Mercedes, Ferrari locked in battle for title

2018-11-07 06:01

MORE often than not the crowning of an F1 drivers’ champion takes the sting out of the remaining races of that season. But there is no such thing as a dead rubber in Formula 1 and it is certainly not the case in 2018 as Mercedes and Ferrari are still embroiled in a battle for the constructor’s championship title.

While most of the attention is often paid to the drivers’ title, the constructor’s championship trophy is as coveted.

Lest we forget, the two cars that pound around circuit after circuit around the globe are only able to do so because of the incredible effort of hundreds of people both at the factories and trackside.

And then there is the marketing capital that goes along with being able to emblazon all promotional material with the champion epithet. The fight for the sought-after prize sees Mercedes in the lead by 55 points over Ferrari.

With a maximum of 86 points still available in the final two races of the season, there is every chance that Ferrari could still walk away with at least one championship trophy from 2018.

And there are several reasons to suggest why they may just do it too.

Generally, as evidenced in the last few seasons, Lewis Hamilton’s form seems to dip slightly after winning a title, which could be something for Ferrari to pounce on.

What’s more, Valtteri Bottas will no longer be in Hamilton-wingman mode which could, potentially, prevent Mercedes from executing the perfect strategy by focusing on only one car. Another detail to add to the mix is the fact that Hamilton has never been a particularly special performer around Brazil’s Autodromo Carlos Pace, which hosts the penultimate race of the season this weekend.

Though Hamilton claimed his first championship title in Brazil in 2008 in astonishingly dramatic fashion, the Brit has never truly been the boss of this track.

What’s more, since Ferrari finally figured out where it went wrong with their upgrade package, their pace has returned. A win at the US Grand Prix and a double podium in Mexico is proof of that. While Kimi Raikkonen, off to Sauber for 2019, has racked up 11 podium finishes in 19 races, it is Sebastian Vettel who should want to atone for the mistakes that he’s made this season.

There is no better way to do this than to deliver the constructor’s trophy to Maranello.

With the weather forecast predicted to be sunny on race day, at least for now, Ferrari has every opportunity to put one over Mercedes, who have been struggling with tyre wear in warmer conditions.

There could hardly be a better backdrop for this battle that Brazil’s iconic circuit at Interlagos.

The lap may be a relatively short one but it has hardly ever been short on delivering dramatic and enthralling races.

And it has been the sight of many a championship triumph.

This is the chance for Ferrari, who have already let one title slip through their fingers, to stand up and show what they are made of.

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