The 2013 Formula 1 season's final race takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace circuit on Nov. 24.
While Sebastian Vettel has already confirmed his place as this year's champion, and while Red Bull has already triumphed in the constructors' championship, there's still plenty to race for as each team battles to confirm seats and signatures for next season.
Practice gets underway on Friday and Saturday before qualifying, with the final race action taking place on Sunday.
Bleacher Report Race Weekend Essentials
Your comprehensive Brazil GP preview by Neil James.
Key storylines to watch in Interlagos by Fraser Masefield.
Sebastian Vettel was ruthless in the rain to claim the last pole position of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
There was a delay before the session could even begin as the rain fell, with conditions too poor for a battle for pole.
And here is the view out of the press room window - pic.twitter.com/Yq0tOsW1Ri— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) November 23, 2013
The safety car was sent out to assess the conditions, but the decision was taken to let the major rain shower pass before qualifying began.
The problem is rather the standing water on track which produces enormous amounts of spray which obstructs visibility. #F1— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) November 23, 2013
After a 45-minute delay it finally got underway, with the Red Bulls rushing straight out to the pit lane exit to get optimum track position.
Vettel took the early lead from the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton—but Romain Grosjean, quicker than anyone over the first two sectors, made a bold decision to decline banking his lap and pitting for intermediate tyres.
Lotus told Grosjean that they feared the rain returning before the 10 minutes was up, but his first lap on intermediates was a marker to the rest of the field, a full second clear of anything seen on wet tyres.
Vettel smashed past it, however, with a 1:26.479 blowing the field wide open.
Nico Rosberg went the closest, but still seven-tenths down on his compatriot.
The top 10:
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
- Mark Webber (Red Bull)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
- Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
- Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)
And the times, as given by Ferrari:
Another rain-affected session ended tensely as Sergio Perez crashed trying to reach Q3.
The Mexican was unhurt—but it was a significant shunt and an ungainly end to his last qualifying session as a McLaren driver.
The drivers formed a queue in the pit lane to get out as quickly as possible when the session started.
In the event, however, the track conditions were actually improving, meaning that the race for the top 10 shootout went down to the wire.
Sebastian Vettel eased into the early lead, however, with the Mercedes duo and Fernando Alonso behind.
The pressure ramped up on the likes of Jenson Button, who could not drag his McLaren into the Q3 places, even on a fresh set of intermediate tyres.
One after another, though, drivers did shuffle their way in and out of the top 10—Felipe Massa, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo all jumping up, while Romain Grosjean set the session's best time.
Perez went all out to improve his time—and ended up putting his McLaren into the wall at Descida do Lago, ending the session on a dramatic note.
The rain was once more getting heavy, pointing to Q3 taking place on wet tyres.
Eliminated from Q2:
- 16. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
- 15. Jenson Button (McLaren)
- 14. Sergio Perez (McLaren)
- 13. Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
- 12. Paul di Resta (Force India)
- 11. Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus)
The big guns moved into Q2 with minimal fuss in tricky conditions in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The session began with the weather easing—Lewis Hamilton even reporting to the garage that he could see a dry racing line beginning to appear in quotes audible in the TV coverage. He ended up taking the top spot in the session.
But the rain worsened halfway through, leaving the men in the bottom places in trouble.
The usual suspects were in those spots from Caterham and Marussia, but Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso and Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber were also left stranded.
Gutierrez drove valiantly, improving his best but still landing up a tenth short of the Q2 time on what appeared to be a worsening track.
At the final chance, however, Vergne leapt up to 15th—just enough—meaning Pastor Maldonado bowed out at his expense.
Eliminated in Q1:
- 22: Max Chilton (Marussia)
- 21: Jules Bianchi (Marussia)
- 20: Guido van der Garde (Caterham)
- 19: Charles Pic (Caterham)
- 18: Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber)
- 17: Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
Mark Webber was quickest in third free practice on Saturday morning in Brazil, battling the wet conditions that have blighted proceedings so far in Sao Paulo.
As per the BBC report, F1 teams were cautious with their tyres, mindful that rain could be a major factor in the race proper on Sunday.
"Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel did one timed lap, the Ferrari drivers, McLaren's Jenson Button and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg none," reported the BBC's Andrew Benson.
Romain Grosjean was second-quickest behind Webber, with his Lotus-Renault teammate Heikki Kovalainen third.
Lewis Hamilton could only muster the 11th-fastest time for Mercedes. Drivers' championship leader Sebatian Vettel was down in 17th in the standings.
A full list of timings for third free practice can be found at the official F1 site here.
Qualifying gets under way at 4 p.m. BST.
And here are Ferrari's timesheets from the pit lane:
Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets but the second free practice session was once again blighted by rain.
Infuriatingly for the drivers the conditions improved in the interval between Friday's two sessions, but with about half an hour before practice started the heavens opened and the track was wet throughout.
The first half hour was scarcely used, before Mark Webber rose to the top in his final GP weekend.
Rosberg then trumped that, before an amusing exchange with his engineers picked up on the television coverage.
"OK, I think that's enough for me," the German told his Mercedes engineers after setting the time.
"Ross [Brawn] says you're the only one dumb enough to be out there at the moment," he was told.
No surprise, then, that several drivers—Sebastian Vettel included—decided to wait it out in the garage until the final quarter of an hour, by which time conditions had improved sufficiently to allow intermediate tyres.
Even when it did, the likes of Lewis Hamilton were still skidding and sliding around the Interlagos circuit, but Vettel found plenty of time to jump straight to the top of the standings.
It looked like a familiar story in FP2 until Rosberg conjured something special to beat that mark.
Here are the times, as recorded by Ferrari on Twitter:
Nico Rosberg came out on top in an opening session that saw wet conditions create havoc on the track.
As reported by Andrew Benson of BBC Sport, Rosberg set his fastest lap time extremely early and was able to observe as others tried to replicate his performance.
Lewis Hamilton also put in a pacey run, clocking a time 0.449 seconds behind the German. Sebastian Vettel eased into third with Jenson Button fourth fastest.
Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber ranked fifth and sixth during a practice that is more likely to be remembered for a number of spins.
Limited grip meant plenty of drivers had shaky moments to wade through—including Rosberg, who ran wide at the opening turn before going on to set the pace.
Hamilton appeared irritated at a spin through the third turn, but managed to get himself together for a decent performance. Vettel completed a top three of calamities by running wide at the final corner, and was joined by Alonso, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez in losing grip at important moments.
Daniil Kvyat put in a notable performance and should be immensely happy with his time, which registered as eighth fastest on the day. The 19-year-old Russian looks to be confident ahead of starting his full senior season with Toro Rosso next year and will be an interesting watch across the rest of the weekend.
Ferrari posted the full session times: