Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Williams, Haas and Sauber all take nine sets of the softest compound available to Interlagos for the penultimate race of the season, while Kimi Raikkonen, Force India, Renault and Toro Rosso take eight sets. Taking the fewest are the McLaren pair who take seven sets apiece.
In terms of the softs, Force India, Carlos Sainz, Brendon Hartley and the McLarens take four sets, while the remainder take either three or two sets, which is in turn reflected in the number of mediums that are being taken.
Vettel won last year’s race using a one-stop strategy, the German starting on supersofts before switching to softs.
Indeed, only two of the top ten finishers were on a two-stop strategy. Max Verstappen starting on supersofts, before subsequent stints on softs and back to supersofts, while Daniel Ricciardo started with two stints on softs before finally switching to supers.
Interlagos is one of the shortest but most intense laps of the year, both in terms of its physical demands and atmosphere. Featuring a succession of high-speed corners and constant changes in elevation, not to mention a local climate that is capable of both intense heat and heavy rain.
Prior to the 2017 event the track was resurfaced, which (supposedly) ironed out some of the famous Interlagos bumps.
With the second-shortest lap of the season (after Monaco) cars are not only nearly always turning, but also going off-line to overtake, while the anti-clockwise direction means the right-rear tyre is doing the most work.
The rapid series of corners and high-energy loads put high demands on the tyres, which are frequently subjected to combined lateral and longitudinal forces.