Hamilton achieves his sixty career pole at Brazil

Lewis Hamilton recorded his sixty career pole position in Formula 1 with an important qualifying session at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Championship rival Nico Rosberg put on a brave fight to wrestle that pole from his Mercedes team-mate but had to settle for second place.

With rain threatening, but never arriving beyond a few spots, throughout qualifying, Hamilton had the advantage after the first runs in Q3.

While Rosberg did make a small improvement on his second run, Hamilton was fast enough to defend top position – with his pace in the long middle sector particularly strong.

Kimi Raikkonen capitalised on the Red Bull drivers and Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel failing to improve on their second runs to jump to third late on, 0.668 seconds off pole.

Max Verstappen shaded Vettel for fourth by just a hundredth of a second, complaining about losing rear grip mid-way through his second flying lap, with Ricciardo aborting his final quick lap in the middle sector and not able to do better than sixth.

After qualifying last in Mexico, Romain Grosjean equalled the Haas team’s best grid position of the season as he went seventh fastest.

Nico Hulkenberg had the edge in the Force India battle, lapping half-a-tenth quicker than team-mate Sergio Perez, with the pair in eighth and ninth place.

McLaren-Honda returned to Q3 after a three-race absence, Fernando Alonso ending up tenth.

Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were both eliminated in a late flurry of improvements in Q2 as some spots of rain fell.

Bottas missed out on the top ten by just 0.060 seconds to Hulkenberg, while Massa had a poor first run then was unable to make a big enough improvement to do better than P13.

The Williams cars sandwiched the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, with the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz P14 and P15, and Renault driver Jolyon Palmer P16 after several lock ups on his only Q2 lap on fresh rubber.

Jenson Button was the highest-profile casualty in Q1 in P17, lapping almost six tenths slower than team-mate Alonso and complaining of a lack of front grip having failed to improve his time on his second attempt.

Kevin Magnussen did improve on his second run having been slowest on the first, but that was only good enough to jump up to P19, ahead of the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.

Ocon complained about Wehrlein holding him up on his final run, while Wehrlein complained about being overtaken by his team-mate.

But Ocon was the only driver to get in trouble with the stewards, who will investigate whether or not he impeded Palmer as the Descida do Lago downhill left-hander during the session.

Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr take the back row, with the former finding a bigger improvement on his second run to jump ahead of his team-mate by just 0.058 seconds having earlier been over three tenths slower.

Nasr complained about traffic during his second run, although he was still able to improve on his first-run time by over four tenths.

Brazilian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m10.736s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m10.838s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m11.404s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m11.485s
5    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m11.495s
6    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m11.540s
7    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m11.937s
8    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m12.104s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m12.165s
10    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m12.266s
11    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m12.420s
12    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m12.431s
13    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m12.521s
14    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m12.726s
15    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m12.920s
16    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m13.258s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m13.276s
18    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m13.410s
19    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m13.427s
20    Esteban Ocon    Manor-Mercedes    1m13.432s
21    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m13.623s
22    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m13.681s

3 thoughts to “Hamilton achieves his sixty career pole at Brazil”

  1. Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton needs to win Sunday’s Formula 1 Grande Premio do Brasil 2016 to keep his title hopes alive and he will start it from pole position after winning a titanic struggle with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg by just 0.102s in qualifying at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

    As the championship contenders fought it out over the front-row positions, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was victorious in the battle for third from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with Sebastian Vettel fifth in the Scuderia’s second car.

    Daniel Ricciardo was sixth for Red Bull, with Romain Grosjean an impressive seventh for Haas. The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, along with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.

    It was the 60th career pole for Hamilton and the reigning world champion was delighted to get it all spot-on, on a track that has not hitherto been kind to him, as Mercedes’ sheer pace left Ferrari and Red Bull breathless in their wake.

    There was a hint of rain in the air as the session started, with a warning that there was a 70 percent risk of a proper 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, Rosberg followed with 1m 11.815s chased by Verstappen on 1m 11.957s and Raikkonen on 1m 12.100s. Vettel did 1m 12.159s for fifth ahead of Ricciardo on 1m 12.409s.

    Further back, Jolyon Palmer got through to Q2, but Renault team mate Kevin Magnussen didn’t, taking 18th place with 1m 13.410s behind Jenson Button’s brake-locking McLaren on 1m 13.276s. The Manors were next, with Pascal Wehrlein just shading Esteban Ocon, 1m 13.427s to 1m 13.432s. That left the Saubers on the back row, with Marcus Ericsson fractionally quicker than local hero Felipe Nasr, 1m 13.623s to 1m 13.681s. Six-tenths covered P14 to P22.

    Hamilton dominated Q2 with 1m 11.238s from Rosberg’s 1m 11.373s and Verstappen’s 1m 11.834s. But there was drama further back as the Haas cars surged forward, knocking both Bottas and local boy Massa out of Q3 in a major shock for Williams. 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. Palmer brought up the rear on 1m 13.258s.

    Hamilton has been adamant that he needs to start from pole here to keep his title hopes on track, and after the first runs in Q3 he was still in front, with a stunning 1m 10.860s to Rosberg’s 1m 11.022s. Verstappen was third on 1m 11.485s, with Vettel fourth, breathing down his neck, on 1m 11.495s. Ricciardo was fifth on 1m 11.540s, Raikkonen sixth on 1m 11.614s.

    Hamilton nailed it again on his second run to stop the clocks at 1m 10.736s, which was just as well as Rosberg’s 1m 10.838s improvement bettered his own first-run time. The other big mover was Raikkonen, who leapt to third on 1m 11.404s as Verstappen, Vettel and Ricciardo all failed to improve.

    Grosjean’s single run had yielded an excellent 1m 11.937s for Haas and seventh, ahead of the Force Indias of Hulkenberg and Perez. Both drivers improved, the German to 1m 12.104s, the Mexican to 1m 12.165s. Alonso also went quicker, marginally, to 1m 12.266s to take 10th for McLaren.

    After the session, Ocon was handed a three-place grid drop (plus two penalty points) for impeding Palmer in Q1, thus the provisional grid will line up: Hamilton, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Verstappen; Vettel, Ricciardo; Grosjean, Hulkenberg; Perez, Alonso; Bottas, Gutierrez; Massa, Kvyat; Sainz, Palmer; Button, Magnussen; Wehrlein, Ericsson; Nasr, Ocon.

  2. Kimi Raikkonen called the qualifying lap that put him third on the Brazilian Grand Prix grid “pretty average”, despite beating Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel and both Red Bulls.

    Raikkonen was the only one of that quartet to improve during their final runs in Q3 at Interlagos, which vaulted him from sixth to third in the final classification, behind only the dominant Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

    Raikkonen has shown improved form on Saturdays recently in F1, and has now outqualified Vettel at the last four races in succession.

    Ferrari congratulated the Finn on a job well done after the session, but Raikkonen admitted over team radio to being surprised the lap was good enough for third on the grid.

    “I struggled the whole qualifying with a few corners in the middle sector,” he explained.

    “We’re lacking downforce compared to the guys in front.

    “I struggle in the first two corners with tyre warm up. In the middle, I wasn’t happy either, but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this.

    “The car has been behaving today pretty good, just struggling a bit in the right corners to turnaround the car, and [with] front locking. It’s been a bit of guessing.

    “To be honest, the last lap was pretty average in my view, but it was enough to be third.

    “Mercedes seem to be a bit too far [in front] – even if we made the perfect lap it wouldn’t be fast enough.”

    Raikkonen was almost seven tenths adrift of Hamilton, who claimed the 60th pole position of his F1 career by edging out title rival Rosberg by 0.102s in Q3.

    After leading the way throughout Friday practice, Hamilton trailed Rosberg in practice three and was almost defeated in qualifying too, until Rosberg dropped time in the final sector of his best lap.

    “I felt quite comfortable in qualifying, as I have done all through the weekend,” Hamilton said after giving Mercedes a record 19th pole of the year.

    “Nico has been getting quicker and quicker, but I’ve generally had him covered.

    “It’s remarkable what this team has done, to have that many pole positions – it’s a true showing of incredible teamwork from everyone.

    “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 struggle at, so I’m really happy to be up at the front.”

    Rosberg can clinch the championship with victory in Sunday’s GP, and says he will attempt to overtake Hamilton into the first corner, rather than settling for second and extending the title race to the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

    “I’m going to try and get Lewis into Turn 1,” he said.

    “That’s the plan. It won’t be easy. The run to Turn 1 is very short, so that doesn’t help, but I’ll try everything I can.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  3. Ocon gets grid penalty for impeding Palmer in Q1. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Manor Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for the Brazilian Grand Prix, meaning he will start from the back of the grid.

    The FIA stewards, including former Ferrari F1 driver Mika Salo, decided Ocon impeded Renault’s Jolyon Palmer at Turn 4 during Q1.

    The stewards’ verdict explained that Ocon was on a slow lap, and forced Palmer off the racing line at the left-hander.

    “At the end of the Q1 session, the driver of car 31 (Ocon) was on a slow lap having aborted his lap previously, while the driver of car 30 (Palmer) was on a fast lap.

    “Entering the braking area of Turn 4 Ocon stayed on the racing line at the moment when Palmer was approaching, forcing Palmer off the racing line.

    “At that time, Ocon was on the radio with his team, who did not inform him of the approaching car.

    “When Ocon did see Palmer, he moved as far as possible to the right to avoid a dangerous situation, but the stewards concluded these were not mitigating factors, and that Ocon clearly impeded Palmer.”

    Although the incident was not costly to Palmer, whose first run in Q1 was fast enough to make it through to the next phase of qualifying, it did prevent him from improving his time.

    Ocon was also hit with two penalty points, taking his tally to four points for the current 12-month period, as he was previously punished for overtaking under the safety car during this year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

    “The team didn’t tell me Palmer was coming, I saw him at the last moment,” said Ocon, who explained drivers were reminded in the drivers’ briefing about not impeding rivals in qualifying.

    “It was a complicated situation. We were discussing if I could do another lap, so the team was busy discussing that and didn’t check that Palmer was coming.

    “I couldn’t move at that time because it could have been dangerous. I was not aware he was coming, so I blocked him.

    “That was clear. I take the penalty, which is deserved. We start at the back now so we need a good start to get ahead of Sauber.”

    As Ocon drops to 22nd after qualifying 20th, this promotes Sauber pairing Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr to 20th and 21st respectively.

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