A short pre-qualifying shower was enough to produce a highly entertaining Q1 period at Interlagos on Saturday, but as the track dried out and conditions improved for a time, it was Lewis Hamilton who scored another stunning pole position for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix, as the title contenders floundered.
Air and track temperature readings recovered to 26 and 36 degrees as the sun came out briefly towards the end of the hour-long session, but as expected values were well down on the scorching Friday figures.
Showers will continue to feed in from the south-west this evening and overnight, becoming increasingly frequent, as the cold front continues to push its way through south-east Brazil. Air temperature will dip to 17 Celsius.
Race day is expected to dawn wet with overcast conditions and a few light, scattered showers around. From here, there are two schools of thought – even at this late stage. The widely-used GFS model is leaning towards just one or two scattered showers after 09:00, while local sources are continuing to roll out a fully wet scenario, frequent showers throughout the day, the guarantee of 71 wet laps and everyone finishes the season with a race to remember.
Which way do I think it will go? Probably a mixture between the two. The most likely scenario is that there will be a few showers during the course of the morning and early afternoon, but there will also be some lengthy gaps, allowing the track to dry out somewhat. You won’t go far wrong if you are thinking along the lines of the 2008 race with a couple of sprinkles within the race window to spice things up.
Even if we end up getting the least preferred option, the drivers will certainly have to work hard tomorrow, regardless. This is due to the small matter of a strengthening wind from the south-east and a maximum air temperature in the overcast conditions of 22 Celsius.
Before I go, as this is the final forecast of the season, I should say thank-you to all of you who have read and supported my weather ramblings over the season. I’ve been writing F1 forecasts on the internet for over 10 years through various pages and websites, and along with Twitter, the reactions from race fans and also people within the sport never ceases to amaze and surprise me.
So it all comes down to tomorrow and the two title protagonists are set for 71 demanding laps from fourth and seventh on the grid. I will be around on Twitter in the hours leading up to the race, before switching to AUTOSPORT Live commentary for the on-track battle. Here’s to a great 2012 season and I hope you all enjoy the finale.