Paddock Cat is Behind The Scenes at the Brazilian GP - The Calm Before The Storm

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Everyone finds inspiration from different sources, and Fernando Alonso raised a cheer in the Ferrari pit garage today when he placed a picture of Enzo Ferrari on a tool chest alongside his F2012. The founder of the Scuderia is still much revered in the corridors of Maranello and he would no doubt have loved Alonso’s never-say-die attitude to this year’s world championship.

Having said that, Enzo would probably have had no qualms in telling Fernando – as he did all of his drivers – “my cars win races, my drivers lose them.” Fernando might have a thing or two to say about that after his performances this year, but the Commendatore always had the last word.

And it was a competitive start for Ferrari in the scorching heat of Intertagos today, with Felipe Massa looking the most competitive of all the runners over a long run. The bumpy nature of the track seems to suit the F2012, and it seems easier on its tyres on the abrasive circuit than some other cars.

Vettel, meanwhile, seemed happy with his day’s work. He ended the second session second fastest, but it’s only tomorrow – in qualifying – that the championship contenders will show their true colours. It’s a truly mouth-watering prospect, particularly if the forecast for rain turns out to be true.

Elsewhere in the paddock it was a day of announcements concerning next year. Esteban Gutierrez was confirmed as Nico Hulkenberg’s team-mate at Sauber and Charles Pic was confirmed as one of Caterham’s drivers. That leaves Kamui Kobayashi without a drive, with Force India the only viable option for the attacking Japanese driver.

Mercedes AMG Petronas kicked off Michael Schumacher’s swansong in a positive way. Their cars were both in the top seven in session two after both cars had tried development parts for 2013 in what was unofficially the last test session of the year.

Despite Friday being the busiest day of the weekend for the team, the Mercedes squad took time out to present team principal Ross Brawn with a birthday cake. He turned 58 today, so many happy returns! (And please can we have some of your cake?)