The American triple-header will conclude next weekend with the Grand Prix of Brazil. At the same time, a sprint race will be held for the sixth and final time this season at the Interlagos circuit, officially called Autódromo José Carlos Pace. In the past it has been shown that these weekends can bring a lot of unpredictability, but there is another factor that can make it more unpredictable. Rain is planned.
The weather often plays a major role during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Think of the 2016 edition, in which Max Verstappen amazed the Formula 1 world. This year the weather will probably also play an important role during the weekend. Weather.com only predicts rain on Friday, but let that be the day the teams only have one session to find the right setup. The rest of the days will most likely remain dry and sunny.
Which team can take advantage of the unpredictability?
Due to the sprint race format, the teams only have one free practice to find an ideal set-up. If it rains on Friday and remains dry for the rest of the weekend, this will obviously become more difficult. After all, qualifying for Sunday’s race will also be held on Friday. The racing stables therefore have to make a choice: a quick set-up for qualifying with the hope that it will still rain on the other days or drive with a set-up that is fully adjusted to dry weather?
Mercedes knew best how to deal with the unpredictability of a sprint race weekend last year. Red Bull Racing was unable to find the ideal setting, which meant that the team could not challenge the German racing team. George Russell managed to benefit most from the rival’s problems. The young British driver not only took victory in the sprint race, but also won the main race on Sunday. This was Russell’s first Grand Prix victory in Formula 1 and Mercedes’ last victory.