Joao Carlos Martins is going to play the Brazilian national anthem on the piano.
Toto Wolff isn’t happy at all, feeling that Red Bull have changed parts of their rear wing and not been punished, whereas Mercedes have. He doesn’t want to complain and thinks the talking needs to be done on the track, on which point he doesn’t know if Hamilton can win, saying Bottas and Verstappen both can; when asked when he’ll do if his two drivers are together, he doesn’t say that Bottas will let Hamilton through, but that’s clearly what’ll happen.
Christian Horner thinks it’ll be harder for his boys, given how quick Mercedes are, but hopes Sergio Perez will help Verstappen keep Hamilton at bay by holding him off if ever he’s in front.
Felipe Massa says the uphill start is crucial, and he doesn’t think Hamilton can win from tenth, but says the podium is possible.
Those who know reckon it’ll be harder today than yesterday for Hamilton to carve through the field – the front wheels might slide about more than they did.
Martin Brundle grabs Lance Stroll, who says he’s honoured as he’s never been required for one of these interviews. He thinks there’ll be some degradation today, but seems exactly as relaxed as you assume he’ll be.
Vettel doesn’t think the shady side of the track will be a problem for his car – he’s checked, and it’s warm enough.
Hamilton’s car arrives into its slot and has its tyres wrapped up. It’s on the sunny side of the track, so might need a little bleeding before racetime.
It’s nice and warm in Sao Paulo, and the cars are coming out to warm up as we learn that eighth is the lowest on the grid that anyone has ever won this GP, Giancarlo Fisichella in 2003. Likewise, it’s the furthest back anyone has won from this season, Esteban Ocon doing so in Hungary.
Valentino Rossi, what a name. How can you be called Valentino Rossi and not be as cool as Valentino Rossi is?
Elsewhere, the great Valentino Rossi has finally turned it in. Doesn’t he like racing?
Let’s get into a Brazilian state of mind: here’s Innerground 100, a banging drum n’ bass collection, out last week, curated by Sao Paulo’s very own DJ Marky.
In particular, Drumsound and Bassline Smith’s Sanctuary 93, featuring an Ofra Haza sample made famous by Eric B and Rakim, is a belter.
Oh my days! Not words one expects to see at the start of sporting coverage, but here we are: it’s already been a ridiculous weekend in a ridiculous season, such that we await the actual race already ensconced in a state of disbelief.
Max Verstappen, who leads the driver standings by 21 points from Lewis Hamilton, starts second on the grid, and ordinarily, he’d be confident of making it home in front of his rival – most likely, having won the race too. But Hamilton’s qualifying run yesterday, that took him from 20th to fifth, showcased every aspect of the genius that will surely see him finish his career as the greatest of all-time, and whatever Verstappen tells himself to feel better, he knows that the hunt is on.
That said, Verstappen will also know that if he drives well today, it’ll take something monumental to beat him. A new engine penalty means Hmailton starts in 10th, and though 71 laps gives decent scope for overtaking, Verstappen is good enough to look after himself. This going to be something.