Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted November 25, 2011 09:37
2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
While the championship has been sown up by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull quite awhile ago, there is still lots to be excited about.
The Interlagos track in Sau Paulo has a lot of character. It first hosted a Formula 1 race back in 1972 and in comparison with other F1 tracks, it appears old and a bit run down.
It's fair to say that if this was a circuit bidding to become part of Formula 1 in another part of the world, Bernie Eccolstone would not have given it the nod to become part of the calendar.
But its grittiness is what makes it so interesting to race at. The crowds are closer and the run offs are less, but there is a life and character to this place that makes it one of the more interesting races to go to.
Even as Formula 1 has entered the modern era with bright sparkling new F1 circuits which all look the same, Interlagos has managed to maintain that mystique and it's impossible not to be startled to how different this venue is compared to anything else on the calendar.
From the crowded housing and crime that surround the circuit, to the advertising hoardings that fall down during the weekend and of course, let's not forget the crowd - the unbelievably passionate crowd that show up on Sunday to cheer on their Brazilian heroes.
It's got a lot of gradient changes which is always fun for a driver and the middle section of the track is very challenging.
It's bumpy there, and you have to be very precise where you place the car. Over-taking is possible due to the long front straight which winds back up the hill, over the start line and then down into the sharp turn 1 and 2.
Throw in the DRS zone from turn 3 to 4 and we should see plenty of good racing.
Throw in a bit of rain and it will be a classic race.
Don't forget it hosted possibly the most exciting race ever in 2008, when Flipe Massa went on to win the race, but not the championship as Hamilton blasted to fifth and the championship win at the last corner.
Rain is expected this weekend at some point so it's going to be unpredictable.
Most importantly, this last race will be the teams' final chance to see if their cars are still going in the right direction development wise till next season.
Stable regulations from this year to next, mean the cars will not differ so much and any improvements they have here will help for next season.
And teams like McLaren and Ferrari will want to win, to show Red Bull that they will be a factor next year.