5 Top Picks & Preview: Brazil GP

Formula 1 visits a place like no other this weekend as historic Interlagos hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix.

With Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes wrapping up both world titles at the past two races, the gloves can truly come off as drivers go all out for victory.

And few places have created drama quite like Sao Paulo over the years so here is your fantasy guide to the penultimate round of 2019.

About the race:

Few races in F1 evoke the emotion of the Brazilian GP, an event which dates back to 1972.

The carnival atmosphere never disappoints and when you throw in a local hero, the bowl which Interlagos sits in becomes a real cauldron of noise and passion.

Without doubt, the biggest hero Brazil had to cheer was Ayrton Senna who won his home race twice in 1991 and 1993 leading to scenes of jubilation that simply haven’t been seen since.

The most famous recent example came 11 years ago when a Sao Paulista, Felipe Massa, went head-to-head with Hamilton for the title.

Having done what he needed to do by claiming his second and final win at Interlagos, it appeared the championship was his as the Briton fell behind a young Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso with only two laps to go.

But as light rain began to fall harder, a struggling Timo Glock on dry tyres would deny Massa his title as Hamilton passed the Toyota at the final corner on the final lap to win the title.

2008 is far from the only championship decider to have taken place in Brazil with six champions crowned in eight years from 2005-2012, including Fernando Alonso twice, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

Even when the title hasn’t been on the line though, Interlagos doesn’t disappoint with classic races in 2001, 2003 and 2016 all sharing one thing in common – rain.

In the dry though, the long main straight into the Senna ‘S’ offers one of the best overtaking places on the calendar.

Last year, Max Verstappen cruised past both Ferrari’s and both Mercedes’ to lead comfortably only to be taken out by Esteban Ocon trying to unlap himself.

That would demote the Dutchman to second behind race winner Hamilton and highlights how all of the top three teams have a chance of victory this weekend.

Top Pick: Mercedes ($32.5m)

While a close battle is in store, it is hard to look past Mercedes enjoying another strong weekend.

They continue to have the best all-round car while Valtteri Bottas is showing great form to end the season to back up if not beat teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen will again be a strong threat, while Ferrari may only have Sebastian Vettel in the battle for victory as Charles Leclerc faces an engine penalty.

Medium pick: Alex Albon ($14.3m)

Newly announced as Red Bull’s second driver for 2020, that shows the impact Albon has made since switching from Toro Rosso at Spa.

The Thai driver has been very impressive scoring top-six finishes in every race, even fighting through the field three times to keep that run going.

He has yet to show the type of speed to challenge the very top drivers for a podium, but at this price, he is certainly a must-have member of your team.

Low pick: Lando Norris ($5.8m)

Finally, it all went right for Norris in Austin who was unlucky not to have one more lap or he would have almost certainly passed Daniel Ricciardo to finish ‘best of the rest’.

It was a result that also finally saw the Briton move up from the lowest value driver available, now $0.3m more than Robert Kubica, but still, at this price, he has the potential to score a lot of points for your fantasy team if his luck remains.

Notable picks:

Daniel Ricciardo ($10.4m)

To be honest, either Renault driver could go here with Nico Hulkenberg $0.4m more expensive, but Brazil looks like being a strong race for the French manufacturer.

Their car should be well suited to Interlagos and recent improvements do appear to be putting them back on McLaren’s level at the front of the midfield.

Ricciardo has been showing signs of his best form too, with top-eight finishes in the past three races (including his P6 before Renault’s exclusion in Japan).

Max Verstappen ($25.5m)

While Hamilton or Bottas may well be the favourites for victory, Verstappen has become something of a specialist in Brazil.

He really should have won last year and his drive in the wet in 2016 was one of the best of his career to date.

If Red Bull can take the fight to Mercedes then, stopping Max will be very difficult indeed.

That concludes our preview for the Brazilian GP, so head over to PlayOn.co now and create your fantasy teams for a chance to win cash prizes!


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