F1 Paddock Notebook – Brazilian GP Friday
Rounding up all of Friday’s news and notes from the Interlagos paddock, here is our daily notebook.
– Do you remember in Mexico when Red Bull was the team to beat and cars like the Haas simply didn’t work? It all switched back this Friday in Interlagos. Mercedes was back in front, with the graining that hurt their race two weeks ago nowhere to be seen, even though Lewis Hamilton highlighted that the 4.3km track is too small to make any mistakes: “The pace seemed to be good, but it is a short track, so the margins are small.”
– In fact, this Friday the two Mercedes drivers were only separated by 0.003s, with the Ferrari not so far behind. And Sebastian Vettel
had reasons to be optimistic, as his car has a less dramatic tyre drop in the longer stints, and a temperature increase is expected throughout the weekend. “I think, especially come Sunday when it supposed to be hotter, it could be a tricky one for tyres,” Vettel said. “It was already tricky for us today. We are in the ballpark but we can still launch forward from where we are.”
– Nico Hulkenberg was not very enthusiastic about speaking to the press after crashing during FP2. He just explained that went off in
the grass at Turn 13 and “the grass has no grip”, but guaranteed that the engine and the gearbox are fine and he shouldn’t have to suffer any
– The same cannot be said about his next year’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, who has got another turbocharger and will lose five grid positions. This time, though, he cannot blame fate or Red Bull: a Mexican GP marshal spotted his car smoking and duly squirted extinguisher foam on the car, writing off his turbo. Last weekend Ricciardo said he hadn’t kicked any black cats fo have such a bad run of luck. But two weeks on one might wonder if he changed his mind.
– In a country known for its football stars, even a third driver announcement may become news elsewhere: despite Sergio Sette Camara’s family attempts to disconnect his image to his father’s, the link was inevitable – and not so welcomed by the new McLaren development driver. The driver’s father, who is also called Sergio Sette Camara, is the president of Atletico Mineiro, a club that started the championship with great expectations but has been going through a tough time. Not that Sette Camara has ever been interested in the club – “and that’s why I’m sitting here!”, he joked – but his father has been questioned by the supporters for focusing on his son’s career instead of the club.
– This weekend marks the comeback of the third country in number of wins in F1 history, as Sette Camara and Pietro Fittipaldi were
announced as development drivers for McLaren and Haas, the latter being confiirmed today. Explaining the choice of a driver who has had a not so orthodox career so far, Guenther Steiner said “it’s very hard to find a young driver who really wants to commit to this role, they all want to focus in their championships first” and that’s not Pietro’s case. This year, he was supposed to have a busy schedule with WEC, Indycar and Super Formula, but it all changed after the Spa 6h crash in May, where he fractured both legs. And his plans for next year do involve some
racing, but the main focus will be the development driver role.
– In good spirits, when asked about the value of having the Fittipaldi surname onboard, Steiner joked that, thinking only about the commercial side, he should invite Emerson to do some work in the team: “Then we can wait for Niki to get better and put him in the car too”. Or maybe it’s better to stick with Pietro…
– Lewis Hamilton is racing with a tweaked helmet design this weekend at Interlagos, incorporating the colours of the Brazilian flag into his lid’s livery. The new design also features a fifth star to mark his fifth world title success, clinched in Mexico two weeks ago.
– A number of drivers reported blistering on their tyres through practice running on Friday, albeit not to the extreme levels experienced in Mexico. There appears to be only a gentle step between the Soft and Supersoft tyres over one lap, making it feasible for drivers to get through Q2 on the Softs.
– Max Verstappen lost half of his FP2 running due to an oil leak on his car, with Horner revealing a crack had emerged in part of the power unit, adding it was fortunate it had not failed during Verstappen’s charge to victory in Mexico.
Luke Smith contributed to this report.
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November 10, 2018 at 12:07AM