Five other battles in Brazil

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Force India have just one chance left to score a point in 2008

It’s not just about Lewis Hamilton against Felipe Massa and McLaren against Ferrari in the drivers’ and constructors’ championship this weekend.

Pride is at stake up and down the two championship tables. Here are five other battles to keep an eye on in Brazil.

Kimi Raikkonen vs Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica: 75
Kimi Raikkonen: 69

Kimi Raikkonen, last year’s world champion, needs to save face here. He’s fallen to fourth in the championship with Robert Kubica separating him from the championship protagonists.

The two points Raikkonen gave away at Shanghai haven’t helped, but whatever happens he won’t be able to emulate his title win of last year, or the runners-up spot he secured in 2003 and 2005.

Who will win? Kubica

Fernando Alonso vs Heikki Kovalainen

Fernando Alonso 53
Heikki Kovalainen 51

It’s the battle of the ex-McLaren man and the driver who’s made a career out of replacing him. Misfortune accounts for a large part of the reason why Kovalainen finds himself behind a Renault pilot in the drivers’ championship, but we shouldn’t underestimate the excellent job Alonso has done in winning two races with the un-fancied R28.

Whether he can stay ahead of Kovalainen at Brazil largely depends on what kind of race Kovalainen has. The MP4/23 is probably the car to beat at the moment, and although Kovalainen hasn’t been getting as much out of it as Lewis Hamilton has, you’d have to expect he can finish ahead of Alonso this weekend.

Who will win? Kovalainen

Jarno Trulli vs Sebastian Vettel

Jarno Trulli 30
Sebastian Vettel 30

Alonso is un-catchable in the battle to be ‘best of the rest’ non-Ferrari / McLaren / BMW driver. But regular points scorers Trulli and Vettel are tied on 30 points heading into the final race (Vettel ahead by dint of his Monza victory) and eighth overall would be a welcome result for either driver’s team.

Who will win? Vettel

Red Bull vs Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso 34
Red Bull 29

This is the fight between a constructor and its customer: Red Bull and Toro Rosso use the same chassis (but differ sometimes in their development of it) but different engines.

The long uphill haul from Juncao to S do Senna at Interlagos surely makes the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso the favoured choice over the Renault-engined Red Bull. That said, Renault has found some gains from its engine recently (see John Beamer’s technical round-up from Shanghai).

Red Bull face a challenge to take five points off their stable mates – and remember Toro Rosso’s advantage would be even greater had it not been for Sebastien Bourdais’ controversial penalty at Fuji.

Who will win? Toro Rosso

Force India

Giancarlo Fisichella 0
Adrian Sutil 0

Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil have one race left to ensure Force India’s maiden F1 season doesn’t end point-less.

Who will win? Unless we get one of those notorious Interlagos downpours, I can see Force India ending the year with a big fat zero.

2008 F1 championship standings before Brazil

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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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23 comments on “Five other battles in Brazil”

  1. Surely past form would suggest Alonso to beat Heikki. I know he recorded a DNF at the last race, but that aside, Alonso has had the better of him in 4 of the last 5 races.

    And with Renault and Alonso in the form they are currently in, I wouldn’t bet against them.

  2. hi keith, in the pic shown above

    Force India have just one chance left to score a point in 2009

    it shoulbe be

    Force India have just one chance left to score a point in 2008

    n please dont give negative comments on force India.Anything can happen in F1.


  3. True, anything can happen, but I’d still bet that Force India end the season on nil points.

  4. I think Alonso will beat Heikki, he has scored the most points of any driver in the last 4 races and will probably finish 3rd or 4th in Brazil. Also look at the first lap of China, Heikki got Alonso off the start but Alonso had him straight back. I would love to see the look on Ron Dennis’ face if Alonso does beat Heikki this year!

  5. I also think Kimi will beat Kubica, I reckon a Ferrari 1-2, Kimi being 2nd, so Kubica will have to finish 6th, so its anyones game really.

  6. Kubica is in a better position to retain 3rd but you never know.Kimi might still get that 3rd place.
    I really hope Force India score points.I think both Sutil and Fisichella fantastic drivers.

  7. Kaushal – typo duly fixed.

  8. @Amy: Just by reading your comments you can tell how biased you are.

  9. I am slightly bias towards Ferrari and Alonso because they are my favourites and they are who I support. What about this hamilton bias, did you fail to pick up on that?

    I appreciate that hamilton is a good driver and has done well but I do not like his unfounded arrogance and the unbelievable over exposure of him. I also do not think it is fair what mclaren have done to both Alonso and Kovy in the bid to get hamilton crowned champion when they insist they are equal.

    We are all entitled to our own opinions, that is what makes us who we are and just because you do not agree with mine does not make me really biased.

  10. And btw, what is biased about saying I think Alonso will beat Heikki and Kimi will beat Kubica?

  11. @ amy “unfounded arrogance” of Lewis Hamilton. For the most successful maiden year in F1 I think any arrogance you attribute to him is *entirely* founded. If I were in his shoes, I’d be insufferable!

  12. Since when were Formula drivers supposed to be humble? I never understood that concept.

  13. @ internet: the fact that you bothered to write that shows how biased you are…

  14. @ amy: I also think there is something strange or wrong with Kovi at McLaren.

  15. Rachel, so you agree Lewis is arrogant?? And so what if he had a good rookie year, I’m sure ANYBODY racing in a mclaren would have a good rookie year compared to those who have worked up starting in backmarker teams like true champions Alonso and Kimi.

    @Roser, glad you think so too, have you heard the rumors he is not happy as number 2 and is looking to leave after 2009?

  16. Points since Kovalainen’s maiden win at Budapest in August:

    KOV. 13
    ALO. 35

    Kovalainen has only beaten Alonso at Valencia (04.Ret) and Monza (02.04). And that latter race certainly wasn’t a blazing performance by the Finn.

    And the two battled on track at Shanghai. I’m curious as to why Alonso couldn’t beat Heikki this weekend, or limit his points loss to three points (two would leave Alonso ahead on countback).

    Heikki has comprehensively beaten Alonso in qualifying all season, but has nothing to show for it. And in the past few rounds, his edge over the Renault has been significantly reduced.

    However, this is just your prediction and it would be quite boring if we never went out on a limb. ;)

    Edit: there is also a chance of Alonso overtaking Heidfeld in the table. Alonso has to finish second with Heidfeld finishing lower than sixth; or win the Brazilian GP with Heidfeld finishing lower than fifth.

  17. @ Amy: I haven’t heard rumours… It is just what I think after watching the races, looking at the results and keeping in mind what some people said at the beginning of the season: that Kovi was better than Alonso. I think Alonso is better than Kovi, but Kovi has a McLaren, so he is in principle stronger than Alonso because of the car. So I don’t understand why he is not getting more points and maybe the answer is that this year Ron is racing Kovi… But I fear this is conspiracy theory :)

  18. I’m sure ANYBODY racing in a mclaren would have a good rookie year

    Rubbish. Piquet Jnr? Or Kova? He beat Alonso in the same car in his first season and he has been susbtantially quicker than Kova all season. As much as some don’t want to, maybe it’s time that to accept that Hamilton is where he is on merit.

    Back on topic, Kova is due a good race I feel and who knows, he may have had it in Shanghai if his tyres were pointing in the right direction. So I pick him to beat Alonso.

    Other predictions: Kimi will get ahead of Kubica, Vettel will pick up a point to beat Trulli, the Red Bulls will be inspired and pinch a few points to run STR close. Status Quo for the Force Indias.

    If it rains, who knows though?!

  19. Kubica will keep the third spot. He fully deserves it after all. Kimi will have to watch him climbing the podium this time.

  20. “you’d have to expect he can finish ahead of Alonso this weekend”

    He should, but will he?

    Personally I think Alonso will win that little battle, and despite being a McLaren fan I’d like to see RD’s face when that happens. Regretting shafting Alonso last year, much, RD?

  21. Surely Alonso’s ‘do or die’ mentality will push him up past Kovi, who still isn’t on the ball with the car or tactics.
    Kubica is bound to try as hard as he can too, but I agree Kimi has a point to make – did you see the report on ITV-F1 with Old Schuey saying that Kimi needs to work more with the team? Wasn’t that a timely comment!
    STR have really gone far with the Ferrari engine upgrade, and I have been wondering if Renault swapped engines with Red Bull secretly to gain an advantage….
    And why didn’t Force India get a similar upgrade? Or did they but the drivers cannot handle it any better?
    Anyway, both cars will be on their way to get some points in the race, but something will happen to keep them at zero – and why does VJ never ever complain?

  22. @ amy: if you’re not arrogant, you’re not good enough. This isn’t little league baseball, it’s F1 – they’re supposed to be good and they’re going to know it. Wishing otherwise is idle pretence.

  23. amy:
    “I also think Kimi will beat Kubica, I reckon a Ferrari 1-2, Kimi being 2nd, so Kubica will have to finish 6th, so its anyones game really.”

    I agree, as long as Massa finishes then I expect Kimi to finish 2nd behind him.
    Given BMW’s performance the last half of the season it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kubica was outside the top 6.

    Don’t see what’s so biased about any of that.

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