2016 Brazilian Grand Prix previewby Peter Higham on 11th November 2016
Nico Rosberg heads into this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix hoping to score his third successive victory at Interlagos – a result that would confirm the German as the 2016 World Champion. Rosberg started both those races from pole position, with Mercedes-Benz locking out the front row and Lewis Hamilton second in silver 1-2 finishes.
Rosberg is on a run of seven podium finishes in succession and another top three result would, at least, mean that the destiny of the championship remains within his own hands going into the Abu Dhabi finale, whatever Hamilton does.
Should Rosberg cinch the title on Sunday, it would be the seventh time that the World Championship has been decided at Interlagos – following Fernando Alonso (2005 and 2006), Kimi Räikkönen (2007), Lewis Hamilton (2008), Jenson Button (2009) and Sebastian Vettel (2012). Neither Hamilton nor Alonso has ever won the Brazilian GP although Alonso has finished on the podium on eight occasions to date.
This will be local hero Felipe Massa’s 13th and final home Grand Prix. Almost unbeatable from 2006 to 2008, he qualified on pole position on each occasion, led almost 80 per cent of the race laps, won twice (2006, '08) and finished second in 2007 when supporting team-mate Räikkönen’s successful championship challenge. Since then, Massa has scored third-place finishes in 2012 and 2014.
Another driver for whom this may be the last Brazilian appearance is Jenson Button. He has scored 11 top 10 finishes from his 16 starts in the race although the only time he has led a lap or started from the front row was on his way to victory in 2012.
This circuit has not been kind to Daniel Ricciardo, with 10th in 2013 his best result to date. There is contrasting fortunes at Force India. Sergio Pérez’s only points score so far was sixth in 2013. Nico Hülkenberg has scored points in all five Brazilian GPs he has started. He qualified on a shock pole position for Williams in 2010 and his Force India led the race in both 2012 and 2014.