Nico Rosberg stands on the brink of a historic maiden Formula One world championship ahead of the penultimate race of the season in Brazil on Sunday.
The Mercedes driver leads team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 19 points heading to Interlagos and would end the Briton’s two-year grip on the title with victory this weekend.
Indeed, any result that sees Rosberg claim seven or more points than Hamilton would be enough.
Red Bull lead Ferrari in the chase for second in the constructors’ championship and would win that particular race with a combined 24 points from Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, will have to watch his mouth following an expletive-laden outburst against race director Charlie Whiting in Mexico.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Winning the world title would see the Rosbergs join Graham and Damon Hill as the only father-son duos to win a drivers’ crown, with dad Keke having triumphed in 1982.
Rosberg – the driver with most race wins without being world champion – can take confidence in a strong track record in Brazil, having triumphed there in 2014 and 2015.
Hamilton, by contrast, has never won at Interlagos and there is arguably no better time to break that duck.
“From my approach it is a race like any other,” Rosberg is quoted as saying by F1’s official website. “Or to be more precise, any other where I think I can win.
“But on the other side it is somewhat unbelievable that I am here and know I am able to fight for the title. That is really cool!”
VITRIOLIC VETEL IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Vettel can count himself fortunate to have escaped punishment after telling Whiting to “f*** off” over team radio in Mexico a fortnight ago.
The rant came about because Vettel felt Verstappen should have allowed him through into third after cutting a corner, but instruction to that effect for the Dutchman was not forthcoming.
Vettel was eventually promoted to third after the race, before being demoted to fifth for the defence of his position against Ricciardo.
Whiting said at the drivers’ news conference on Thursday that Vettel’s apology was enough, but the four-time champion’s behaviour will doubtless be in the spotlight this weekend.
“I would say that I have learned my lesson,” he explained. “In the end it is a matter that should be debated – whether emotional outbursts in a race situation should be aired or not.
“I suppose in the future there will be much less talking!”
Williams’ Felipe Massa may have another race left before the end of his career, but this weekend offers him the chance to say goodbye on home soil.
Massa has reached the podium in Brazil more than at any other circuit (five times), but had the title snatched from his grasp by Hamilton’s fifth-place finish there in 2008.
Previously the season finale, Interlagos has crowned its fair share of world champions over the years.
The race is loved by drivers despite its rugged nature and represents one of the most iconic dates on the F1 calendar.
The heavy rain forecast for Sunday could be another element to take into account, as drivers look to avoid a costly slip-up.
Friday practice, meanwhile, could be interrupted by storms if the forecasts are to be believed.
Hamilton and Rosberg arrive in Brazil with identical tyre choices, while only Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez opt for two sets of the hard compound.