Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Preview

Published on 3 November 2023 at 20:00

With three rounds to go, Formula 1 enters round 20 of the 2023 world championship, going to the infamous Interlagos Circuit for the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.


The Interlagos Circuit has been an iconic track over the years, hosting some iconic moments. Lewis Hamilton won his first world championship in 2008 with that 'Is that Glock?' moment, snatching the title from home hero Felipe Massa.


2012 also saw an iconic moment where Sebastian Vettel recovered from a lap one crash to fight back up the field in a mixed-condition Brazilian Grand Prix. The German managed to win his third-consecutive world championship after a stellar drive.


Many fans around the world want the Interlagos Circuit to be the host of the race finale - like it used to be. However, more recently it has been the Yas Marina Circuit that has hosted the season finales in Abu Dhabi.


Some positive news before any track running took place, with the Sao Paulo Grand Prix extending its stay on the Formula 1 calendar until 2030, meaning a guarantee of seven more races.


An interesting stat...


As mentioned before, Brazil has hosted many historic moments. The unpredictable weather and short track - including the technical sector two and the long straight in sector three.


However, there has been a reoccurring theme that has been happening since 2017 with the winners in Brazil. Since 2017, the polesitters in Hungary have gone on to win the race at Interlagos:


2017- Sebastian Vettel

2018 - Lewis Hamilton

2019 - Max Verstappen

2021 - Lewis Hamilton

2022 - George Russell


Well, the driver, who took pole position at the Hungaroring this year, was Lewis Hamilton. Could the seven-time world champion be on for his third win in the last six Grands Prix held in Brazil?


Verstappen on pole... plus a few other surprises


Qualifying took place on Friday due to it being another sprint weekend. The Sao Paulo Grand Prix is the last venue to host a sprint race weekend of the 2023 season.


Due to this format, teams only had one hour to set-up their cars and get it right for qualifying.


Qualifying saw Max Verstappen take pole position in an odd Q3 session. The Dutchman set a laptime that was seven tenths off his Q2 time. This was due to the storm that was quickly arriving to the circuit, creating strong winds and heavy winds.


Charles Leclerc got himself on the front row - just over two tenths off the reigning world champion's time at the top. Then came both Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in third and fourth - a surprise session for the Silverstone team, who have been struggling for form recently.


Predictions for Saturday and Sunday


Qualifying was close with many teams looking competitive to Red Bull and the track being short. I think that the race will be closer also with many teams fighting for the win.


Verstappen, himself, admitted that teams may be close with them in the race. However, the Dutchman secured pole and has two Aston Martin's that could hold up the faster cars behind.


McLaren will be extremely disappointed as they will be starting from seventh and 10th due to the team being caught up in the sudden weather change. The Woking team had the pace to challenge for pole position.


I think Verstappen will win the sprint race ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. However, I am going to stick with the stat and say that Hamilton will win Sunday's race, extending the streak of people securing pole to win in Brazil.


Nathan Hartley

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