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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix Preview

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Formula One heads to Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the second race of the latest triple-header as Red Bull and Mercedes continue to fight for a title double. 

This race also marks the return of Sprint Qualifying which means that a maximum of 29 points will be on offer, with Max Verstappen entering the weekend with a 19 point lead over Lewis Hamilton who will be seeking to hit back and reignite his fading title challenge.

Mercedes meanwhile lead Red Bull by a single point in their constructors’ fight as both teams seek to seize the advantage heading into the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix which follows next week as the conclusion to this triple-header.

Now here is everything that you need to know about the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix from track pointers to timings as F1 returns to Brazil for the first time since 2019, having cancelled their trip in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Track Guide

Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace

Circuit: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace

Laps: 71

Race Distance: 305.909km

Tyre Compounds: C2, C3 & C4

Schedule

Date Session Time (GMT)
Friday 12 November FP1 3:30pm
Friday 12 November Qualifying 7:00pm
Saturday 13 November FP2 3:00pm
Saturday 13 November Sprint Qualifying 7:30pm
Sunday 14 November Race 5:10pm

Four Key Pointers

  • With a decent possibility of rain on Friday, it is going to be crucial for Verstappen and Hamilton to qualify as high as they can ahead of Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying where a clean start is key to avoiding a disastrous grid position for Sunday’s main race.
  • Having been outclassed in the last two races on race pace by Red Bull which cut their points deficit, Mercedes need to nail their race strategy if they’re to maximise their title chances.
  • Pirelli are bringing the C4 tyres to Interlagos for the first time which could add extra spice to Sprint Qualifying if Friday’s action is held in wet conditions.
  • With several slow and medium speed corners, it will be crucial to ensure that cars are set up to maximise traction but they will need to find balance for maximising straight line speed too.

Last Time Out

F1’s last visit to Interlagos proved a classic despite Verstappen dominating the race from pole position to take victory, as what seemed destined to be a forgettable race turned into a late thriller as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc collided on Lap 66.

Once the resulting Safety Car was withdrawn, Hamilton tangled with Alex Albon who was sent spinning with stewards handing Hamilton a post-race five-second time penalty, dropping him to seventh as Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz consequently finished second and third for Toro Rosso and McLaren respectively.

If missed any of the 17 previous rounds of the 2021 season, please click on the links below to catch up on the missed action.

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