Formula 1

Hamilton On Brazil Pole

The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton has qualified on pole position for tomorrows Brazilian Grand Prix by just a tenth of a second from his team mate Nico Rosberg, in what is a decisive make or break weekend for Hamilton’s championship bid.

Going into Qualifying the margins between team mates Hamilton and Rosberg had been tumbling all weekend, and after FP3 it did look like pole would once again be a straight fight between the two of them, as the Mercedes have dominated the field during the weekend. It was tough to call who would be on pole, since the first sector of the lap Rosberg was consistently faster than Hamilton, however in the final sector Hamilton was able to find the edge over his team mate. Which resulted in him getting pole with a 1:10.736, with Rosberg just one tenth off the final time set by Hamilton. Resulting in the current championship leader having to settle for 2nd for the race tomorrow. If he is able to leapfrog Hamilton during the race and win, the drivers championship is his. If he fails to do this, then the championship goes down to the wire at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

“Nico’s been getting quicker and quicker, but I generally had it covered throughout the weekend,” said Hamilton. “This is the best I could have hoped for coming to Brazil. It’s only my second pole here, it’s always a track I’ve struggled at, so I’m really happy to be up at the front.”

With the front row locked out by Mercedes the battle soon turned to the best of the rest, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen taking that honour and qualifying 3rd for tomorrow. Raikkonen’s recent run of form means this is the fourth race in succession he has outqualified team mate Sebastian Vettel, who managed to get his Ferrari to 5th. An impressive thing considering the team were still working on a suspected hydraulic issue when the cars were taking to the track for Q1. The result of today means Raikkonen has now drawn level with Vettel in the pairs head to head qualifying contest, with 10 apiece and one race left.

It was the Red Bull of Max Verstappen who split the two Ferrari’s in 4th, with team mate Daniel Ricciardo in 6th. It must be said it was probably a disappointing qualifying session for the Red Bull team, who have looked to be the second-best team all weekend, particularly with Verstappen splitting the Mercedes duo in FP1 yesterday. However, the cooler conditions in Sau Paulo today have played into the Ferrari teams favour, resulting in them getting the jump on the Red Bulls.

They were not the only team out to impress today, as the Haas of Romain Grosjean drove the car to a spectacular 7th on the grid for the race tomorrow, showing an upturn in form this weekend for the American team. And on Gene Haas’ 64th birthday today as well. Behind Grosjean are the two Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. While Fernando Alonso was able to claim the final top ten start in his McLaren, after spending yesterday playing cameraman during FP2.

It wasn’t a positive weekend for the home-grown heroes though, much to the crowd’s disappointment. After constantly being in the top ten comfortably in the three free practice sessions Williams were unable to get either car into the top ten. With Felipe Massa, making his final appearance at Interlagos just 13th, officially his worst ever qualifying around the track. While the other Brazilian hopeful of Felipe Nasr lines up 22nd and last in his Sauber for tomorrow.

Tomorrow however could still be all to play for, with many expecting rain for the race itself, which will throw a curveball into the strategy and race. And with many battles still left to be settle tomorrow could prove decisive, not just in terms of the championship between Hamilton and Rosberg. But the many battles between teams and team mates up and down the grid.

Brazilian GP Qualifying Results

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:10.736
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 0.102
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari + 0.668
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull + 0.749
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 0.759
6.Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 0.804
7. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1.201
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 1.368
9. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1.429
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1.530

Out in Q2
11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:12.430
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:12.431
13. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:12.521
14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:12.726
15. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:12.920
16. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:13.258

Out in Q1

17. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:13.276
18. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:13.410
19. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:13.427
20. Esteban Ocon, Manor, 1:13.432
21. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:13.623
22. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:13.681

Feature Image Credit: Scudaria Ferrari Press Release

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