George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will start from the front row of the grid for the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix after an action-packed Sprint Race saw the Mercedes pair vault up the field, but could the weather in Sao Paulo have a bearing on the race?
Russell won the 24-lap sprint from third place, overtaking Max Verstappen who was hindered by using the medium tyres.
Hamilton moved from eighth to third, but moves up one spot due to Carlos Sainz‘s grid penalty for a new internal combustion engine.
The seven-time world champion was investigated for a start procedure infringement, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Verstappen will start third, ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez in what could be a thrilling race in Sao Paulo.
Rain played a major role in qualifying asKevin Magnussen took his maiden Formula 1 pole position, but there is set to be no wet weather on Sunday.
Conditions will be similar to the Sprint Race with temperatures remaining at a constant throughout the Grand Prix, which begins at 15:00 local time (18:00 UK).
The air temperature will around 29 degrees Celsius, with track temperatures likely to be around the 50 degrees mark, so tyre wear could be an issue.
That said, the soft tyres were holding up well for most cars in the Sprint Race, so it will be close as to whether a one or two-stop race is best.
There will be plenty of sunny spells too, therefore the cars will be punished in the heat if the pace is relentless and there are no safety cars.
Wind speeds of 5-8mph won’t be a problem for the drivers, so although the weather conditions won’t be challenging, the race could still be a thriller.
Safety car timing could be key
The timing of a safety car or virtual safety car in F1 can flip a race on its head as we have seen several times this year.
Mercedes‘ best chances of victory this year, at Silverstone and Zandvoort, saw a late safety car deny Hamilton a better chance of standing on the top step of the podium.
Just three of the last eight dry races in Brazil have featured a safety car, but the aggressive racing we saw in the Sprint Race will likely continue on Sunday, so the chances of an incident or crash are high.
For Mercedes and Red Bull, they may decide to split the strategy or gamble by running one of their drivers long in the first stint and hope a SC or VSC comes out when their rivals have pitted.
In green flag conditions, the average pit stop time loss is 23 seconds, but during a SC or VSC, this will be 13 seconds.