Hamilton heads Mercedes front row in Brazil

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Brazil, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagosbr

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Brit will therefore start from pole position in Sunday's race, ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg. Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, edging ahead of Verstappen in the final seconds of the qualifying session.

At the start of qualifying, a few small drops on a dry track worried teams enough to get out early, setting a benchmark time to not get caught out early on. Mercedes were least happy to take a chance, and sent out Hamilton and Rosberg to queue up at the end of the pitlane before the start of the session, enabling them to get on track first.

They didn't make it warm-up laps either, as Hamilton and Rosberg set times fast enough to be comfortably ahead of Verstappen, Raikkonen and Ricciardo, who all set their in the first minutes.

Vettel was actually the last man to set a time on the board, lapping the circuit in 1:12.159, good enough for 5th and a tenth down on his Finnish team mate.

After Vettel's lap, drivers prepared for a second go. The top 9 at the time remained in the box, including both Mercedes, both Ferraris, both Red Bulls, both Williams and Fernando Alonso. Good news for McLaren, but less positive news came from Button a few minutes later, as the Brit dropped out of Q1 due to only the 17th best time.

When Q2 got underway, light drops of rain were still falling, and Hamilton was once again the first man to get out on track.

Towards the end of the session, many drivers managed to improve on their earlier bests, but behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, it was Alonso who was again fastest, followed by Perez, Grosjean and Hulkenberg. Bottas failed to improve on his second outing and hence dropped to 11th.

Local hero Felipe Massa was similarly eliminated in 13th, but that didn't stop him to please the crowd as he stood up the pit wall to greet his fans.

In the final part of qualifying, it was once again Hamilton who went out on track first, followed by Rosberg, Alonso and Verstappen. Hamilton was again fastest, ahead of Rosberg, Verstappen and Vettel. Hulkenberg and Perez used used soft tyres and ended up 8th and 9th after their first attempts.

Romain Grosjean waited until the track was clear to get out. The Frenchman did put in a solid lap, going 7th fastest, 3 tenths down on Raikkonen but also 4 tenths faster than Alonso.

What followed was another thriller for pole, with both Mercedes drivers going purple on various sectors on the track, resulting in improved times for both, but sadly for Rosberg, his improvement was not enough to take pole position.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:11.5111:11.2381:10.73612
26Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:11.8151:11.3731:10.83812
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:12.1001:12.3011:11.40415
433Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:11.9571:11.8341:11.48512
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1:12.1591:12.0101:11.49513
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:12.4091:12.0471:11.54012
78Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:12.8931:12.3431:11.93718
827Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes1:12.4281:12.3601:12.10420
911Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:12.6841:12.3311:12.16521
1014Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:12.7001:12.3121:12.26617
1177Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes1:12.6801:12.420-10
1221Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari1:13.0521:12.431-14
1319Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:12.4321:12.521-11
1426Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari1:13.0711:12.726-15
1555Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari1:12.9501:12.920-15
1630Jolyon PalmerRenault1:13.2591:13.258-11
1722Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda1:13.276--10
1820Kevin MagnussenRenault1:13.410--6
1994Pascal WehrleinMRT Mercedes1:13.427--8
2031Esteban OconMRT Mercedes1:13.432--8
219Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:13.623--8
2212Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari1:13.681--8