Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, of Germany, leads the race followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, after the start of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP race into the first corner followed by the rest of the field during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Dan Istitene via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP race into the second corner followed by the rest of the field during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari and Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drive during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams, Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Force India and Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drive during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela and Lotus drives ahead of Marcus Ericsson of Sweden and Sauber F1 during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives ahead of Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Force India during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP drives during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda drives ahead of Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela and Lotus during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams drives ahead of Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari drives ahead of Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams locks up during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda locks up during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives ahead of Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing locks up during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives next to Sergio Perez of Mexico and Force India during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives ahead of Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • Mercedes' Formula One German driver Nico Rosberg powers his car during the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • Ferrari's Formula One German driver Sebastian Vettel powers his car during the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Felipe Nasr of Brazil and Sauber F1 locks up in front of Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE
  • Mercedes' Formula One German driver Nico Rosberg powers his car ahead of British teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: NELSON ALMEIDA via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus locks up during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP drives during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP drives ahead of Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Clive Mason via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Force India drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 14: Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus locks up during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Lars Baron via Getty Images
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, of Germany, steers his car during the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, of Finland , steers his car during the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen, of Netherlands, steers his car during a qualifying session for the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, of Germany, leads the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix followed by teammate Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
  • SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 15: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP celebrates next to Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP in Parc Ferme after winning the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 15, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • (L-R) Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel pose for pictures on the podium after claiming the second, first and third place respectively, at the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: NELSON ALMEIDA via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • Mercedes' Formula One German driver Nico Rosberg (C) celebrates after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. At left, runner-up Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton and third-place Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: NELSON ALMEIDA via Getty Images
AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • AUTO-PRIX-F1-BRA-RACE-PODIUM
  • (L-R) Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes' race team composite technician James Waddell, Mercedes' German driver Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel pose for pictures on the podium at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, on November 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Image Credit: MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL via Getty Images
At this point, we hope Nico Rosberg is planning to carry his current qualifying form into the 2016 season and back it up with the same kind of race-day cojones he showed winning the race in Mexico City two weeks ago. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver got it right enough again on Saturday afternoon to take his fifth consecutive pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton by almost a tenth of a second. It's the same one-two from Brazil last year. The bad news for the rest of the field is that the winner in Brazil the last seven years has been one of the two drivers on the front row.

Last year it was the Williams duo that lined up behind Mercedes, this year it's Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel plays the stalking horse, securing third in his Ferrari ahead of teammate Kimi Räikkönen in fourth. Williams driver Valtteri Bottas actually qualified in fourth, but he had to serve a three-spot grid penalty for passing under red flags in Free Practice 2, so he started sixth. That promoted Sahara Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg up to fifth. Daniil Kvyat was the quickest representative from Infiniti Red Bull Racing, getting into seventh even with a Renault power unit that's weak on some of the key stretches at the Interlagos track. Felipe Massa had the second Williams in eighth, in front of the second Red Bull driven by Daniel Ricciardo in ninth. Toro Rosso hasn't confirmed its drivers for next year but Max Verstappen keeps making it hard to look elsewhere, taking 10th.

Nico Rosberg leads the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rosberg is working nearly the same trick he pulled last year: drive like a second driver for most of the year, drive like a world champion for the last quarter of a season. He pulled away at the start and covered Hamilton just enough on the run to the first corner to keep Hamilton on the outside. By the end of Turn 1 the German had the lead and didn't give it up for the rest of the race outside of pit stops. Without overwhelming pace to pass and unable to follow closely, Hamilton could do nothing except ask his team for a different strategy to go for the win. When Mercedes told him "No," trying to protect Rosberg's second place in the championship ahead of Vettel, that was the race. Just like last year, Rosberg and Hamilton finished one-two.

Kimi Raikkonen drives during the 2015 Brazilian F1 Grand Prix.

Vettel, Räikkönen, Bottas, Hülkenberg, and Kvyat drove lonely races to finish in positions three through seven. After being penalized back to seventh, Bottas was back into fifth after the first turn of the race, so the order of the top seven after the first turn was the order of the first seven at the finish, too. Kvyat at least stayed close to Hülkenberg for much of the race but couldn't do anything with it. The only passing among this group came during pit stops.

The rest of the top 11 didn't change from the running order after Lap 47 of the 71-lap race. We say "top 11" because although Felipe Massa crossed the line in eighth, the FIA disqualified the Brazilian because one of his tires was 27 degrees over the permitted maximum temperature before the start of the race. Pirelli said it measured the right rear tire at 137 degrees Celsius, the legal limit is 110 degrees. Williams plans to appeal the decision.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez battle at the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The interim order, then, put Grosjean in eighth for Lotus, Verstappen in ninth for Toro Rosso, and Pastor Maldonado in the second Lotus in 10th. Verstappen, as usual, was good for a couple of outstanding passes on the outside of Turn 1, including one on Sergio Perez on Lap 32 that lasted through to Turn 3 and towed Grosjean along past Perez as well. Maldonado got his 10th place to stick even after a five-second penalty incurred for clouting Sauber's Marcus Ericsson when trying to pass the Swede down the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 35.

Nico Rosberg stands atop his car after winning the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix.

The win locks up second place in the driver's championship for Rosberg with Vettel untouchable in third place. Bottas and Räikkönen will duke it out for fourth place in the final race in Abu Dhabi, Bottas leading his fellow Finn by one point. On the manufacturer's side, Force India locked up fifth place ahead of Lotus, but Lotus still has to worry about Toro Rosso – the two are separated by nine points. Carlos Sainz's race ended after Turn 3 in Brazil when his troublesome Renault power unit gave up. Lotus – or Renault or whoever the team ends up being next year – could really use the prize money for sixth place, so if Toro Rosso can get both its cars going in a clean race in the desert, we expect quite the fight. The final race is in Abu Dhabi in two weeks, we'll see you then.

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