Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, São Paulo
This is definitely one of the most beautiful circuits on the calendar. In just 4.309 kilometres, there’s a real mix of magical slow and very high speed turns with the final straight that lends itself to overtaking thank to the braking area of the Senna esses at the end of it. Even the final corner before the straight is very important, both as a place to try an overtaking move and to build up enough speed down the straight to fend off any attacks. Further complicating life for the drivers, the weather has a few surprises in store, as it can be stifling hot and humid one moment with torrential downpours the next. The track runs anti-clockwise, which is not the norm, thus putting additional strain on the driver’s neck. Scuderia Ferrari has won 11 times in Brazil, eight of them in Interlagos, the first with Niki Lauda in 1976, the last with Felipe Massa in 2008. The Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour in Brazil features the names of Lauda, Reutemann, Mansell, Prost, Schumacher, Massa and of course, Kimi Raikkonen, who, with an adventurous drive in 2007 also took the Drivers’ title: there are some who would assert they spotted a tear when he removed his helmet and balaclava to thank everyone in the pits.
McLaren is the most successful in Brazil with 12 victories, a record which Ferrari could equal this year with a win at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
The Senna Esses
The entry to this double corner is usually the scene of great passing moves which start at Arquibancadas, the final corner which is taken flat. You need a fast exit from here, because you can use DRS on Reta Oposta and try a move at turn 4.
This is the final braking point at Interlagos prior to accelerating flat out to the Senna Esses. That corner will always be on Felipe Massa’s mind. It was here in 2008 that Lewis Hamilton managed to pass Timo Glock on the very last lap to win the title by the skin of his teeth.