Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2017

Bottas versus the Ferraris for their first win since the summer break

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Following the stunning developments of qualifying the Brazilian Grand Prix will begin with one Mercedes at the front of the field and the other at the back, in the pit lane.

Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas has a great chance to score his first victory for four months and put some polish on what has been a different second half to his first season at Mercedes.

How successful he may be in doing that will first of all rest on him getting a good start. But even if he manages that he can still count on sustained pressure from Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2017
Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
Sunday at Interlagos is expected to be substantially hotter than Saturday was. “The conditions we see today have nothing to do with the conditions we will have tomorrow<" said Carlos Sainz Jnr after qualifying.

Mercedes’ vulnerability in hotter temperatures is well-known, and it’s partly what Ferrari will be counting on. Like Bottas, they have also been without a win since the summer break.

While Bottas tried to make his escape, Hamilton will probably be relishing the prospect of getting stuck in from the back of the field with a fresh engine and four untouched sets of super-soft tyres. The latter may prove especially useful if there’s a late Safety Car appearance.

Although Red Bull had a disappointing Saturday, they ran better in the warm conditions on Friday and could be back in the hunt on race day. At the end of qualifying Max Verstappen commented on the difficulty he’s had getting the front end to turn in as he wants. But the RB13s are habitually quicker over a race stint, as we’ve seen in recent events.

Daniel Ricciardo has a bigger job on his hands as another power unit penalty has dropped him back into the pack. If he can make quick progress through traffic he may be able to run long on his soft tyres, which is his preferred of the two softer compounds.

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As usual the hardest available tyre is unlikely to figure in the strategies. Expect most drivers to opt for one-stop strategies, those starting on super-softs to keep them on until at least lap 26.

The recovering Ricciardo and Hamilton will inevitably reach the top midfielders at some point, so the key to their race will be losing as little time as possible at the start. Watch for Fernando Alonso getting his elbows out again Sergio Perez at the start. The latter may well be preoccupied with ensuring he keeps his team mate behind, especially as Esteban Ocon has the benefit of a free choice of tyre for the start of the race.

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’09.4521’08.638 (-0.814)1’08.322 (-0.316)
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’09.6431’08.494 (-1.149)1’08.360 (-0.134)
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’09.4051’09.116 (-0.289)1’08.538 (-0.578)
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1’09.8201’09.050 (-0.770)1’08.925 (-0.125)
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’09.8281’09.533 (-0.295)1’09.330 (-0.203)
6Sergio PerezForce India1’10.1451’09.760 (-0.385)1’09.598 (-0.162)
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’10.1721’09.593 (-0.579)1’09.617 (+0.024)
8Nico HulkenbergRenault1’10.0781’09.726 (-0.352)1’09.703 (-0.023)
9Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’10.2271’09.768 (-0.459)1’09.805 (+0.037)
10Felipe MassaWilliams1’09.7891’09.612 (-0.177)1’09.841 (+0.229)
11Esteban OconForce India1’10.1681’09.830 (-0.338)
12Romain GrosjeanHaas1’10.1481’09.879 (-0.269)
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’10.2861’10.116 (-0.170)
14Kevin MagnussenHaas1’10.5211’10.154 (-0.367)
15Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1’10.625
16Pascal WehrleinSauber1’10.678
17Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1’10.686
18Lance StrollWilliams1’10.776
19Marcus EricssonSauber1’10.875
20Lewis HamiltonMercedes

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Valtteri Bottas17.299 (1)34.773 (2)16.226 (1)
Sebastian Vettel17.370 (3)34.680 (1)16.257 (2)
Kimi Raikkonen17.364 (2)34.804 (3)16.361 (3)
Max Verstappen17.560 (6)34.853 (4)16.397 (5)
Daniel Ricciardo17.609 (7)35.211 (7)16.470 (7)
Sergio Perez17.521 (4)35.534 (10)16.482 (8)
Fernando Alonso17.740 (9)35.197 (5)16.652 (14)
Nico Hulkenberg17.745 (11)35.204 (6)16.537 (9)
Carlos Sainz Jnr17.777 (13)35.287 (8)16.645 (13)
Felipe Massa17.544 (5)35.666 (12)16.387 (4)
Esteban Ocon17.626 (8)35.723 (14)16.449 (6)
Romain Grosjean17.752 (12)35.550 (11)16.548 (10)
Stoffel Vandoorne17.913 (16)35.399 (9)16.795 (19)
Kevin Magnussen17.740 (9)35.682 (13)16.591 (11)
Brendon Hartley17.937 (18)35.965 (17)16.717 (15)
Pascal Wehrlein17.967 (19)35.922 (16)16.754 (18)
Pierre Gasly17.881 (15)35.903 (15)16.740 (17)
Lance Stroll17.996 (20)36.141 (18)16.639 (12)
Marcus Ericsson17.918 (17)36.218 (19)16.739 (16)
Lewis Hamilton17.800 (14)41.048 (20)16.976 (20)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Esteban OconForce IndiaMercedes332.7 (206.7)
2Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes332.5 (206.6)-0.2
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari332.3 (206.5)-0.4
4Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes330.9 (205.6)-1.8
5Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes330.4 (205.3)-2.3
6Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari329.9 (205.0)-2.8
7Lance StrollWilliamsMercedes328.3 (204.0)-4.4
8Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari326.3 (202.8)-6.4
9Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari325.2 (202.1)-7.5
10Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG Heuer324.5 (201.6)-8.2
11Max VerstappenRed BullTAG Heuer323.7 (201.1)-9.0
12Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes323.3 (200.9)-9.4
13Pierre GaslyToro RossoRenault322.7 (200.5)-10.0
14Brendon HartleyToro RossoRenault322.0 (200.1)-10.7
15Pascal WehrleinSauberFerrari321.2 (199.6)-11.5
16Marcus EricssonSauberFerrari320.9 (199.4)-11.8
17Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultRenault320.2 (199.0)-12.5
18Nico HulkenbergRenaultRenault319.2 (198.3)-13.5
19Fernando AlonsoMcLarenHonda316.2 (196.5)-16.5
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenHonda315.5 (196.0)-17.2

Drivers’ remaining tyres

Lewis HamiltonMercedes011041
Valtteri BottasMercedes101004
Daniel RicciardoRed Bull010212
Max VerstappenRed Bull011004
Sebastian VettelFerrari011103
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari011103
Sergio PerezForce India011004
Esteban OconForce India011023
Felipe MassaWilliams011004
Lance StrollWilliams011032
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren011004
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren011014
Brendon HartleyToro Rosso012022
Pierre GaslyToro Rosso012022
Romain GrosjeanHaas011014
Kevin MagnussenHaas011014
Nico HulkenbergRenault011004
Carlos Sainz JnrRenault011004
Pascal WehrleinSauber012013
Marcus EricssonSauber012013

Over to you

Will Bottas or one of the Ferraris be first home? And what can Ricciardo and Hamilton salvage from their compromised starting positions?

Share your views on the Brazilian Grand Prix in the comments.

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    13 comments on “Bottas versus the Ferraris for their first win since the summer break”

    1. If you wanted to give Valterri a help… You just gave him the worst help… Now he has to deal with it by himself… I don’t know how will he beat the ferraris alone.. He needs some serious pace tomorrow…

      1. @krichelle
        Why Bottas had only minus 17 pts to Lewis in July and what happened after that?

        1. The rest of the season? Where Red Bull also became involved.

      2. It seems likely that Bottas will be struggling in the race, as his tire consumption is usually higher than that of his rivals. However, I’m not so sure this race will be a straightforward 1-stopper. History has shown that tire wear is commonly higher than predicted at Interlagos. More pitstops means he is even more likely to lose the lead. He might even finish behind Hamilton.

        1. I think that is a bit much. He might finish behind Hamilton when Bottas is on pole and Hamilton is starting from the pit lane? Bottas will have to have to have some serious bad luck for that to happen.
          The last time he started on pole, he managed to win. And he’s looked incredibly close to Hamilton’s pace all weekend. Bottas was 0.127 behind in P1, 0.048 in P2 and 0.003 ahead in P3. And had a far better qualifying. So I’m not convinced in the slightest that this could happen. Unless it involves bad luck on Bottas’s side.

          1. It’s good to see Merc again giving Bottas prime engine mode now that Hamilton has WDC in the pocket)

    2. Looks like Renault is set to snatch no 6 position from Toro Rosso today.
      Hoping for more row between them. We need more drama to entertain us in the last two races. #nocoincident

      1. Nah, probably their engines will blow again or their drivers will blow it, like last race.

    3. It has the potential to be a fascinating race, in the hotter conditions on Friday the long run race pace order was Hamilton-Vettel-Bottas, with race conditions similar to Friday Bottas should have his hands full keeping Vettel behind.

      1. Lets see if Vettel lets them make it through the first corner undamaged. Actually also Bottas has been involved in some crashes with Raikkonen even if that has been a while ago.

        I just hope it’s not all over at turn one again.

    4. I think if the Red Bulls are in any way gonna be in this Verstappen needs to have racy first laps. Ricciardo is far back but he’s on the softs which could well be a very good strategy. Podium not gone…

    5. I like this guy. I mean he has a hot gf in a hotel room and he would rather play a sim racer.


    6. Jonathan Parkin
      12th November 2017, 13:05

      A late Safety Car may help, as long as it’s not too late! We recall the 2012 race which finished under stabilised conditions because of Paul DiResta’s crash

    Comments are closed.