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Formula One

DOING THE MATH: Brazilian GP Championship Probabilities

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For fans of a certain young age, the Interlagos track in Brazil is known for deciding world championships.

Fernando Alonso (2005, ’06), Kimi Raikkonen (’07), Lewis Hamilton (’08), Jenson Button (’09), and Sebastian Vettel (’12) have all won the title at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in this century.

In 2016, the fight for the 2016 Formula One World Drivers’ Championship title can be over by the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, round 20 of 21 of the season.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg leads the championship going into the weekend, leading Hamilton by 19 points, a total 349 points compared to his teammate’s 330. He is the only racer of the two who can win the title this weekend.

Hamilton could lead the championship going into Abu Dhabi should he take a significant swing of points; however, he can only lead by a maximum of six points with 25 remaining in the final race.

He’s already got one advantage as the British driver starts on pole position for the third race straight. Rosberg is beside him on the front row of the grid.


There are many scenarios in which the German could win the title in the race:

– If Rosberg wins (+25 points) and Hamilton comes second (+18 points)

– Rosberg finishes second (+18 points) and Hamilton finishes fifth (+10 points)

– Rosberg crosses the line in third (+15 points) with Hamilton behind in sixth (+8 points)

– Rosberg finishes fourth (+12 points) with Hamilton finishing eighth (+4 points)

– Rosberg is fifth (+10 points) and Hamilton is ninth (+2 points)

– Rosberg takes a sixth place finish (+8 points) and Hamilton takes tenth (+1 point)


There are many other scenarios which would see Hamilton take the title fight down the final race in Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2014:

– Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg in any position (would leave under 19 points with 25 remaining in the final race)

– Rosberg finishes second (+18 points) and Hamilton finishes third (+15 points) or fourth (+12 points)

– Rosberg finishes third (+15 points) and Hamilton finishes fourth (+12 points) or fifth (+10 points)

– Rosberg is fourth (+12 points) and Hamilton is fifth (+10), sixth (+8) or seventh (+6).

– Rosberg crosses the line in fifth (+10) and Hamilton Is sixth (+8), seventh (+6) or eighth (+4)

– Rosberg takes a sixth-place finish (+8) and Hamilton is seventh (+6), eighth (+4) or ninth (+9)

– Rosberg finishes seventh and Hamilton finishes eighth (+4) or ninth (+2)

– Rosberg finishes eighth or lower and Hamilton does not score points

– If Rosberg leads by 25 points with one race to go without either driver finishing on the podium, Hamilton still has a chance on countback with the Brit having more third place finishes (four compared to Rosberg’s two) than his teammate over the course of the season. He would be on eight wins, one less than Rosberg, with both having three second place finishes.


Meanwhile, other trophies are winnable for the Mercedes drivers during the weekend.

Hamilton claimed his 11th pole position of the season in qualifying for the race, meaning that he takes the FIA Pole Trophy for the second successive year. His rival Rosberg only has eight poles with one qualifying session left in the season.

He is the first pilot to win the trophy twice since it came into the sport in 2014. Rosberg is the only other racer to take the award, back in 2014.

In the race itself, Rosberg can take the DHL Fastest Lap award for the first time in his career during the race. He currently has the most of any driver this season (six), two more than Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

If Rosberg sets the fastest lap of the race at any point or Ricciardo fails to do so, a Mercedes driver takes this award for the third season after Hamilton took the spoils in 2014 and 2015.


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Cameron Paterson

Cameron Paterson has been a watcher of Formula 1 since 2007, a casual television watch evolved to watching and reading anything related to something with wheels and an engine. A fan of writing, it was a no-brainer about what to do to try and get into motorsport, consistently discussing things about this great sport since 2016.