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Ferrari out to fight

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Scuderia team look to bounce back at Brazil Grand Prix after being labelled "cheaters"

STILL HUNGRY: Ferraris Sebastian Vettel during the press conference ahead of Sundays Brazilian Grand Prix at the Juan Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Picture: Reuters Amanda Perobelli

Ferrari arrive at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix looking to bounce back from both a disappointing race in the US and allegations of cheating that they strongly denied.

“I think overall it’s been a good hunting ground for us and hopefully it will be like that again this weekend,” driver Sebastian Vettel said in the team preview for Sunday’s race at the classic Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.

Vettel is the more likely Scuderia contender on the 90th anniversary of the team being formed given Charles Leclerc will “drop at least 10 grid places but quite likely a lot more,” according to the F1 website, for using a new power unit.

Should Vettel win he will move level with Michael Schumacher on four Brazilian triumphs. World champion Lewis Hamilton has two, the same as his hero and local icon Ayrton Senna.

Ferrari experienced a sudden drop in performance at the US Grand Prix, something Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed was related to the governing FIA issuing a clarification on how fuel could be delivered.

“That’s what happens when you stop cheating, of course,” he told Dutch television.

Leclerc branded the accusations “a joke” as the young drivers, widely considered potential future world champions, continued a rivalry which has bubbled this season with on-track clashes.

“We should be back to our normal performance level and show some fighting spirit to finish the season on a high note,” said team principal Mattia Binotto.

“That will be important in order to confirm we are making progress with our car and to take some of that momentum into the winter work.”

Mercedes, having secured a sixth successive drivers’ and constructors’ double, will be without team chief Toto Wolff who is staying in Europe to “focus on other open topics.”

Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will definitely finish first and second in the standings but Wolff insisted: “We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high.”

On occasion Hamilton has eased off with the title won but celebrated championship number five by winning in Brazil last year. Victory again would take him to 84 career race wins and within seven of Schumacher’s all-time best of 91.

DPA