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Brazil GP: Track notes, DRS, tyres, stats and more

NEWS STORY
08/11/2018

The only change at Interlagos ahead of this year's race is that there is a new double kerb at the exit of Turn 14 - though should drivers continue to try their luck in terms of track limits there is every possibility that further measures could be introduced over the weekend.

In addition, the guardrails on the left between Turns 3 and 4 have been raised where they had previously subsided a little, while the foam blocks in the SAFER barrier around turn 14 have been renewed.

A small section of the pit entry has been resurfaced, while in order to ensure that the grip of the track is more consistent it has been cleaned twice with very high pressure water and additional grooving has been carried out in various places around the track to help improve drainage.

There are two DRS zones. The first has a detection point at the apex of Turn 2 with activation 30m after Turn 3. The second has a detection point 30m after Turn 13 with activation 160m before Turn 15, thereby extending the zone by 100m compared to last year.

As in 2017, the tyre compounds are medium, soft and supersoft, but in reality it's a step softer as all the 2018 compounds are one step softer than their 2017 counterparts.

At 2.677 miles (4.309 km), Interlagos is the third-shortest lap of the year (after Monaco and Mexico City), which means that tyres are kept busy with an almost non-stop sequence of corners and plenty of traffic.

The right-rear tyre is the most stressed on the anti-clockwise layout, with tyres subjected to fast corners and combined forces: these high energy loads are the reason for a relatively hard tyre nomination.

In terms of weather, it's perhaps the most unpredictable event of the year: previous races have included the hottest track temperatures seen all season, as well as torrential rain and currently storms are expected on both Saturday and Sunday.

Last year's winning strategy was a supersoft-soft one-stopper, but a two-stopper was also seen. Nonetheless, a one-stopper is what most teams will probably aim for this year.

"Dealing with traffic and going off-line is always an important aspect to managing the race," admits Mario Isola, "and due to the high energy loads from the fast corners and possible high temperatures, degradation will be another factor to bear in mind - although we don't expect it to be excessive under normal circumstances."

Interlagos sits in the upper bracket for ICE difficulty. The circuit may be short, but the long, uphill start/finish straight takes up a considerable percentage of the lap. The driver will be at full pedal travel for around 15s, around 25% distance, or 20% of the overall lap time.

800m above sea level, until the Mexican GP, Interlagos was the highest race of the year by a long way, but now seems low by comparison to the giddy heights of Mexico City. Nonetheless, the turbo will be spinning at a higher speed to generate the same power as a sea level event, rotating at close to its maximum.

Due to the long periods of full throttle, the MGU-H has ample opportunity to recover lost exhaust energy. However, energy recovery is not necessarily critical as fuel consumption is relatively low due to the high altitude and lower air density.

2018 marks the 46th Brazilian Grand Prix. The race has been on the F1 calendar since 1973. After five events in Sao Paulo, the race moved to Rio's Jacarepagua circuit in 1978, then returned to Interlagos in 1979 and 1980 before moving to Rio between 1981-1989. The event returned to Interlagos again in 1990 and has been held here since.

Alain Prost is the most successful driver at the Brazilian Grand Prix with six wins (1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990). All but the last of Prost's wins were scored at Jacarepagua. The most successful driver at Interlagos is Michael Schumacher with four wins at the Sao Paulo track.

McLaren is the most successful team with 12 wins. Ferrari is next on the list with 11 victories, 9 of which have been at Interlagos.

Three current drivers have won at Interlagos. Sebastian Vettel won here in 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull and again last year with Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen won in 2007 with Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton won in 2016 with Mercedes.

Just three drivers have taken a first career win in Brazil, with all being scored here at Interlagos: Brazil's Carlos Pace won for the first time and only time in 1975, driving for Brabham. Frenchman Rene Arnoux scored the first of seven career wins here in 1980 with Renault, while the most recent first-time winner is Italy's Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003, though due to confusion over he result in a chaotic, rain-shortened finish, he had to wait several days before being declared winner.

Five drivers have visited the podium for the first time in Brazil: Jochen Mass (P3, 1975); Elio de Angelis (P2, 1980); Mauricio Gugelmin (P3, 1989); Damon Hill (P2, 1993), and Nick Heidfeld (P3, 2001).

Nico Hulkenberg landed the one and only pole position of his career to date at Interlagos in 2010. Only two other drivers have secured a maiden pole position at the Brazilian GP: Ronnie Peterson (1973), and James Hunt (1976).

Four drivers in the 2018 field have become world champion at Interlagos, Kimi Raikkonen (2007), Lewis Hamilton (2008) Sebastian Vettel (2012) and Fernando Alonso (2005 and 2006).

Since Brazil moved to a late season slot in 2004, the Constructors' Championship has been settled here four times. Renault clinched the title in 2006, Ferrari in 2008, Brawn in 2009 and Red Bull in 2010.

Of the 28 Grands Prix held on the shorter track since the circuit was modified in 1990, the winner has started from pole position on only 12 occasions. In 2003, race-winner Giancarlo Fisichella started from P8, Prost, in 1990, won from sixth and David Coulthard from 5th in 2001.

The two 2018 rookies, Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin have both taken part in FP1 sessions here, the Monegasque with Haas in 2016 and Sauber in 2017, while the Russian drove the Renault in 2016.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Interlagos, here.

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