F1: Lewis Hamilton on the Pole at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
Lewis Hamilton of MercedesAMG was the fastest in qualifying Saturday and will start on Pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and team mate Nico Rosberg will be at his side in 2nd position.
As the championship contenders fought it out for the front-row positions, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was victorious in the battle for 3rd from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with Sebastian Vettel 5th.
Daniel Ricciardo was 6th for Red Bull, with Romain Grosjean an impressive 7th for Haas. The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, along with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the Top 10.
It was the 60th career pole for Mr. Hamilton and the reigning world champion was delighted to take it on a track that has not been kind to him in the past.
There was a hint of rain as the session started, with a warning that there was a 70% risk of a downpour. Everyone went out on soft Pirellis as soon as Q1 started. Well, everyone apart from Vettel, that is, as his Ferrari had a brake problem that was still being rectified. He soon joined in, however.
As Hamilton set the pace with 1m 11.511s despite hitting traffic, Mr. Rosberg followed with 1m 11.815s chased by Mr. Verstappen on 1m 11.957s and Mr. Raikkonen on 1m 12.100s.
Mr. Vettel did 1m 12.159s for fifth ahead of Mr. Ricciardo on 1m 12.409s.
Mr. Hamilton dominated Q2 with 1m 11.238s from Mr. Rosberg’s 1m 11.373s and Mr. Verstappen’s 1m 11.834s.
There was drama further back as the Haas cars surged knocking Messrs Bottas and Massa out of Q3 in a major shock for Williams. Mr. Hulkenberg was 10th with 1m 12.360s, leaving Bottas on 1m 12.420s from Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez on 1m 12.431s and Massa on 1m 12.521s.
Then came the Toro Rossos, with Daniil Kvyat in 1m 12.726s and Carlos Sainz on 1m 12.920s. Mr. Palmer brought up the rear on 1m 13.258s.
Mr. Hamilton was adamant that he needs to start from Pole in Brazil to keep his title hopes on track, and after the 1st runs in Q3 he was still in front, with a stunning 1m 10.860s to Rosberg’s 1m 11.022s.
Mr. Verstappen was 3rd on 1m 11.485s, with Mr. Vettel 4th, breathing down his neck, on 1m 11.495s.
Mr. Ricciardo was 5th on 1m 11.540s, Mr. Raikkonen 6th on 1m 11.614s.
Mr. Hamilton nailed it again on his 2nd run to stop the clocks at 1m 10.736s, which was just as well as Mr. Rosberg’s 1m 10.838s improvement bettered his 1st-run time.
The other big mover was Mr. Raikkonen, who came 3rd on 1m 11.404s as Messrs Verstappen, Vettel and Ricciardo all failed to improve.
Mr. Grosjean’s only run had yielded an excellent 1m 11.937s for Haas and 7 th, ahead of the Force Indias of Hulkenberg and Perez. Both drivers improved, the German to 1m 12.104s, the Mexican to 1m 12.165s.
Mr. Alonso also went quicker to 1m 12.266s to take 10th for McLaren.
Sunday’s race will get underway at 11:00a EsT and will be broadcast in the United States on NBCSN.
A live stream will be available online via NBC Sports.
Enjoy the racing.