Nov 6, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT
The championship trophies may have been decided for another year but there are three big battles further down the rankings to keep an eye on in the final two races.
Mercedes vs Ferrari vs Lotus
2. Mercedes 334
3. Ferrari 323 (-11)
4. Lotus 297 (-37)
No one wants to be runner-up in Formula One but the financial reward that comes with it is not to be sniffed at. Particularly for Lotus, who are scrapping with these names despite having half the budget of the likes of Ferrari.
That would make a higher finishing position especially valuable for Lotus who, as last weekend showed, are in need of the funds at the moment. What makes the situation delicate from their point of view is that one of their drivers engaged in the task of trying to take points off Ferrari will be driving for that team next year: Kimi Raikkonen.
Mercedes have edged away from this contest in the last two races but Ferrari expect to be more competitive from now on, particularly in Brazil, where they have tended to go well.
McLaren vs Force India vs Sauber
5. McLaren 95
6. Force India 77 (-18)
7. Sauber 45 (-50)
Two races ago it seemed a foregone conclusion Sauber would overhaul Force India and an outside chance they could catch McLaren. The latter prospect has diminished due to Sauber’s two consecutive no-scores as Nico Hulkenberg has suffered various misfortunes and Esteban Gutierrez has failed to replicate his Suzuka form.
Instead Force India might just pinch fifth in the championship off McLaren.
Marussia vs Caterham
10. Marussia 0 (Best result: 13th)
11. Caterham 0 (Best result: 14th)
Marussia have been ahead of Caterham all season long, mostly thanks to Jules Bianchi’s 13th place in Malaysia. But as they discovered last year, when Caterham turned the tables on them in Brazil, it’s not over until the last lap of the last race.
The prize money gap between the unrewarded 11th place and the top ten earners is believed to be an eight-figure sum, a considerable reward for the smallest teams on the grid.