Mercedes’ George Russell will start from pole for today’s Brazilian Grand Prix, after winning yesterday’s sprint. Can the British Formula 1 driver secure his first win in the sport?
The 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix has proven to be a weekend of surprises so far. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen took a shock pole on Friday, and Russell claimed the win in this weekend’s Sprint Race with Carlos Sainz finishing second and Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton in third.
However, Sainz will drop down to seventh following a five-place grid penalty for taking a new power unit, meaning Mercedes has locked out the front row for the first time this season.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start third, with the 2022 champion running the medium compound tyres in the sprint, a strategy that ultimately saw him drop down from first to fourth over the course of the race.
However, given that Red Bull has won the last nine races in a row, Verstappen goes into the Brazilian Grand Prix as the favorite, a fact Russell has acknowledged as well.
With the predicted rain failing to materialize this weekend, the pit stop strategy will be key in determining the race’s outcome.
What are Pirelli saying?
Pirelli has opted to stick with the same range of tyres as it did for Mexico. This means the C2 will represent the weekend’s hard compound tyre, the C3 the mediums and the C4 tyre is the designated soft compound tyre.
The Italian tyre company believes that the teams and drivers can theoretically employ four different strategies based on their calculations.
The first is a two-stop strategy that involves the drivers starting on the softs before undertaking two stints on the mediums. The alternative is to start on the softs before bolting on the mediums and ending the race on the softs once again.
The alternative one-stop strategies involve starting on either the mediums or the softs before ending the race on the hard compound tyre.
“The battle between Max Verstappen and George Russell, on different compounds, was one of the highlights,” Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Mario Isola stated after the Sprint Race.
“Today’s short race means that it wasn’t possible to evaluate the performance of the medium tyre, which nonetheless seems very close to the soft. As a result, there’s a wide variety of strategies possible for tomorrow, which should lead to a great show.”
Can Mercedes claim their first win of 2022?
It’s fair to say that Mercedes hasn’t had the best of years in 2022. The team employed, what proved to be, an incorrect design philosophy ahead of the season’s technical overhaul and has played catch up ever since.
That said, the team’s resilience must be commended with Mercedes making significant progress throughout the year.
A Grand Prix win would represent a just result for the team’s efforts and serves to underscore their pedigree after winning eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships.