Alex Yoong previews the Brazilian Grand Prix

Alex Yoong Alex Yoong

With the 2017 championship already wrapped up, FOX Sports Asia’s Alex Yoong discusses what else to look forward to as Formula 1 heads to Brazil and Sao Paulo.

Championships are decided, what’s next?

Lewis Hamilton is the 2017 World Champion. Not just any World Champion but a four-time one too, which rockets him up with the greats. Only Michael Schumacher (7), Fangio (5) have more. He goes level with Sebastian Vettel (4) and Alain Prost (4) and now has one more than his hero Ayrton Senna (3).

It was a great year from the Englishman who now holds outright the most poles ever for a driver with 72. Also his form in the second half of the year is about as good as it gets for a driver and he truly deserves the universal praise he is receiving.

However with both championships now decided (Mercedes wrapped up the constructors title in Texas), what else is there to look forward to with two races remaining. Well, there’s actually quite a bit.

Can Vettel see off Bottas for the runners up slot?
It may seem very much like a consolation prize, but in the context of how both of them have faired since the summer break, it’s an important one. Vettel and Ferrari not really delivered much, especially with reliability and they need to arrest this dangerous slide. The best way would be to finish strongly with Vettel finishing second in the title race. It shows a statement of intent and capability that they are not to be taken lightly for next year.

The runner-up battle is important.

In Bottas’s case, his form has been poor too with him being very far behind his teammate, especially in qualifying. He may have a contract extension for next year, but he still needs to keep proving himself. Getting second place in the championship will help ease the pressure that must be coming from Mercedes to improve.

Red Bull 2018 title contenders?
They’ve now gone and won two out of the last four races on merit and how the Red Bull chassis has improved so much recently has been one of the big talking points in the paddock. If their form continues into Brazil this weekend and Abu Dhabi, it’s fair to say it’s not a flash in the pan and that they will definitely be in the championship hunt in 2018.

Young Guns
It’s not just Max Verstappen making waves in Formula One. Espteban Ocon has been a revelation this year and he’s really coming into some serious confidence now. I really enjoy watching both these drivers as well as Carlos Sainz. They drive with panache and daring that makes the future of F1 look very bright.

Not only that, but there are a couple more drivers coming up through the ranks like Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris in F2 and F3 respectably that will definitely add to the sport when they enter F1.

Sleeping giants returning?
McLaren and Renault are another two teams who have improved. They may be finishing behind Force India in the constructors’ title, but they have improved significantly. Could they also mix it up next year for race wins? I’m starting to think they can – especially McLaren when you consider a change to Renault for next year, will give them quite a bit more power.

I’m really keen to see how they go this weekend in Brazil. The swoops and turns of this track should suit McLaren little better and while perhaps not troubling the top three; I think they could be best of the rest.

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