Venue: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
With a sixth Formula One world championship safely wrapped up, we’re backing Lewis Hamilton to celebrate in style in our Brazilian Grand Prix predictions.
The Briton travelled to South America under similar circumstances 12 months ago and went on to give Mercedes a fourth win here in five years.
Hamilton moved to within just one title of Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven after finishing second to team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
We’ve taken a detailed look at how he ranks against the sport’s legends and what he needs to do to be considered the greatest driver of all time in our great infographic.
The 34-year-old has 21 more poles (87) than any other driver and is only eight victories adrift of Schumacher’s win record (91), too.
That last stat will spur him on to grasp any chance of adding to his own tally of race victories while Mercedes are still ahead of the chasing pack in technical terms.
“I definitely feel like this has been my best season,” said Hamilton, who has claimed 10 wins in 2019.
“But it takes a long time to master a craft and while I feel like I am mastering it, there is still more to master, there is more to add and more pieces of the puzzle to complete.
“There are going to be ups and downs along the way, but I feel like I have the best tools to deal with those. I am working on a masterpiece and I haven’t quite finished it yet.”
That ominous warning that Hamilton feels he still hasn’t reached his peak will send shivers down the spines of his rivals.
How the United States Grand Prix finished
1 Bottas (Mercedes), 2 Hamilton (Mercedes), 3 Verstappen (Red Bull), 4 Leclerc (Ferrari), 5 Albon (Red Bull), 6 Ricciardo (Renault), 7 Norris (McLaren), 8 Sainz (McLaren), 9 Hulkenberg (Renault), 10 Perez (Racing Point), 11 Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 12 Kvyat (Toro Rosso), 13 Stroll (Racing Point), 14 Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 15 Grosjean (Haas), 16 Gasly (Toro Rosso), 17 Russell (Williams), 18 Magnussen (Haas), DNF Kubica (Williams), Vettel (Ferrari)
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who has overseen Hamilton’s dominance of the sport, added: “Lewis is still very motivated and you can see he wants to win every single race.
“As long as that is the case, he can go for more. We just need to provide him with a good car. There is no limit.”
Bottas fought his way past Hamilton on the 52nd lap for victory in Texas to secure his fourth success of the season and is 7/2 to make it five at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.
However, his record in this race is not great, so many will see Max Verstappen as more of a value alternative to Hamilton at 3/1 in their Brazilian Grand Prix betting tips.
The Red Bull driver was leading and extending his advantage over Hamilton here last year until colliding with Esteban Ocon on lap 44, through no fault of his own.
Verstappen pushed Hamilton hard for second place last time out and the feeling is that he has one more big race left in him this year.
Ferrari had been the dominant team in qualifying since the summer break, but the Scuderia’s six-race pole streak came to an end in Austin.
Sebastian Vettel then retired following a rear suspension failure, while Charles Leclerc took the chequered flag a distant fourth, 52 seconds behind Bottas.
One theory to Ferrari’s underwhelming pace was the release of a new technical directive which outlawed them from using a loophole to gain an apparent power boost.
“That is what happens when you stop cheating,” Verstappen told Dutch TV after the race.
Past Brazilian Grand Prix winners:
2018 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2017 Vettel (Ferrari), Bottas (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2016 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Verstappen (Red Bull)
2015 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel (Ferrari)
2014 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes), Massa (Williams)
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