Con­struc­tors race to podium and purse

CityPress - - Sport - DRIV­ERS Se4AstiAn Vettel Kimi R5ikkö­nen VAlt­teri Bot­tAs MAx Ver­stAp­pen DAniel Ric­ciAr-o Nico Hwlken4erg Ser­gio Perez Kevin MAg­nussen Fer­nAn-o Alonso CON­STRUC­TORS Fer­rAri Re­nAult HAAs-Fer­rAri McLAren-Re­nAult Force In-iA MICHELLE FOSTER sports@city­press.co.

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Lewis Hamil­ton

Merceaes

SAu4er-Fer­rAri All hail Lewis Hamil­ton, who be­came this year’s cham­pion-elect last time out in Mex­ico. Now the fo­cus turns to the money – the con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship.

It doesn’t have the glitz or glam­our of the driv­ers’ crown and even the most ded­i­cated fans would be hard­pressed to tell you who won the 1988 con­struc­tors’ ti­tle – it was McLaren – but they will all know that was the year Ayr­ton Senna won his first of three world ti­tles.

How­ever, it is ar­guably the one race the teams most want to do well in, given that it car­ries the prize money.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween first place and sec­ond place is about £10 mil­lion (R183 mil­lion), with the cham­pi­ons taking al­most 20% of the pot, while P10 gets just 4%.

It is a prize worth fight­ing for and that’s ex­actly what Mercedes and Fer­rari will be do­ing to­day at the In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mercedes lead the bat­tle by 55 points, with 86 points still in play. That means the Sil­ver Ar­rows could seal the dou­ble in Brazil by get­ting both cars on to the podium.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “Our tar­get for this sea­son was to win both cham­pi­onships, not one ti­tle or the other, so our mind-set is one of un­fin­ished busi­ness as we head to Sao Paulo.

“The con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship pays the mort­gage of the col­leges and the Christ­mas gifts. And that one is still out there and is still on.”

All, though, is not lost for Fer­rari. If they can outscore Mercedes by at least 13 points tonight, that race will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

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Fer­rari need some good news

The Scud­e­ria are still lick­ing their wounds as even their dou­ble podium and Se­bas­tian Vettel’s P2 in Mex­ico couldn’t stop Hamil­ton from wrap­ping up the driv­ers’ ti­tle.

The Ger­man is de­ter­mined to bounce back and hope­fully re­deem him­self af­ter one mis­take too many cost him this year’s ti­tle race.

“We [will] try to fight Mercedes for the con­struc­tors’ [ti­tle] and knock them off their throne, maybe to give them a taste for next year,” he said.

“I think peo­ple back there [at Maranello] cer­tainly de­serve [a win] and I will try ev­ery­thing to score as many points for them as I can.”

Both driv­ers have won at the hal­lowed In­ter­la­gos, which, for all the se­cu­rity is­sues out­side the track, is rated as one of the best by most For­mula 1 driv­ers.

Hamil­ton claimed his first win at Senna’s home cir­cuit in 2016, while Vettel tri­umphed in 2010, 2013 and last year.

Last sea­son, Valt­teri Bot­tas started from pole, but lost out to Vettel at the first cor­ner. The Finn fin­ished at P2, ahead of Kimi Räikkö­nen.

Hamil­ton started from the pit lane af­ter crash­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing race, but raced to P4, while Ro­main Gros­jean took out Este­ban Ocon, and Stof­fel Van­doorne and Kevin Mag­nussen col­lided.

The only other cur­rent driver to win the Brazil­ian grand prix was Räikkö­nen – back in 2007.

While the con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship ti­tle comes with money and a tro­phy for P1, it is un­doubt­edly those be­hind the cham­pi­ons who are scrap­ing the hard­est for every point and every po­si­tion on the log.

Red Bull aren’t in­volved in that bat­tle – they’re set to fin­ish this sea­son at a dis­tant third de­spite adding more points to their tally with Max Ver­stap­pen’s Mex­i­can win. The Re­nault-pow­ered team has ruled out any chance of be­ing in­volved in the race for to­day’s win, with Ver­stap­pen adamant that the track won’t suit their RB14.

Bar a mas­sive re­sult from Haas in the fi­nal two races of this sea­son, Re­nault are on course for P4 in the stand­ings as they hold a 30-point ad­van­tage.

Force In­dia can still catch McLaren, es­pe­cially as the lat­ter are strug­gling to score as the sea­son draws to a close, while Sauber are hold­ing off Toro Rosso by three points.

The last per­son out­side the big three – Mercedes, Fer­rari and Red Bull – to stand on the In­ter­la­gos podium was Felipe Massa in a Wil­liams in 2014. While the chances of a re­peat per­for­mance this week­end are slim to none, there is rain fore­cast for tonight’s race and, in the past, even a brief shower causes havoc due to the In­ter­la­gos drainage sys­tem.

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