Formula 1 arrives in São Paulo this weekend for the Brazil GP where an expectant crowd will welcome their adopted favourite, Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time World Champion was granted Brazilian citizenship last November.
His affinity with legend Ayrton Senna and on-track heroics of his own has led to supporters taking him as one of their own.
Let’s explore his prospects, along with a 12/1 tip and insight into the most likely challengers on Sunday.
Victory for adopted hero – 12/1
Hamilton carries momentum into the Brazil GP weekend having recovered from two pointless outings to finish a fine runner-up in Mexico.
Interlagos is a circuit he thrives on and where memories flood the mind, including his last triumph here in 2021, claiming victory from tenth on the grid during a tense title battle.
Returning to the scene of their sole win of 2022, Mercedes will hope to provide their lead driver with a car worthy of challenging Max Verstappen.
On race day, Brazil’s high altitude level promises to reduce the deficit of a high drag package, an area the Silver Arrows have frequently struggled in.
Crucially, this may hinder the straight line speed advantage that Red Bull would otherwise hold on the steep climb approaching Turn 1. There is potential for this to be key in Hamilton’s battle with Perez in the standings.
Furthermore, the middle sector of the Interlagos lap features several mid to low speed corners. This happens to be a particular strength of the Mercedes design.
Hamilton can utilise this to close the gap heading onto the long, slingshot-like pit straight to attempt an overtake.
Should the above materialise, there is potential for a repeat of 2021’s showdown for victory between Verstappen and Hamilton.
Norris to crash carnival? – Evs
McLaren’s Lando Norris will also look to continue his excellent form.
Following a qualifying error in Mexico, the Brit battled from 19th on the grid, pulling off several remarkable overtakes to P5.
The result provided a clear statement from Norris that he remains the team number one, following a recent upturn in form from rookie teammate Oscar Piastri.
Norris’ performance was yet another demonstration of McLaren’s competitiveness on every style of circuit.
Like Mercedes, they too promise to reap the rewards of the lack of air density at Sao Paulo. This should bring top speeds closer together across the grid.
On Saturday, expect Norris to rediscover his qualifying form, placing him in an optimum position to return to the podium on Sunday.