP, he can afford to finish second in the remaining three races and still become champion.

Verstappen has finished in the top two in every race he has taken the chequered flag, apart from the Hungarian GP, when he had a severely damaged car and could only finish in ninth.

Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas managed to hold off Verstappen in Saturday's Sprint Qualifying, but there were no pit-stops and the conditions are set to be different at Interlagos today.

Bottas failed to block Verstappen last Sunday in Mexico City at the start, and Mercedes will no doubt have told the Finn to make sure the championship leader does not get by at Turn 1 for the second consecutive weekend.

Verstappen has more to lose and it felt like the normally aggressive approach from the Dutchman was slightly held back in Sprint Qualifying. The risk versus reward game is going to be pivotal and the pressure will really be on.

If Bottas can hold Verstappen back in the opening laps, it could come down to the pit crews. Since the new pit-stop rules came into force at the Belgian GP, there have been numerous mistakes. The pit crews will be feeling the pressure too and today will be their biggest test yet.

			© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool
	© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

What about Hamilton?

Hamilton's drive through the field in Sprint Qualifying was exceptional, particularly the way he placed the car in the corners to avoid the dirty air from those in front as much as possible.

This allowed him to be close enough coming off the final corner to be in the slipstream, flick open the DRS and get the move done. It might look simple, but the hard work comes in the twisty part of the lap when it's difficult to follow a car.

The warmer temperatures and earlier race time will make Hamilton's life slightly more difficult today because his tyres will be more susceptible to overheating.

He had a lightening getaway on Saturday too, but he will be in the zone where it's very easy to have an incident on the opening lap - Sebastian Vettel found that out in 2012 at Turn 4 against Bruno Senna.

Hamilton will be starting on the inside, so it will be easy to get pinched by another car. If he wants to make up ground, he will have to be brave and bold.

Another factor which will help Hamilton is the likelihood of a Safety Car. The 2019 race was littered with Safety Cars in the final part of the Grand Prix. This will create more opportunities for Hamilton and will close the gap up to the leaders.

A podium is certainly possible for Hamilton, and if things go his way he could find himself fighting for the win, which would be a huge moment in this championship.

Interlagos is known for its iconic races and F1 in 2021 keeps on delivering, so hold your breath, because the Brazilian GP is set to be an intense thriller.

Also interesting:

Video: The secrets of the Interlagos Circuit

Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the Interlagos Circuit, home of the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix.

F1 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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