Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Preview - AlphaTauri


Daniel Ricciardo: "Mexico was a great weekend from start to finish, and I was really happy. We had a good car and made the most of it. I stayed there for a couple of days after the race before coming down to Sao Paulo.

"Interlagos is a very short track, and there aren't many corners, so you have to make sure you get them all pretty clean because if you make a mistake, there's nowhere really to make up the time lost. Physically, it's a tough one on the neck, being run anti-clockwise, and you feel like you're always turning left at this track. Additionally, the fact that the asphalt has low grip means this is a tricky one. I know this is another race at higher than usual altitude, but while I definitely noticed it in Mexico, even just running up some stairs, I can't say I've ever felt it in Brazil.

"This is another Sprint weekend after the one in Austin, and I'm excited about it as I feel we have much more confidence in the car and how to set it up. Obviously, with me having raced two weekends in a row since I came back, I'm looking forward to dealing with the Sprint format at Interlagos. Having said that, it's hard to know how well this track will suit our car. I guess I haven't done enough races with it to know which types of tracks are best for us. In Mexico, we did better than expected, so that gives us confidence for Brazil. I'd hope we can have another Q3, top ten car.

"There are some great corners here, the most obvious being the Senna Esses. It's where you can overtake, usually planning it a while before, maybe seeing what the car in front has done on the previous lap, to understand if they're going to leave an opening or defend, which is the fun part of the sport.

"Brazil is always exciting, and the crowd is pretty real there. It's very similar to Mexico in that it feels like there's a stadium atmosphere with the air horns and flares, bands playing, and people dancing in the grandstands. I enjoy it, and then the churrascarias are always fun!"

Yuki Tsunoda: "We could've finished with both cars in the points in Mexico, and starting towards the back on the grid, that would've been a strong result for me. With Piastri, I knew I had to pass him as soon as possible, but I was too eager. I'll learn from that in the future. The most important thing from that weekend is that the car performed really well, and the updates are working. We've moved up in the Constructors', and I think we can also expect to be competitive at Interlagos, as the slow speed corners should suit our car, so I must stay focussed, and hopefully we can score more points.

"Interlagos is a tricky track, and on top of that, it's another Sprint weekend, so there's not much time to set up the car. I hope we can adapt the car to it as soon as possible, also based on what we learned here last year. The first and last sectors are quite quick, but you need a medium to high downforce for the slower turns in Sector 2.

"It's a very demanding track physically, so I've been preparing specifically for that. I survived Qatar with no problem, so I'm confident it should be okay. The fact that it's one of the few circuits that run anti-clockwise with mainly left-hand corners does add a little bit to the difficulty, but the main reason it's tough is because you're always turning the wheel to the left or the right. Even the main straight is not a real straight coming after the two fast corners at Turn 13 and 14, so you're always turning left there, which is hard on the neck. So overall, a lap here can be slightly harder than at some other tracks, but I train hard and am in good shape, so I'm not worried.

"We often get rain here, but I'd prefer a normal dry weekend as it makes life more straightforward, less complicated in terms of strategy, and we can just focus on maximising our performance. In the past, I've experienced driving in the wet in Brazil, so even if it were raining, that wouldn't be a problem. I'm ready!"

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Published: 02/11/2023
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