Honorary Brazilian citizen Hamilton out to equal Schumacher record at Interlagos

By Sports Desk November 09, 2022

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are running out of time to claim a victory in the 2022 Formula One season, and the Brazilian Grand Prix could represent his best chance.

Hamilton has never gone through an entire season without securing at least one win in his storied F1 career, one which has seen him win seven drivers' championships.

Mercedes' much-maligned 2022 car has displayed signs of improvement in recent races, with Hamilton claiming successive second-place finishes at the United States Grand Prix and the Mexico City Grand Prix.

His hopes of turning those runner-up finishes into a place on the top step of the podium in Brazil will be boosted by his record in Sao Paulo.

Hamilton has three victories at the Interlagos circuit, including his dramatic triumph last season as he rattled off wins in three straight races to take his remarkable title fight with Max Verstappen to its infamous finale in Abu Dhabi.

The chances of a title battle akin to their engrossing 2021 duel disappeared a long time ago as Verstappen has claimed a dominant second drivers' championship, setting an F1 record for the most wins in a season with 14 to this point.

But Hamilton, who was made an honorary citizen of Brazil in the build-up to the race this week, will have his own piece of history to celebrate should he interrupt Verstappen and Red Bull's superiority.

A fourth win at Interlagos would see him equal Michael Schumacher for the most successes at the track, and it would surely be a popular one among the home fans.

FERRARI EYEING NEW POLE MILESTONE

While it has not translated into race wins, Ferrari have dominated qualifying in the 2022 season.

The Scuderia have claimed 12 pole positions - tying their best total for a single season from 2004 - and will set a new high if they top the timesheets on Friday.

But the pole-sitter this weekend may not start the race first, with the grid to be determined by Saturday's sprint.

SECOND PLACE STILL UP FOR GRABS

Despite not winning a race so far this year, Mercedes can still overhaul Ferrari and claim second place in the constructors' championship in one of the few remaining battles for position in the standings.

The Silver Arrows trail Ferrari by 40 points with two races remaining, but Mercedes do not appear to be confident of overhauling that deficit.

Strategy director James Vowles said in their most recent race debrief video: "We are here to finish second in the championship, and every single race that we can start pulling that points gap down is a success.

"In Mexico we took just 13 points out of them, so there are still 40 left to go with two races; fortunately, one of those is a sprint race. I think we have a package now, unlike the beginning of the season or the mid-season, that can really bring the fight to them.

"But 40 points is a tremendous ask – it will need us really having everything perfect, everything right – and Ferrari perhaps to give us opportunities to open the door for us to pick up second. What I can tell you is that we are not giving up until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi."

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    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

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    Sergio Perez has apologised following a second successive retirement at the Canada Grand Prix which left him 87 points behind Red Bull team-mate, Max Vertsappen.

    The 34-year-old remained fifth overall in the world championship and a point behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who was one of five drivers that failed to finish the race. 

    In difficult conditions in Montreal, the Mexican started 16th but hopes of climbing up the pecking order soon faded after damaging his car's front wing on the opening lap when he made contact with Alpine's Pierre Gasly.

    He then crashed into the barriers late in the day after losing control on a damp kerb at turn six, hobbling back to the pits with a broken rear wing. 

    "I'm very sorry for my team, I let them down today. But we will come back no doubt. There’s a very long way to go," Perez said on social media.

    His final incident cost him a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Barcelona, with the stewards punishing him for a breach of the safety rules that require a driver to stop if the car is unsafe.

    "The incident was on me, I touched the wet part into turn six and I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t touch the brakes," Perez said on Sunday.

    "It has been a very tough couple of weekends, we will regroup, keep our heads down and learn from the weekend. We identified a couple of issues after qualifying and they meant we would have qualified a lot higher.

    "Hopefully we can be back to our form in Spain and get back to the level we were at earlier in the season. I am confident in that, there are good tracks coming for us."

    Perez recently signed a new two-year deal with Red Bull, ending speculation that the world champions will sign free agent Sainz ahead of the new season. 

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    The British driver was on pole for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2022 and led for the first 21 laps before being overtaken in quick succession by McLaren's Lando Norris and eventual winner, Max Verstappen. 

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