Bottes scores Brazilian Grand Prix pole position

Valtteri Bottas scored an important pole position for Mercedes as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in qualifying.

New champion Lewis Hamilton was one of the favourites for pole after leading Friday practice sessions, but Hamilton crashed heavily at the high-speed Ferradura right-hander on his first flying lap in Q1.

Hamilton lost the rear of the car suddenly mid-corner and slammed hard into the barriers rear first.

He apologised to his team on the radio before emerging unscathed, but took no further part in the session.

Hamilton’s first Q1 exit since the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix cleared the way for Bottas to battle the Ferraris for top spot.

Bottas was fastest in Q1, but trailed Sebastian Vettel in Q2 and after the first runs in Q3.

Vettel failed to improve on his final run in Q3, but Bottas found 0.120 seconds to beat Vettel to pole by just 0.038 seconds, with a best lap of one minute, 08.322 seconds.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was third quickest, just under two tenths slower than Vettel, while Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was the only other car to lap below one minute, 09 seconds in fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull was fifth, but he faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice.

Sergio Perez’s Force India completed the top six, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda, the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr, and the Williams of Felipe Massa, who almost crashed after gesticulating at Sainz in Q3.

Esteban Ocon failed to make Q3 for the first time since  Singapore Grand Prix, missing the cut by less than a tenth to Sainz.

Romain Grosjean broke into the one minute, 09 seconds for the first time this weekend and briefly occupied a provisional Q3 spot, but fell to P12 as others improved at the end of Q2.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren-Honda and Grosjean’s Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen ended up P13 and P14 respectively, both paying the price for failing to break through the one minute, 10 seconds barrier.

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley was P15, but he used Q2 to practice his start procedures rather than set a time, knowing he faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice.

Hartley managed to drag himself narrowly into Q2 at the expense of Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein and Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly, who all lapped in one minute, 10.6 seconds in Q1.

Wehrlein was left feeling disappointed to miss the cut by just 0.053 seconds. Gasly, who faces a 10-place grid penalty for an MGU-H change ahead of practice, missed it by 0.061 seconds.

Hamilton’s crash gave Williams extra time to finish preparing Lance Stroll’s car after changing its engine and gearbox ahead of the session, but Stroll could only manage P18, less than a tenth slower than Gasly.

Stroll will take a five-place grid penalty for that gearbox swap.

Marcus Ericsson was another tenth further back in the second Sauber, beating only Hamilton’s Mercedes, which failed to set a time.

So a brilliant qualifying result for Valtteri Bottas. His third pole position this season when the pressure was on after his team-mate crashed out. The Mercedes driver delivered the result and the fight is on for the runner-up position in the championship.

Qualifying positions, Brazilian Grand Prix:
1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m08.322s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    0.038s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    0.216s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    0.603s
5    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1.276s
6    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1.295s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1.381s
8    Carlos Sainz    Renault    1.483s
9    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1.519s
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1.508s
11    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1.557s
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1.794s
13    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1.832s
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    2.356s
15    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1.008s
16    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2.553s
17    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    2.454s
18    Brendon Hartley    Toro Rosso-Renault    –
19    Pierre Gasly    Toro Rosso-Renault    2.364s
20    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes

6 thoughts to “Bottes scores Brazilian Grand Prix pole position”

  1. Lewis Hamilton is set to start from the back of the grid at the Brazilian Grand Prix after he crashed out on his first flying lap in qualifying.

    Having wrapped up the Formula 1 world championship title in Mexico a fortnight ago, Hamilton had declared his intention not to back off in his efforts to win the final two events of the year.

    But just a few minutes into the Q1 session at Interlagos, it all went wrong for Hamilton as he smashed into the barriers at the high-speed right hander Curva do Laranjinha.

    Hamilton was halfway through the corner when the back of his car stepped out and he spun around, pitching him into the barriers on the left hand side of the circuit.

    The Briton was able to get out of his car unaided and was given the all-clear by officials, without requiring any medical checks.

    “Not quite sure exactly [what happened]. I don’t really have much to say,” said Hamilton. “Challenges are really what make life interesting obviously, and I think I set this one for myself. I’ll do the best that I can tomorrow to recover from it.

    “I guess, ultimately, overcoming challenges like this are what makes like meaningful. Not the greatest of days but I’ll keep my head up.”

    Having not set a time in qualifying, it means Mercedes will need to request permission from the stewards for Hamilton to be allowed to start from the back of the grid.


  2. Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Valtteri Bottas ensured Mercedes will start Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix from pole position, despite team mate Lewis Hamilton crashing out in Q1. Bottas won a thrilling battle for P1 with Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos, edging out the Ferrari star by just 0.038s

    Newly-crowned champion Hamilton was not part of the top-ten shootout, after a rare error saw him put his car into the Turn 7 barriers at the start of Q1.

    Kimi Raikkonen will start third on the grid for Ferrari, with the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo qualifying fourth and fifth. Ricciardo will drop ten places due to an engine penalty.

    Sergio Perez was sixth for Force India, followed by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Renault duo Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, with Williams’ Felipe Massa completing the top ten.

    Q1 began in the same overcast, low-temperature conditions as FP3, with the forecast rain holding off. And immediately there was drama, as the back end of Hamilton’s Mercedes snapped out of line going into Turn 6, and the F1 W08 then slid for a long way sideways before impacting the tyre wall.

    After a repeated request from his crew over the radio to confirm he was okay, Hamilton sounded winded as he responded: “I’m okay, guys.”

    He was unharmed, however, and no medical checks were required. Instead, he began an inspection of the rear end of the car, as if he thought something had gone wrong there.

    It was the first time he was out in Q1 since Belgium last year, and immediately put a wholly new complexion on the rest of qualifying and the race.

    After an eight-minute delay, the session resumed. And after Bottas had briefly held sway on Pirelli’s supersoft tyres, Raikkonen went to the fore on softs, an ominous development for both Mercedes and Red Bull, especially as Verstappen complained that something was wrong with his engine after briefly going fastest.

    Thus Raikkonen headed the session with 1m 09.405s from Bottas on 1m 09.452s, Vettel on 1m 09.643s and Verstappen on 1m 09.789s.

    As Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley got through to Q2, Pascal Wehrlein led those who didn’t make it with 1m 10.678s in his Sauber, then came Pierre Gasly in the second Toro Rosso on 1m 10.686s, a disappointing Lance Stroll in 1m 10.776s and Marcus Ericsson in the second Sauber on 1m 10.875s. Hamilton, of course, had no recorded time.

    Bottas was the first to dip below the 1m 09s barrier in Q2, but his best lap of 1m 08.638s was beaten by Vettel with 1m 08.494s, as Verstappen was third on 1m 09.050s.

    As Alonso improved at the end to sixth, Force India’s Esteban Ocon found himself bumped with 1m 09.830s and was 11th ahead of Haas’s Romain Grosjean on 1m 09.879s, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne on 1m 10.116s and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen on 1m 10.154s. Hartley practised race starts by going through the pit lane each lap, but didn’t record a time.

    Bottas set the early pace in Q3 with 1m 08.442s, but Vettel beat that with 1m 08.360s to take the provisional pole. Raikkonen was third on 1m 08.767s from Verstappen on 1m 09.065s. Could Vettel take his 51st pole?

    He could not, it transpired. His 1m 08.418s failed to better his first run time, but Bottas grabbed the pole as he went quicker with 1m 08.322s. Mercedes had salvaged something from a tough session.

    Raikkonen stayed third after improving to 1m 08.538s, as Verstappen joined the aces with 1m 08.925s but stayed fourth. Ricciardo, who ran softs in Q2 and has a 10-place engine penalty, was fifth with 1m 09.330s.

    Further back, Perez took sixth for Force India with 1m 09.598s, ahead of Alonso on 1m 09.617s, and the Renaults of Hulkenberg and Sainz in 1m 09.703s and 1m 09.895s. Local hero Massa will start his final Brazilian Grand Prix from ninth (after Ricciardo’s drop), with 1m 09.841s.

    Thus, with grid penalties included – 5 for Stroll, 10 for Ricciardo, 10 for Hartley and 25 for Gasly – the provisional grid is set to line up as: Bottas, Vettel; Raikkonen, Verstappen; Perez, Alonso; Hulkenberg, Sainz; Massa, Ocon; Grosjean, Vandoorne; Magnussen, Ricciardo; Wehrlein, Ericsson; Stroll, Hartley; Gasly, Hamilton.

  3. Sebastian Vettel admitted he “chickened out” in the Brazilian Grand Prix pole position fight. has the full story.

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel says he “chickened out” on the brakes in his final lap in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying, as he was pipped to pole by Valtteri Bottas.

    Vettel was ahead of his Mercedes rival after the first runs in the final qualifying segment, but came up just short of an improvement with his second and final flying lap.

    Bottas, for his part, did make gains, putting together a last-gasp effort that denied Vettel pole by 0.038s.

    Having lost time relative to the Finn in the first sector in particular, Vettel admitted his final lap was compromised by him not being strong enough on the brakes going into the Turn 1 left-hander.

    “I was very happy with the first lap,” Vettel said. “We knew that in the last corner in Q3 I had a bit left as I lost rear a bit. I knew I could gain some time.

    “I chickened out a little bit too early in the first corner [on the final lap], braking too early – the grip was there – so I lost some time compared to first run.”

    Vettel carried on with the lap, trying to make up time in the remaining two sectors, but ended up half a tenth slower than his first attempt.

    “I got some [time] back at the last corner but by then I was overall too far behind.

    “It was not that bad. I was happy with my first lap. I think it was okay. Three hundredths [to Bottas], you always think there was some place I could get that.”

    Despite missing out on pole, Vettel appeared bullish on his chances of claiming his third Brazilian Grand Prix win on Sunday, saying his long runs in practice looked strong compared to Bottas “in particular”.

    Having scored his third grand prix pole position for Mercedes, Bottas felt his qualifying pace in Brazil was a continuation of the recent upward trend in his performances.

    The Finn has struggled to match fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton since the summer break, but ran the Brit close throughout the Interlagos weekend – and managed to put the W08 on pole while Hamilton had crashed out in Q1.

    “Sometimes it has been more difficult and that is how it goes in racing,” Bottas said.

    “For me, the last few races have been all the time on the up and feeling better and better with the car – and working hard on the issues I’ve been having.

    “We managed to learn from the mistakes and the tricky sessions, and the last few weekends have been a lot better.

    “It has been the case all the weekend here. Lewis wasn’t anymore in Q2 and Q3 but overall I am pleased with the performance.”

  4. Angry Felipe Massa claims Carlos Sainz admitted he ruined Q3 lap “on purpose”. has the details.

    Felipe Massa claims Carlos Sainz admitted that he disrupted his first Q3 lap in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying – but Sainz has subsequently denied doing so.

    Williams driver Massa – who will start his final home grand prix on Sunday – starred in Q1 and Q2 with fourth and seventh-fastest times respectively.

    But he will start 10th after being forced to abort his first Q3 run after coming across Sainz’s Renault at Turn 4, and then suffering a big slide at the following corner after shaking his fist.

    “I was so happy with the car in Q1 and Q2, and unfortunately in Q3 I had a driver, Carlos Sainz, disturbing my lap on purpose, on purpose,” said Massa.

    “And I think that’s really amazing, because when you have a mistake from the engineer or maybe didn’t know the car was coming, it can happen. But on purpose, no.

    “I was much more front of him when I left the garage. After corner five I let him go, but I was a lot more in front of him. He was completely in front of me, very close, and I lost, you can see in the laptime. That’s what happened.

    “I even spoke to him and said ‘this time you disturbed me on purpose, you knew I was coming.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I knew, because you disturbed me yesterday in the long run.’

    “I said ‘come on man, we are in the qualifying, you know…’ He did it on purpose and for me that is completely unacceptable, and this disrupted my qualifying to be maybe four of five positions in front.”

    When asked to clarify where their conversation had taken place, and whether he hopes race direction will take action, Massa replied: “Not here [in the media pen], over there [pointing towards parc ferme] he told me that. I don’t know what he will say to the media.

    “I really hope [the stewards] understand and they see what happened. It was clear I did the corner very close to him. He knew I was there and he didn’t let me by, knowing that I was coming.”

    When asked about Massa’s allegation that he blocked him deliberately, Sainz said: “No, not at all.

    “It’s a very strong accusation to say I did something on purpose. He could have got out of the way before, in Turn 4. I had to do Turn 4 behind him and I was impeded by him by 2-3 tenths in my first lap of Q3.

    “Then he started complaining, talking about yesterday. I don’t know why. It’s something I don’t understand at the moment. I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening, because for me it’s not worth it.

    “Yesterday we had some issues on track, for sure, but in qualifying I am never going to risk to penalise someone.”

  5. Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s engine power deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari is “painful” at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where he was unable to compete for pole position.

    Valtteri Bottas narrowly beat the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to the top spot on the grid, while Verstappen was six tenths of a second back in fourth.

    “I looked at the GPS data and we’re definitely missing half a second on the straights – and that’s the gap,” Verstappen said after qualifying.

    “We could improve the balance a little bit, but looking at it afterwards, it was still not too bad compared to the pole guys.

    “We knew it was going to be more painful on this track and I think it showed again.

    “If you look at sector two, where the corners are, we only lacked eight hundredths and there is still a bit of a straight going on.

    “Maybe just one or two corners where we could have been a bit better, and the rest, we lost out on the straight. There are not that many corners on this track so it’s a bit painful.

    “In the race we should be closer, but if it’s going to be close enough, I’m not sure.”

    Verstappen dismissed any concerns about his engine’s reliability, saying “If it blows, it blows”, and joking that “It will be good to me, otherwise I’ll punch it!”

    Teammate Daniel Ricciardo described his inability to improve from Friday to Saturday of a grand prix weekend as “a bit of a mystery”.

    He also said he felt the soft tyre – which he progressed from Q2 with – was better than the supersoft compound.

    “When we’re looking for those few more tenths when the track ramps up, we don’t have it,” said Ricciardo, who was one second off the pace in Q3.

    “It kind of felt like the soft was better for me, I wish I would’ve had more sets in Q3 and left the supersoft at home.

    “Normally from a soft to supersoft you gain front grip – the supersoft is easier to get the bite.

    “But if anything, that was the problem with my supersoft, I had less on the front, so it was frustrating.

    “I sat with the engineers and we’re looking into it, we had a pretty big vibration on the second set in Q3 – why, we don’t know.

    “The first run in Q3, we were just slow, and at the moment not sure why.”


  6. New Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from the pitlane after “surprise” crash. has the full details.

    Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix from the pitlane after the Mercedes Formula 1 team broke parc ferme rules to fit new parts.

    The four-time world champion crashed into the barriers at the fast uphill Ferradura right-hander on his first flying lap in qualifying at Interlagos.

    As Hamilton was set to start from the back of the field anyway, Mercedes has opted to fit parts “of a different specification to those used in qualifying”.

    Mercedes says it will also fit a new engine, with Hamilton moving onto his fifth internal combustion engine, MGU-H and turbocharger.

    Hamilton had been expected to contend for pole, but crashed out within minutes of the session starting to prompt his first Q1 exit since the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.

    He lost the rear of the car suddenly mid-corner and slammed into the barriers left-front corner first.

    The Briton apologised to his team on the radio before emerging unscathed, but took no further part in the session.

    “I was just taken by surprise,” Hamilton told reporters after the session. “The car bottomed out a bit. If you look at the replay, the car is bottoming throughout the corner.

    “Often when it bottoms, it stalls the floor, and that often happens when the car is cold and the tyres are cold. These sort of things happen.

    “I hadn’t gone in there any quicker than I had done before, anything like that, but it’s my fault and I should take full responsibility.”

    When asked if it was easier to take given the championship has already been decided, Hamilton said: “It feels the same as it would at another point in season.

    “It’s less painful as the championship is done but I still feel it just as much. I take a lot of pride in my commitment and how i drive.

    “I haven’t made any mistakes all year and it’s been a long time since I’ve put the car in the wall. But it happens.

    “Once it happens, there’s no point dwelling on it. All I can do is keep my head high and move forwards.

    “It had been a good weekend up until then. Hopefully you can tell I’ve not lifted off the gas and backing off. I was going for it. But I’m human still.

    “I’m starting from the pitlane, it’s not the most exciting but you can only go forwards from there. I will try to give it everything I’ve got.”

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