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Rosberg Setting Himself For 2016

Nico Rosberg recorded back to back victories for the first time since May with his victory in Brazil. The result secured second place in the Driver's Championship and continued his recent resurgence. Lewis Hamilton finished second and is still to win in Brazil, even though he put Rosberg under several periods of pressure. Behind the dominant Mercedes pair, the Ferraris were a distant third and fourth, with Sebastian Vettel leading Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel couldn't do anything to get close to the Mercedes, meaning his debut season at Ferrari will see him finish third in the Drivers Championship with Abu Dhabi still to come.

As has been custom this season, the Brazilian Grand Prix didn't deliver much in excitement, despite its history of delivering an unpredictable and exciting race. It started off well, with the Mercedes coming very close to contact at turn one. The incident was almost identical to that of the U.S grand prix, except it was Rosberg who made sure Hamilton wasn't going around the outside of him. This allowed Rosberg to open up a small lead during the first stint. Reliability issues looked like they were creeping for Rosberg, who was looking very cautious on the brakes for several laps after the first round of pit stops, thus allowing Hamilton to move within DRS range - but eventually dropping back. Hamilton came back at Rosberg during the third stint, but frustration was starting to get to Hamilton as he couldn't get passed Rosberg. Interlagos' tight confines and narrow straights make overtaking extremely difficult, and Hamilton's frustration spilled over onto the team radio as he requested a different strategy from Rosberg in an attempt to get past. However, Mercedes stuck to their long held policy of keeping their drivers on the same number of stops. And with Mercedes not budging, both drivers stopped three times and Hamilton finished 7.7 seconds being Rosberg. Rosberg's recent good form is hopefully putting him in a good position going into 2016.

Behind the Mercedes and Ferraris, Valtteri Bottas finished in fifth, but couldn't get close enough to close with his fellow countryman for the third time in four races. His fifth place was enough to secure third place for Williams in the Constructors Championship for the second year running. Meanwhile, having seen Force India team-mate Sergio Perez take the plaudits in recent races, Nico Hulkenberg returned to form to take a fine sixth, and secure his team fifth place in the standings - the best finish in their history. Daniil Kvyat was seventh for Red Bull with Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen and Pastor Maldonado rounding off the points positions.


Massa Excluded From Home Race

The local hero, Felipe Massa, was disqualified from the Brazilian GP after his tyres were found to breach their temperature limits before the race. Massa had originally finished 8th, after what had been a tough weekend for the Brazilian, who seemed to have some set up issue. He was disqualified after the race for exceeding the revised parameters to ensure tyre safety, which were introduced at the Italian GP following Sebastian Vettel's tyre failure in Belgium. The issue was flagged up after almost half an hour had passed in the race. An FIA technical report into the incident reported that on the grid, the tread temperature and minimum starting pressure on Massa's car was checked after the "5 minute" signal was given. The report went on to say that the temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tyre of Massa"s car was 137c, which is 27c above the maximum tread temperature of 110c. The corresponding tyre pressure at 137c was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure.

Although this is a violation of the regulations, something stands out about this incident. At the Italian GP in September, both Mercedes cars were found to be under the minimums set by Pirelli. However, after three hours of deliberations by the race stewards, Hamilton's victory stood. How is the incident in Brazil any different, apart from the very different outcomes? Is it because it's Williams and not Mercedes? Or is it because it was Felipe Massa and not Lewis Hamilton? Whatever the reason for the different outcome one thing is clear, there needs to be more consistency in applying these rules.

Has Hamilton Gone On Holiday?

After Lewis Hamilton was beaten to pole position and race victory for the second race in a row by Nico Romberg, questions have already crept in about Hamilton's commitment now that he has captured his third World Championship. Rosberg has also secured his fifth consecutive pole position as well, something that Hamilton hasn't seemed too concerned by. Although his calmness over Rosberg's qualifying performances suggests he has switched off for the season, his racing determination counters that argument. This determination was underlined by his request to move onto a different strategy to his team mate, just so he could get past him and beat him.

Something that hasn't escaped my attention is Hamilton's life outside the track since winning the title, and the effect it has had. His arrival to Brazil was delayed by a day because of a fever, which Hamilton has admitted was brought on by a hectic schedule since winning his third title three weeks ago, and a minor car accident in Monaco. A lot has been made about his off track antics since winning the championship. Let's be honest, if you had just won your third F1 World Championship, emulating your hero, you"d probably party hard as well. His minor accident was apparently a result of his fever and general exhaustion.

In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton can match his career best haul of 11 wins from last season, whilst another podium finish would tie the all-time record of 17 podium finishes in a season held jointly by Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher. These personal records will hopefully show that Hamilton is still giving it his all, and that he will want to equal these records. I don't think that Hamilton has switched off for the season, I think that Nico Rosberg has realised that he needs to start now if he is to put in a serious bid to get the World Championship out of his team mate’s hands next year.

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