2007 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Race 17 of 17 in the 2007 Formula One season|
|Date||October 21, 2007|
|Official name||XXXVI Grande Prêmio do Brasil|
|Location||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo, Brazil|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
4.309 km (2.677 mi)
|Distance||71 laps, 305.909 km (190.067 mi)|
|Time||1:12.445 on lap 66|
The 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix was the seventeenth and last race of the 2007 Formula One season. It was held from 19 to October 21 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo. The Championship was decided in the race, which was won by Kimi Räikkönen. Lewis Hamilton, who held a four point lead over Fernando Alonso, and a seven point lead over Räikkönen, was slowed by a gearbox problem early in the race. He recovered to finish seventh, losing the championship to Räikkönen by a single point.
Repair of the circuit
For the event, the largest-scale repairs in the last 35 years were carried out at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, to fundamentally solve problems with the track surface. The existing asphalt was entirely replaced. At the same time, the pit lane entrance was enhanced to improve safety. To facilitate the work, the circuit was closed and no events were held in the five months immediately preceding the race.
Alexander Wurz retired from Formula One at the end of the Chinese GP. He was replaced at Williams-Toyota by the Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima, son of former F1 driver Satoru. As a result, three Japanese drivers were entered into a Grand Prix for the first time since the 1995 Japanese Grand Prix.
Point standing before the race
In the Friday practice session, Ferrari duo topped the timesheet with Kimi Räikkönen leading the first practice in the wet session. In the second practice session, Lewis Hamilton led McLaren to a 1–2 finish, with the track improving from time to time.
Stewards fined McLaren, Honda and Super Aguri €15,000 each for tyre rule infringement. Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato used two sets of wet tyres, more than the one set permitted during the first practice. In addition, each driver has to surrender one set of wet tyres to avoid gaining any advantage.
Only 21 cars were aligned on the grid, because of problems on the Spyker of Adrian Sutil, who started the race from the pit lane. At the start, the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen were faster, with the Finn passing Lewis Hamilton on the outside. At the third corner, Fernando Alonso passed Hamilton on the inside and the, on the Reta Oposta, defended himself from the attack of the Briton by taking the inside line. Hamilton was eager to repass his teammate and ended up locking up his brakes and going off the track. He rejoined the race in 8th place, just behind Jarno Trulli's Toyota. Also in the first lap, Liuzzi lost his front wing and was forced to enter the pits for repairs. In the first corner on the second lap, Fisichella went off the track, and was hit on the back from Sakon Yamamoto while re-entering on the track. Rubens Barrichello jumped the start and was given a drive-through penalty for this.
Hamilton was trying very hard to make up for the positions he lost: on lap 2 he passed Trulli and went into 7th, and 4 laps later he passed Nick Heidfeld to take the 6th place. Just minutes later, he suffered a gearbox problem: on the Reta Oposta, he failed to find gears and slowed down, to be passed by most cars on the track. Journalist Luc Domenjoz claimed the problem was caused by a mistake made by Hamilton, but this was denied by both Hamilton and by McLaren.[dead link] Domenjoz later admitted that he had been mistaken. After going slow for about 30 seconds, Hamilton managed to reset the computer of his car, and get it going again: he was in 18th place by then, and with the Ferraris pulling away he needed at the very least 7th place but more likely 5th place to clinch the World Championship.
On the front no position was changed: by lap 15, the Ferraris were almost 12 seconds ahead of Alonso, third. By that lap, Hamilton climbed to 11th, having passed Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Anthony Davidson, Takuma Sato and Kazuki Nakajima, and having taken advantage from the retirement of Mark Webber, who was running in fifth position.
After 20 laps, the front runners began stopping for the first time: the first was Robert Kubica, who went for 3 stops; on the same lap Massa entered the pits. Räikkönen pitted on lap 22, carrying a bit more fuel than his teammate, to try to overtake him after the second stop. Alonso, Trulli, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton pitted on lap 22, with the Spaniard keeping hards, while Hamilton switched his strategy to a 3-stopper (a rather risky strategy on the track which features the longest pit lane of the whole season): he carried less fuel than Alonso and switched to soft tyres. Heidfeld was the last to stop, pitting on lap 25.
After the first round of pit stops, Massa was leading with 3.3 seconds on Räikkönen, followed by Alonso, 17 seconds behind. Hamilton was 13th, again behind Barrichello, 50 seconds behind Massa. On lap 32, Nakajima entered the pits for his first stop, but he ran wide while entering his stand, injuring two mechanics in the process. They were both brought away, but they suffered no serious injuries.
On lap 34 Kubica, who was light on fuel, passed Alonso to take the third position, only to stop 5 laps later; he rejoined in seventh place. Hamilton made his second stop on lap 37, switching to hards again; on the same lap Heikki Kovalainen, who finished his first 16 consecutive races in Formula One, ended his race spinning on turn 3 and crashing into the barriers. This also meant that Kovalainen lost the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of becoming the first driver to finish all of his races in his first season.
On lap 43, the second round of pit stops began: the first to enter was David Coulthard from 8th, followed by Trulli (then 6th) a lap later. Meanwhile Massa made an error and ran wide at the Descida do Lago, with Räikkönen closing on him. The Brazilian pitted on lap 50, followed by Alonso on lap 52 and Räikkönen on lap 53. The Finn set record lap times in the process, which meant he rejoined the race into the lead, 2 seconds ahead of Massa. At that point, Räikkönen was the virtual world champion; third was Kubica (who still had to stop a third time), fourth Alonso, then came Heidfeld, Nico Rosberg, Trulli, Hamilton (more than a minute behind Räikkönen), Coulthard and Nakajima. Hamilton pitted on lap 57, rejoining in 9th. On lap 59 Kubica pitted dropping to 6th; in the same lap Hamilton passed Coulthard to take the 8th position, setting the then fastest lap.
On the final laps the positions were pretty much set: Räikkönen and Massa led with a comfortable margin on Alonso, and Hamilton was lapped. On lap 61 Rosberg tried to pass Heidfeld on the first corner: both ran a little wide (Rosberg passed Heidfeld), with Kubica passing both to take the 4th. On lap 70, Rosberg tried successfully a similar move, overtaking Kubica. Hamilton gained the 7th place with Trulli made a pit stop, but this wasn't enough, as he needed at least a 5th place to gain the title.
At the chequered flag, Räikkönen was first, winning the race and the World Championship by one point. Massa was second on the other Ferrari, the fourth double (1–2 finish) of the year for the Italian team. Third, and last on the podium, was Alonso. The other drivers on points were Rosberg on 4th, Kubica on 5th, Heidfeld on 6th, Hamilton on 7th and Trulli on 8th.
|5||10||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||71||+1:10.957||7||4|
|6||9||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||71||+1:11.317||6||3|
|7||2||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||70||+1 lap||2||2|
|8||12||Jarno Trulli||Toyota||70||+1 lap||8||1|
|9||14||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||70||+1 lap||9|
|10||17||Kazuki Nakajima||Williams-Toyota||70||+1 lap||19|
|11||11||Ralf Schumacher||Toyota||70||+1 lap||15|
|12||22||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri-Honda||69||+2 laps||18|
|13||18||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||69||+2 laps||14|
|14||23||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri-Honda||68||+3 laps||20|
|Ret||19||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||34||Hydraulics||13|
|Ret||15||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||14||Gearbox||5|
- Lap Leaders: Felipe Massa 46 (1–19 & 23–49), Kimi Räikkönen 24 (20–21 & 50–71) & Fernando Alonso 1 (22).
- First Race: Kazuki Nakajima
- Last Race: Ralf Schumacher, Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker F1
- This was the last race where all cars were using traction control. It was banned starting 2008 season.
- On lap 31 while making a pit stop Kazuki Nakajima hit two mechanics, neither were seriously injured.
- After the race, the result had been thrown into doubt following an inquiry into the cars of BMW Sauber and Williams. Race stewards investigated alleged irregularities with the cars' fuel. The stewards decided not to penalize the teams based on a lack of conclusive evidence, but the McLaren team appealed against this ruling. The appeal was finally rejected by the FIA on November 16, 2007. Had the FIA accepted the appeal, although it would be unprecedented, the title could have been handed to Lewis Hamilton.
- This is Kimi Räikkönen's first victory at Interlagos. He had stood on the top step of the Interlagos podium in the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, but he was later deemed to have been runner-up to Giancarlo Fisichella. He was also runner-up in 2004 and 2005, both times to Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya It was later revealed by Ferrari that Massa was ordered to pit 3 laps early to give his team-mate victory for the championship. Massa was praised in Italy for giving up victory to his team-mate for the championship, despite being faster on the day.
- This was the first three-way title fight in the final race of the F1 season since the 1986 Australian Grand Prix saw Alain Prost become champion, ahead of Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell.
- The race gained an average of nine million viewers in the United Kingdom on ITV1, which is the highest for Formula One in seven years. Viewer numbers peaked at 10.4 million in the last 15 minutes.
- The weather was up to 37 degrees Celsius.
- The track temperature was 63 degrees Celsius.
- First and only retirement for Heikki Kovalainen this season, equalling Tiago Monteiro's record of "Most consecutive finishes from start of career" with 16 consecutive finishes.
- This was the Renault team's first double retirement since the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.
- This was the 11th time that Rubens Barrichello has failed to finish the Brazilian Grand Prix
New railway station for the Grand Prix
On October 17, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) began to operate the new station of the Line C, Autódromo, near the circuit. The Line C had been extended to improve the access between the center of São Paulo and southern region of the Greater São Paulo including the circuit. As a result, 7,100 spectators used this new station only on Sunday, October 21, and 18,000 spectators or more from Friday to Sunday.
- ↑ "Interlagos será fechado para reforma" (in Portuguese). www.folhadaregiao.com.br/. 2007-06-14. http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:hxA99iE4FTIJ:www.folhadaregiao.com.br/link.php%3Fcodigo%3D70051. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- ↑ "As obras em Interlagos" (in Portuguese). www.autodromointerlagos.com/. 2007-09-04. http://www.autodromointerlagos.com/fotoobras.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- ↑ "FIA tem uma justificada preocupação com o GP Brasil de Fórmula 1" (in Portuguese). www.gpbrasil.com.br/. http://www.gpbrasil.com.br/site2007/coluna.asp?id=23#. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- ↑ "Alargamento da entrada dos boxes, para maior segurança dos pilotos" (in Portuguese). www.autodromointerlagos.com/. . Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- ↑ "Reforma deve acabar com problemas no asfalto de Interlagos" (in Portuguese). www.clicabrasilia.com.br/. 2007-06-13. http://www.clicabrasilia.com.br/torcida/materia.php?IdNoticia=34304. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- ↑ "Practice 1: Kimi heads Ferrari 1-2". ITV-F1. 2007-10-19. http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=41096. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- ↑ "Practice 2: Hamilton shades Alonso". ITV-F1. 2007-10-19. http://www.itv-f1.com/Feature.aspx?Type=General&PO_ID=41089. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- ↑ "Lewis escapes penalty over rule breach". ITV-F1. 2007-10-19. http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=41104. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- ↑ "Hamilton's own error cost him the title". GPUpdate.net. 2007-10-23. http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2007/10/23/hamilton-s-own-error-cost-him-the-title/. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
- ↑ "Hamilton adds denial to 'wrong button' reports". F1-Live.com. 2007-10-28. http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/071028153747.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
- ↑ "Hamilton wrongly quoted on gearbox failure". Autosport.com. 2007-10-25. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/63645. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- ↑ "McLaren appeal rejected". itv-f1.com. 2007-11-16. http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=41307. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
- ↑ "Rugby, F1 draw strong audiences". Digital Spy. 2007-10-22. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/broadcasting/a78217/rugby-f1-draw-strong-audiences.html. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- ↑ "Hamilton race draws 10.4m viewers". BBC. 2007-10-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7056452.stm. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- ↑ "TV ratings hit seven-year high". ITV Sport. 2007-10-22. http://www.itv-f1.com/News_Article.aspx?PO_ID=41161. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- ↑ "ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO É INAUGURADA NESTA QUARTA-FEIRA" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-16. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=3669. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- ↑ "INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO DÁ LARGADA PARA O METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE EM SP" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-18. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=3675. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- ↑ "CIRCULAÇÃO DE TRENS GANHA ESQUEMA ESPECIAL PARA GP BRASIL DE F1" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-18. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=3683. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- ↑ "INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO MARCA INÍCIO DO METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE, NA CAPITAL" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-22. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=3717. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- ↑ "CET Operação Interlagos 2007" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. http://www.cetsp.com.br/internew/informativo/interlagos/2007/quemvai.htm#2010. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- ↑ "GOVERNADOR GERALDO ALCKMIN DÁ INÍCIO ÀS OBRAS DE EXTENSÃO DA LINHA C" (in Portuguese). CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos. 2005-11-21. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=643. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- ↑ "COMPANHIA INICIA OBRAS PARA BENEFICIAR POPULAÇÃO DA GRANDE SÃO PAULO" (in Portuguese). CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos. 2005-12-27. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=753. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- ↑ "ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO RECEBE MAIS DE 7.000 USUÁRIOS NESTE DOMINGO" (in Portuguese). CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos. 2007-10-22. http://www.cptm.sp.gov.br/e_noticias/webnoticias/one_news.asp?IDNews=3725. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
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