Grand Prix – Bottas can secure first season win in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton will be in party-mode when he heads to the home of carnival this weekend for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Brit clinched his fifth world title in Mexico and would appear to be ready to ease off during the final two races of the year.

With Hamilton’s will to win satisfied, could the door be opened to team mate Valtteri Bottas to secure a much-deserved first victory of the year?

Mercedes seeking strong finish from Bottas

With a world title challenge having failed to materialise, Bottas has been content to play the bridesmaid to his Mercedes colleague during the latter half of the season.

The Finn’s greatest act of gallantry was handing Hamilton victory in Russia, and this weekend could be the perfect time for the Brit to return the favour at a track the Silver Arrows tend to fly around.

Since the V6 hybrid era began, Mercedes have won three of the four races held in the Sao Paulo suburb of Interlagos, the undulating circuit bringing the best out of their machines.

Up until last year, Mercedes had been, on average, 0.363seconds quicker than their nearest challenger. However, the 2017 edition of the Brazilian Grand Prix saw Ferrari close the gap and Sebastian Vettel claim the third win of his career at the track.

Bottas had to settle for second, his best finish in Brazil, but can go one better and is 6.75 to win for the first time since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Ferrari will provide a tough challenge though as they seek the win they need to take the fight for the Constructors’ title down to the final race in Abu Dhabi.

Vettel is the 2.65 favourite, while Kimi Raikkonen, who hasn’t won in Brazil since his title-winning season of 2007, is 7.00.

Interlagos to tame Red Bull

Max Verstappen was a worthy winner in Mexico a fortnight ago, but has played down his chances of back-to-back victories given Red Bull’s recent record in Brazil.

They haven’t lead a single lap of a Brazilian Grand Prix since 2014, their best finish in that time being Verstappen’s third place in 2016. With team mate Daniel Ricciardo having failed to finish the last two races and never coming home higher than sixth in South America, Red Bull are a team to avoid this weekend.

Alonso out to spring Brazil surprise

After a dreadful recent run of results, Fernando Alonso arrives at a track where he might actually have a chance of a positive weekend, if his McLaren holds together!

For all that is wrong with his McLaren, it has tended to perform well in Brazil – Alonso finishing in the top-10 the last two years.

The two-time world champion could repeat that trick at odds of 3.25, especially if the forecast is right and Sunday’s race turns out to be a wet one. Alonso is one of the best on the F1 circuit when it comes to driving in the rain and could out-perform several of the more refined cars on the grid if the heavens open.