The 5 Drivers Under the Most Pressure at the Brazilian Grand Prix
With only one race remaining in what has been a Sebastian Vettel procession in 2014, for many other drivers on the grid there is everything still to play for with their very F1 futures at stake.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is the last chance for drivers to put themselves in the shop window and make an impression on potential suitors with a number of teams still to finalise their driver line-ups.
Here are the drivers under the most pressure this weekend.
Honourable Mention: Mark Webber
It may seem strange to mention somebody who will be leaving the sport as being under pressure to perform, but make no mistake about it, Mark Webber will be desperate to end what has been a distinguished F1 career on a high note.
Much focus will be on whether or not Sebastian Vettel can make it a record-equalling nine grand prix race victories on the bounce, but Webber will be doing his utmost to stop that from happening.
For the likeable Australian, getting one over his old rival with a third victory in Brazil would be a sweet way to exit the sport.
5. Charles Pic
Drivers at the back of the grid are under as much pressure as those above them to secure their future in the sport.
Whilst Guido van der Garde’s Caterham prospects will be boosted by the financial backing he brings with him, Pic has admitted to Autosport that he fears for his future.
“For next year, the logic for me would be to stay in Caterham, but it's not sure. I think there are still many seats available for next year, so we will see."
With Heikki Kovalainen also linked to the Caterham drive, Pic needs to pull one final big performance out of the bag on Sunday.
4. Pastor Maldonado
On the face of it, Pastor Maldonado appears to be in a strong position thanks to the substantial backing he brings with him from Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA.
Having recently announced he is to part company with Williams, Maldonado has been strongly linked to a drive with Lotus due to the growing doubts concerning the team securing an investment deal with Quantum Motorsports.
The Venezuelan revealed on Friday that he is also in discussions with Force India and Sauber but following a fractious US Grand Prix where he accused Williams of sabotaging his car, teams will want Maldonado to show in Brazil that he is more than just a commercial asset and not a potential disruptive influence.
"Lotus is a good option, but even Sauber is a good option, even Force India is a good option," Maldonado told Autosport. "They have shown that they are very competitive.
"Force India has been more competitive than McLaren this year at the beginning. I think all of them have good potential for the future. We all know very well who has available seats and we will see."
3. Paul Di Resta
With Adrian Sutil hinting on ESPNF1 that he has already signed a new contract to keep him at Force India in 2014, the pressure is on Paul di Resta to secure his seat for another year.
The second Force India seat is hot property with several drivers including Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez all interested.
And although the Scot is quoted on ESPNF1 as saying that he would prefer to stay, he also hinted that he may be forced into considering a move to race in the United States.
They know what I'm capable of here, they know what I can deliver. I feel like I'm an asset to the team but I can't make the decision for them, and I have to respect their decision. I've said all along I'd love to be part of it.
2. Nico Hulkenberg
For a number of weeks now it has looked likely that Nico Hulkenberg was set to be announced as Romain Grosjean’s teammate at Lotus for the 2014 season.
But with the move seemingly dependent on an investment deal from Quantum Motorsports that appears to have stagnated, Sutil told Autosport that he may be forced to stick with a midfield team.
The whole Lotus situation has been around for weeks and it is an ongoing process on the side—but it is not that I am waiting every day for a call for them. I think also there are options and opportunities and interest from teams—and as long as we have that then there is a good chance I will be here.
There is no doubting Hulkenberg’s talent with Fernando Alonso hailing him as one of the best drivers on the grid, but another solid result in Brazil would be a timely reminder.
1. Sergio Perez
McLaren raised more than a few eyebrows when they announced that Sergio Perez would be replaced in the team by Kevin Magnussen for 2014.
The Mexican had scored points in both India and Abu Dhabi before learning of his fate, but the fact that he also brings funding from his Telmex backers also makes him a valuable commodity.
Perez is quoted by Autosport on Friday as saying that progress was being made and highlighted Force India and Sauber as possibilities for a race seat.
It's definitely looking better than it did seven days ago. We have seen some progress in that respect, which is positive. There are some options and one of them is going back to Sauber. But there are other options that we are looking at, at the moment. Force India could be another option as well, but nothing is really deeply in discussion, it's still a bit far away.
A solid points scoring drive in Brazil would certainly do his chances no harm.
Have I missed anyone? Do you think the likes of Esteban Gutierrez, Heikki Kovalainen and Max Chilton are under just as much pressure to perform in Brazil? Have your say below.