Hamilton Takes 10th Seasonal Pole in Brazil
INTERLAGOS, Brazil—R.I.S.—With a fifth world championship in the bag, Lewis Hamilton continued to impress with his performances, by taking pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Brazil with a 1:07:281 fastest lap Saturday afternoon, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.
For Hamilton, it was his tenth pole of the season, and in addition for Mercedes, their 100th of their formula one career.
“That was a tough qualifying session.” Hamilton recalled. “The weather was going up and down, and we did not know what to expect. The Ferraris were quick this weekend, and my engineers wanted to be sure that the cars were up to their specifications. I had a few problems with understeer in a few places.”
Throughout the entire afternoon, threatening rain showers played with many of the drivers. But the rain itself as far as its heaviest proportions, stayed away from the track. Nobody took the chance to switch to intermediates because of the track drying quicker than expected. But Hamilton had no trouble as the Briton set his best time after saying back most of the day. Right when it counted, Hamilton took his best time in the final session within three minutes from the end. Vettel was the last to challenge but failed, only to be on the front row with Hamilton for Sunday’s race.
Vettel is under investigation for leaving his car in neutral following a weigh-in during the final session. Vettel himself was in a hurry to get back out onto the track while the circuit was dry, but the marshals were not ready to weigh his vehicle, which can happen to any driver during qualifying if chosen. At this time, no penalty was enforced, but Vettel was due to report to the F.I.A. (The governing body of F1) 45 minutes after the end of qualifying.
While both McLarens, Renault and Force India’s never made it to the final session, Sauber did for the second time this season, having both Marcus Ericsson and Charles LeClerc finish 7th and 8th, respectively. LeClerc just made it out of the second session, when he decided to risk a last-minute quick lap, which knocked the American Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen into 11th, eliminating the Dane from making it into the final session.
For the rest of the top ten, Kimi Raikkonen took fourth for Ferrari, while Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Romain Grosjean continued Haas F1 Team’s success by taking ninth, while Pierre Gasly finished tenth in his Toro Rosso.
For Hamilton, even after taking the drivers title last week, the constructor’s championship is still to play for between Mercedes and Ferrari, something Hamilton knows can still be lost.
“You have seen how quick the Ferraris are,” he explained, “so you have seen how they (Ferrari) are good on the super soft tires. But we will see tomorrow, and we will see what we can do.”
BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX
At Interlagos, Brazil
Final Qualifying Results
1 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes--- 1:07:281
2 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
3 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes
4 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
5 Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
6 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
7 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
8 Charles LeClerc (MON) Sauber
9 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
10 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
11 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
12 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
13 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
14 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
15 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Williams
16 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
17 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
18 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren
19 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams
20 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.