Debate: How will the title be decided?

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We’ve had plenty of discussion in the past week about whether Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen deserves to be champion.

But what do you actually think will happen on Sunday?

Here’s a couple of likely and unlikely scenarios that came to my mind – how do you think the title will be won in Brazil?

Tyre trauma

I think tyres are going to be a big factor in Interlagos. Bridgestone are bringing the two softest compounds, and when they were used at Monaco and Hungary we saw McLaren do very well.

But the track has also been resurfaced, which might favour Ferrari more. But on balance I think we’re likely to see the two McLarens up front, and so even if Alonso finishes first and Hamilton second, the Briton will be champion.

Unless, that is, one of the Ferraris overtakes him, and then we’re looking at Alonso and Hamilton potentially tied on points, with Alonso winning the title by dint of having won more races??????

(Sadly for the track owners, some clumsy worker apparently spilled a tin of paint all over their nice clean new track. D’oh!)

Controversial crash

We’ve seen plenty of them in the past, but with three drivers in the running it doesn’t make sense for one driver taking another out of the race.

But the enmity between the two McLaren drivers now runs so deep that it’s not inconceivable that, should one of them be rendered unable to win the championship, they might rather see their Ferrari rival Raikkonen lift the trophy??????

Backmarker blunder

Say hello F1 debutante Kazuki Nakajima. Let’s hope that if he ends up getting lapped he doesn’t trip up the leader as his father did at this very track 17 years ago.

Interlagos has a history for this kind of thing. It was here that Jos Verstappen took Juan Pablo Montoya when the Columbian was heading for victory in his third Grand Prix.

Pop goes the engine

The final race of the season would be a most inopportune moment for an engine failure. Alonso is the only one of the three contenders to have to use the same engine he had in Shanghai, which would make him a contender for a shock retirement.

It would look highly suspicious given that the FIA are placing a steward at McLaren specifically to ensure fair play between the two drivers (not that there had been any evidence of any such impropriety by McLaren all year long, but that’s another argument).

But car failures tend to hit the drivers you least expect to suffer from them. So not Raikkonen, then, who’s had plenty this year already. No, if someone’s car’s going to break down, it will be Hamilton’s.

Rain again

Or not. Drizzle is expected on Friday, but early predictions that rain would fall on race day have now been revised and a dry race is expected.

But a wet track on Friday could increase the teams’ setup headaches given that they’re already coping with a new surface.

Dirty side

The phenomenon of the dirty side of the track has played a major role in races this year – just look at how drivers on the adverse side of the grid have struggled to get away at races such as the Turkish round.

Expect it to have a pronounced effect in Interlagos as well, which is typically quite dusty and, of course, the surface is brands new this year. As ever, pole position is the place to be, so expect another fierce and (for McLaren) closely scrutinised battle.

For Ferrari the smart thing to do would surely be to short-fuel Massa to get him on pole, and try to hold the McLarens up. But that’s easier than it sounds, and could land the team in hot water over using team orders.

So who’s going to win?

My prediction is that Hamilton will win the title. This is why:

1. It’s very rare for anyone other than McLaren and Ferrari to get into the top four. Therefore Raikkonen is in trouble, because he needs Hamilton to finish sixth or lower.
2. After that, all Hamilton needs to do is finish right behind Alonso. The pair have been very evenly matched all year, and unless Alonso tries any funny business, Hamilton can do it.

But remember what I said about unreliability. It always strikes the driver you least expect it to. As Michael Schumacher may well recall from last years Brazilian Grand Prix??????

Photo: GEPA / Mathias Kniepeiss

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Debate: How will the title be decided?”

  1. I think Alonso will do something silly again and take out both McLarens. Kimi will then will.

  2. If it was a straight fight between the 3 of them then I would favour Alonso, but the fact that Lewis can afford to be second and still win means that he has to be a massive favourite.

    All I hope is that the outcome isn’t decided at the first corner, or worse in qualifying – by an engine blowup for Alonso for example.

  3. Alonso seems to be mentally beaten already so I don’t think he will win the race or championship…

    In my mind I think kimi will win the race, followed by Hamilton in second place and Alonso in third.

    Its going to be a close one!!

  4. Well, with a bit of luck Lewis will get a 10 slot penalty from a blow up in qualy 2 and will start from the back of the grid.

    Kimi on pole, Fernando P2

    Lewis will then fight through the entire field, overtaking everyone up to Alonso and Kimi by the last lap.

    On the last lap lewis will dive between the pair of them and take the lead going into the final corner, winning the race by a tenth of a second.

    This will have two effects – shutting up the whingy losers who don’t like to see their driver spanked by the young buck, and also, more importantly, make James Allen’s head explode.

  5. Ah nellyweb, what a dream finish that would be!

  6. I’d like it to finish with one of the three getting a decisive win and the other two finishing in such a way as to make the race winner the champion.

    But I’ve got a horrible feeling that Alonso will tie for points with Hamilton in the end, in which case the title will be decided in a court (the one that’s arguing over the definition of a constructor). You see, if Super Aguri and Toro Rosso are barred on account of not being constructors, then Alonso scores an extra point. I hope this feeling is unfounded.

  7. Nellyweb I believe that would actually make James head explode. It would be amazing. To be fair my head might be near exploding if that happened.

  8. Compared to the Norwegian commentators James Allen is a dream, so I would rather that Atle Guldbransens head would explode.

    Even though I’m an ardent Alonso fan he’s the least likely to win the title, for that Lewis is way too consistent, and the Ferrari drivers too evenly matched. My prediction is that the race will be a huge anticlimax with either Ferrari domination with Kimi, Massa, Alonso, Ham or McLaren domination with Alonso, Ham, Kimi and Massa. Either way the young brit will be champion.

    But I’m of course crossing my finger for the second rookie failure of the year, and an uncompetitive Massa. Most of all I would love for the race and the title showdown to be exciting to watch. Something very few races this year has been.

  9. As long as we’re getting into head explosions, how about Max?

  10. Alonso knows well enough to takeout another driver(let alone his teammate) in a race which can make him world champ! Lewis is also too smart to pull off a stunt like that. So I think Kimi is the one least possible to pick up the championship.

    Between the Mc Laren drivers its going to be interesting but only misfortune or a crazy mistake like in China can make Alonso champ. Like Dennis said in “We were not racing Kimi, we were racing Fernando” (How can that be fair when one of your drivers is your competitor? Isn’t it a clear preference to one of your drivers?) With that attitude you can throw out the possibility of Alonso pulling off a miracle… But then again miracles have happened before!

  11. I think Dennis was speaking with respect of Hamilton’s half of the team when he said that, rather than McLaren as a whole. But in the current climate of furious paranoia it was an extremely unwise way of saying it.

  12. I see Alonso finishing first and Kimi putting in a great drive from 4th on a long fuel run.


    Massa (light on fuel to keep Kimi close)
    Alonso (pulls on out of his hat)
    The Ham (plays it safe)
    Kimi (heavy on fuel)

    The Ham (played it too safe)
    Massa (too short on fuel means an extra stop)

    The only other thing I could see, is Alonso and The Ham doing there best to block the other and taking off on of there front wings.

  13. James Allen’s head exploding….That’s a beautiful end to a superb year of F1.

    I can’t predict how it will go on Sunday, I change my mind every 5 mins… What if this or that!!!! Argh, stop it I’m doing it now!

    I think Fernando will win the race – He has little to worry about. He is almost out of Mclaren and can just race hard for the win. Lewis will come in 3rd with Kimi second….Or will it…. No Nakajima will do it…!

  14. Keith,

    If Dennis said that, do we must to understand another thing more convenient?
    If Ecclestone talks, do we must change his meaning and understand something more correct?
    I agree with you that it could be just a misunderstanding in the way to say it, but still I have not seen Dennis clearing this.
    Well, It seems there is 2 ways to understand this meaning, being legitimates both interpretations, it is clear only one is right, and only Dennis knows it.

  15. Perhaps this from a story on Autosport today would shed further light:

    [Alonso] also suggested that the media had read too much into McLaren boss Ron Dennis’s use of the phrase “we were racing Fernando” when referring to Hamilton’s strategy in the Chinese GP.

    “I was surprised, but I think it is difficult to see what is true, what is just normal words that you say after the race and if you take in a different way you can make some problems,” Alonso said. “I don’t see anything strange, I was surprised but not really worried.” – Alonso sees no need for FIA observer (external)

  16. Yea, Alonso and Hamilton seem real friendly all of a sudden.. that along with reports on other sites certainly seem to suggest that a deal has been made and Alonso’s and McLaren’s future has been decided.

  17. Keith,

    Really, it does not sound very convincing.
    Still, it is not too much bad, that they try temporize.

  18. Mclarens take eachother out, Kimi wins

  19. By the way, I see what Clive means about the paint getting spilt. The paddock now looks like a zebra crossing. I’m just waiting for the photograph of Max Mosely standing in the middle with a lollipop and reflective coat…

  20. My predictions: Massa wins, Hamilton takes second and clinches title, Kimi wrecks, and Alonso pops his engine from driving it too hard.

    I don’t expect a whole lot of heroics; I’ve decided that it’s best to have few expectations before the race so that any little mishap can be a pleasant surprise.

  21. Keith

    Seems there have been a few comments about Max’s head exploding,and as I recall we discussed thwacking him in the head with the FIA rulebook a few weeks ago.Maybe it is time to for us to have a “Punch Max in the head” flashgame to vent our frustrations…huh?

  22. I’m with Coulthard, I don’t care who wins (less his foul language). But it’s fun reading these sites each day, dreamer’s like nellyweb make me smile, technocrats like Alianora make my head spin, leave it to her to come up with the fringe outcome, and of course enough cursing at MadMax to keep me happy. I’ll pick a number from a hat (helmet) …… 23?

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