21/11/2012

What's happening this weekend?

It's the final race of the Formula One season - the title decider!

It may be a title decider from Alonso or Vettel's viewpoint, but for Sahara Force India the situation is much more clear cut.

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (136 pts)
6) Sauber (124)
7) Force India (99)
8) Williams (76)

25 points behind Sauber, 23 points ahead of Williams - unless their is a very spectacular race causing an unusual podium, things are unlikely to change. Having said that, we know Brazil always throws up an eventful race, never say never!

How did we get to this situation though? What happened at the last race? (Many of you will know already, but a promise of a race analysis was made on our facebook page).

USGP Results: Hulkenberg 8th (4 points), di Resta 15th, Karthikeyan 22nd.

Both Sahara Force India drivers had a similar races, albeit with very different outcomes. Once again, it was all about tyres. Nico Hulkenberg & Paul di Resta had cracking pace at the start of their stints - but as tyre life dropped away, performance dramatically dropped away - especially in comparison to other teams.

The good news for Nico was that by the time he experienced the drop-off in laptime, he had already built up a sufficient gap to those behind and so he was able to stay in the points. Good defensive driving once again from the German as he managed to hold off both Williams cars at the end of the race.

Meanwhile Paul di Resta had a spin down at the very tricky turn 19 which caused flat spots on the tyres. He would need to replace them. The extra pit-stop ruined his race really. The positive thing is that, apart from the spin, he extracted the maximum from the car - good effort.

As for Narain Karthikeyan, he had an uneventful race really apart from one moment where he held up Vettel while being lapped. Not Narain's fault though (despite Sebastian's off-hand comments). The Indian driver was the last classified runner, as expected when missing a practice session on a brand new track, but at least he finished the race.

Review quotes here.

So back to the upcoming race, let's look at the drivers championship heading into the final event of the season:

Drivers championship (11th-16th)
11) Kamui Kobayashi (58 pts)
12) Nico Hulkenberg (53)
13) Paul di Resta (46)
14) Pastor Maldonado (45)
15) Michael Schumacher (43)
16) Bruno Senna (31)

It's pretty tight in the midfield and both Nico & Paul will be fighting to win the inter-team battle. It's still possible that they could finish 11th & 12th with a strong (but not unrealistic) result. What is worth mentioning is that just one point this weekend, for either driver, would help Sahara Force India get into triple figures for the season (100+ pts).

Drivers championship (19th-25th, all 0 pts)
19) Timo Glock (Best finish: 12th x1)
20) Heikki Kovalainen (Best finish: 13th x2)
21) Vitaly Petrov (Best finish: 13th x1)
22) Jerome D'Ambrosio (Best finish: 13th x1)
23) Charles Pic (Best finish: 15th x2)
24) Narain Karthikeyan (Best finish: 15th x1)
25) Pedro de la Rosa (Best finish: 17th x3)

For Narain, the situation is a little different as it basically comes down to luck. There's every chance he could still finish P12 in the championship, it would just require a lot of retirements. What is interesting at HRT is that although Pedro has probably had a pace advantage this season, Narain is ahead in the championship - that's crucial!

It's the final race of the season - so make sure you enjoy it! It's the last time we'll see Nico racing for Sahara Force India (well, probably anyway - he could move back in the future at some point) and it's possibly the last time we'll see Narain Karthikeyan in F1 - and an Indian driver for that matter. Savour the feeling while you can!

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