Lewis Hamilton has secured his 10th pole position by going fastest in qualifying today in Brazil. Sebastian Vettel was a close contended but ended at 1 tenth while Valtteri Bottas was third fastest for Mercedes.
Qualifying kicked off with lots of track action, as the threat for rain forced every driver to go out early, aiming to set an early lap time in case the rain came earlier than expected. A bunch of cars were queuing up in the pitlane before the session started.
The fastest time of Q1 was set 5 minutes into the session, with Verstappen completing a lap in 1:08.205. Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton, Magnussen and Bottas were all within three tenths of him. Ricciardo ended up at 0.339s.
The best moment seemed to have passed then, as 5 minutes from the end of the session, some drops started falling. The rain was really mild, but enough to make it unable for anyone to improve on their earlier times in the last 5 minutes. Everyone at this stage was using the super soft tyres, but even then, the conditions provided some surprises, as Sirotkin managed to progress into Q2, while Sainz and Hartley did not. At McLaren, things were pretty terrible yet again, with their cars ending up in 18th and 20th.
The second part of qualifying saw more of the same, with all remaining 15 cars out on track in the first minute.
Curiously, Raikkonen pitted at the end of his outlap and changed to soft tyres, rather than the commonly used super softs. Vettel did exactly the same a few moments later.
The tyres didn't seem to make much of a difference, and Vettel soon recorded the second fastest time, just 0.049s slower than Bottas. Meanwhile, as Hamilton set the third fastest time, replays shows how the new World Champion seemed complete unaware of traffic behind him on a slow lap. First he veered left when Sirotkin has already committed to pass him to the right, while later, Raikkonen had to cross the while line of the pitlane exit avoid Hamilton, who was going slowly in the middle of the track. For Sirotkin especially, the event was an issue, as it ruined the lap he was on, and the subsequent lap due to not having an ideal run onto the main straight.
With the Ferrari seemingly working well on the softs, Mercedes and Red Bull changes their cars to the other compound too, but it proved too late to improve as rain intensified to make the track slippery.
During the break ahead of Q3, the rain eased off a bit, allowing drivers to push harder again. With everybody on super softs this time around it was Hamilton who emerged fastest after the first run, topping Vettel by 0.073s and Bottas by 0.140s. Raikkonen was close as well, going just 0.155s slower than the pace setter at the time.
The next lap, Hamilton improved yet again and secured pole position. Another impressive performance, although it remains to be seen if a penalty will follow for impeding other drivers.
|5||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:08.205||1:08.017||1:07.778||16|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer||1:08.544||1:08.055||1:07.780||16|
|7||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber Ferrari||1:08.754||1:08.579||1:08.296||19|
|8||16||Charles Leclerc||Sauber Ferrari||1:08.667||1:08.335||1:08.492||23|
|9||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:08.735||1:08.239||1:08.517||17|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:09.046||1:08.616||1:09.029||24|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:08.474||1:08.659||-||12|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:09.217||1:08.741||-||15|
|13||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India Mercedes||1:09.264||1:08.770||-||18|
|15||35||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Mercedes||1:09.259||1:10.381||-||11|
|17||28||Brendon Hartley||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:09.280||-||-||10|
|18||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Renault||1:09.402||-||-||9|
|19||18||Lance Stroll||Williams Mercedes||1:09.441||-||-||9|
|20||2||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren Renault||1:09.601||-||-||9|