Sebastian Vettel has secured pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix following a qualifying session that was mainly dominated by the rain. Nico Rosberg set the second best time, followed by Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.
The wet track conditions at the start of qualifying meant a long queue of cars to go out immediately at the start of the session. The track at the very start of Q1 is wet with some dry patches in the first half of the lap. The rain kept on coming down and it's a matter of judging whether that will be enough to get the track wetter or if it's going to dry.
Lewis Hamilton was the first to complete a lap and his first time proved unbeatable by all other runners. Vettel did his first lap a bit later and ended second fastest, ahead of Rosberg, Hulkenberg and Di Resta.
9 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg signals to his team that the track is getting slower due to the rain. Many drivers thereafter dove in the pitlane, some of them knowing they were already secure to get through to Q2.
Kovalainen was unlucky to get stuck behind a Caterham on a flying lap and improved past the halfway mark to 14th. Gutierrez also continued to run longer as he was 19th with 8 minutes to go. Jean-Eric Vergne at the same time asked his team why they were waiting in the pitbox early in the session while everybody else was out on track.
With 4 minutes to go, several drivers came out with new intermediates, their only hopes to improve on a track that became much wetter than at the beginning of the session. In the closing stages, Kovalainen put his new intermediates to great use to move up into 5th. Vergne managed to get 15th whereas Maldonado and Gutierrez failed to improve enough to get through.
This means Maldonado and Gutierrez are eliminated, contrary to their team mates. Out along with them are Pic in 19th, followed by Van der Garde, Bianchi and Chilton.
As Q2 kicked off, Hamilton was again the first man out, followed by his teammate. Rosberg though set the better time of the two. Vettel went even faster one minute later while Webber, Grosjean, Alonso, Vergne, Kovalainen, Massa and Ricciardo slot in behind the Mercedes in that order. Both Force Indias and the McLarens were danger of getting eliminated 5 minutes from the end.
What followed was many cars standing still in the pitlane, holding their horses to go out at the right time and attempt to make use of the improving track.
3 minutes from the end, Grosjean went fastest and Alonso second fastest, but after that the rain picked up. Neither McLaren eventually managed to get through with Perez actually crashing his McLaren at turn 5 after getting a bit too eager and staying on the throttle while on a kerb. Eliminated were also Kovalainen, Di Resta, Bottas and Sutil.
Next up was a number of subsequent delays from the FIA as they were unsure of the safety on the track with the increased rain. After 5 delays, it was eventually announced that Q3 would get underway 45 minutes behind schedule.
The first cars out were both Red Bulls, queuing at the end of the pitlane for 2 minutes without anybody joining them. Other cars followed one minute later. As the bulls crossed the finish line it was immediately evident that the track conditions were nigh on good enough for intermediates.
After the full wet laps, Vettel was fastest, ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton, Webber, Alonso, Vergne, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Massa. Grosjean didn't set a time on the full wets as he returned immediately to change to intermediates.
Obviously the Frenchman was the first to complete a lap on inters and was immediately more than a second ahead of Vettel's best on the wets. The Red Bulls however soon took back their top spots, only to see Rosberg slot into second place 1 minute from the end. 10 seconds later, Alonso slots into second too, pushing Rosberg, Webber and Hamilton another spot down.
Another lap later, Rosberg improved again and moved up into second as the track continued to dry. Nobody else improved later on, sealing another pole position for Sebastian Vettel.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:25.381||1:26.420||1:26.479||23|
|2||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:25.556||1:26.626||1:27.102||22|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.689||1:26.963||1:27.572||23|
|5||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:25.342||1:26.698||1:27.677||23|
|12||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.275||1:27.798||-||16|
|16||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:26.874||1:28.586||-||19|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:28.320||-||-||6|