The second race in this back-to-back pairing takes
us to one of the most picturesque and charismatic venues on the calendar, the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, more commonly known as Interlagos, the name of the Sao Paulo suburb in which it is located. As one of the older venues on the calendar, the circuit is always being patched up and modified, this year the entire track and the pit lane has been resurfaced, but let’s wait and see if that has wiped out the bumps for which this venue is notorious. The entry and exit to the pit lane have also been moved slightly on safety grounds.
At just over 4.3 kilometres in length, only Monaco is shorter, which means spectators get plenty of opportunity to see the cars as they come round a total of 71 times on Sunday afternoon, running anti-clockwise like last Sunday in Austin. As the end of the season approaches, the teams will be glad of the fact the Brazilian track is 800 metres above sea level, as with turbo-chargers, the engines have an easier time of it than they would do at sea level. With the air being thinner, you need to run more aero downforce too, but at least Pirelli’s late switch to run the Soft and Medium compounds should improve the grip scenario.
Racing in Interlagos is rarely dull and then there’s always the high chance of rain, which can have a significant effect, as this track does not drain very well. Most of the overtaking takes place at the end of the pit straight before the cars plunge down one of the many drops at this scenic track. Combine all these ingredients and it could be another very exciting Formula One weekend.
The Interlagos circuit is atypical and it’s really neat. The old-style paddock is certainly unique and it has some character! What is cool about this Grand Prix is at this time of year, it can often rain in Brazil, usually just as the cars are on the starting grid! That makes for races that are very exciting in which anything can happen, right up to the chequered flag. The track has been completely resurfaced apparently, but we will need to see if that means there are less bumps. Usually, the bumps and the general layout mean it’s quite a tiring track to drive. Like Austin, it’s another anti-clockwise track, but the comparative lack of downforce with the current cars means it doesn’t put a particular strain on your neck. I really like Brazil the country, the atmosphere and I reckon it’s one of my favourite races of the year.
This is another track where I drove in FP1 last year and I enjoyed the experience. It was a wet session and I ended up in the top ten, which was very good for me at that time. It was my first time in Brazil and I liked the country a lot. So I am looking forward to taking part in the complete race weekend this time and experiencing the circuit in the dry maybe. It’s a very short lap of course, so there is no time to pause for breath. I’ve heard they’ve resurfaced the track, but as I only drove it in the wet, I can’t really say what difference that might make. There is a really good atmosphere at this circuit, with the crowd being very enthusiastic.
MAX VERSTAPPENI’ve done two Friday FP1 sessions now and I’m gaining confidence with every lap. I always have to remember that I’m driving Jev’s car, so I never push to the maximum, as I need to be sure I have a car to give back to him at the end of the session! I would say the area where I still have the most to learn is the tyres and I had not realised how tricky that element would be. I have driven the Brazilian track for a few laps in the simulator and it looks very interesting. They say there’s always a chance of rain at this time of year in Sao Paolo and honestly, I would be quite happy if it rained on Friday morning, as I have never driven this car in the wet and it would be a useful experience.