Nothing else really matters, final race, 2012 Formula One Grand Prix calendar – Interlagos, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL

Friday November 23rd 2012

There are two title contenders left for the 2012 F1 Drivers’ Championship, neither one of them look to be the fastest so far, not that it may make much of a difference in the weekend.

Lewis continues to have an edge over Vettel as the fastest package with the McLaren, a quarter of a second ahead of Vettel, with nine more drivers within a second.

For the race, we can take only the broadest brush strokes; the main reason, variations in:

  1. hot and cold, and
  2. dry and wet

Currently, the weather predictions are 100% rain, and 15 degrees colder, yes, COLD!

First off, way to go Lewis!  Getting your fiftieth win at McLaren would be totally reflective of your career there, and an appropriate way to move on…

For the contenders:

Vettel-Red Bull:

It’s comparatively straight-forward at Red Bull.  Besides making what ever preparations they can for the expected cold, wet weather, they just need to get the best car they can ready and reliable for Vettel, then let him do his stuff.

Alonso-Ferrari:

It’s complicated at Ferrari; they have to gamble one way or another.  Even in a best case scenario, Vettel gets a DNF, Alonso still needs to be on the podium to win the championship.  Let’s face it, if Vettel finishes the race, then Alonso really almost must have a win.  It’s been a while.  But Ferrari will do everything they can to win; expect the unexpected this weekend, expect bizarre happenstance; if advantage can be gained behind the scenes, expect Ferrari to be making the most of it.  I think you can look on an Alonso victory in the championship to be the only thing that will keep Stefano Domenicali secure in his job for another season.

The changing weather conditions favour the bold, and whether deserved or not, Alonso has the reputation of making the most of all conditions.  One way or another, Ferrari are going to have to be ready for any track condition, maximized for any track condition.

Also, I expect radical manoeuvres to get Fernando further up the grid; off the top of my head, figuring out what I would do, for example: look for a light-fueled Massa to get the pole, then control the pace by very, very aggressively managing challengers, to enable the well-motivated and capable Alonso, possibly fueled to require a safety car deployment, ample opportunity to move up through the field, if he qualifies using a race-optimized set up, i.e. high-seven gear ratio for passing on straights, etc.

With the expected weather, the chance of there NOT being a safety car, is slim to none; for this race, I will go out on a limb and say that there SHALL be a safety car deployment, at least one.

The big disadvantage to my proposed strategy is the start amongst so many jacked-up mid-fielders, taking Alonso’s fate into a checkered crowd, no mater how good he is, in the mid-pack, into the first corner, his fate is in the hands of many; a huge gamble in the rain and cold.

Speakng of the rain and cold:

Just who knows how the tires will perform?

We’ve had cool and wet races this year, but quite a while ago by the measure of the development pace this year.

For example, didn’t Mercedes win one this year?

So it is going to be a bit of a lottery.

I’m still hoping for a Kamui Kobyashi victory this year, and this will be the best chance he is ever likely to get.

Go Kobyashi, go!

Also would be a good way for Lewis to finish off his McLaren career.

I’d enjoy seeing a second Kimi victory.

But I’m really putting the crystal ball away for this race.  With the cold and wet, and in particular, the cold and wet, following abruptly after hot and dry and/or hot and wet, means that most predictability is out the window, and down the sewer (where it belongs).

My recommendation:

Just enjoy the race; it could be good.

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