Mercedes Valtteri Bottas has beaten Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to take pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Finn was three-hundredths of a second faster than Vettel allowing him to take the third pole of his career.
Bottas’s four-time world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the session. It was a good lap by Bottas who broke the lap record narrowly beating his German rival, who failed to improve on his final run in the session because of the drizzle.
The Finn said “It feels good. It was so close with Seb all through qualifying. It’s a shame Lewis went out but I’m happy I could do a good job for the team. Avoiding mistakes will be crucial tomorrow as well as a good start. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The new world champion lost control of his Mercedes on his first timed run when he lost control in between Turn Six and Seven going into the barrier, meaning he failed to set a time as he spun and then slammed into the barrier.
Hamilton had looked very strong throughout practice, topping all three sessions. The four times world champion said “It is what it is. Of course, it’s unfortunate. I tend to just look at it as challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them makes life meaningful.
“I just need to take whatever bubble of negativity comes from that experience and move forwards and try and grow from it.”
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was two tenths behind him in third and out-qualified the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Verstappen is expected to be a real threat for Ferrari once again as the race is forecast to be wet.
Vettel said “I think I chickened out a little bit on the brakes for the final run into Turn One and lost a bit too much time. From there the lap was fine but I knew I had a bit left in the last corner which I got but by then I was too much behind.”
The Dutchman was five tenths faster than Ricciardo, following a difficult start to FP3 he recovered to fight with his teammate for position. However, Ricciardo will drop back to fifteenth because of an MGU-H change ahead of this weekend.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was sixth ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso gave the performance of the session putting his car seventh. That is the seventh time this season that the Spaniard has made it into Q3 this season, and put him ahead of both Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz.
Felipe Massa was tenth fastest but the Brazilian was far from happy. Massa almost crashed into the back of Sainz when he was on his lap in Q3. Massa also nearly crashed out after a near identical slide to Hamilton at the beginning of that session.
His teammate Lance Stroll made it out despite a crash in FP3, which has led to Williams needing to change his gearbox and means he has a five-place grid penalty. The Canadian could only manage eighteenth.
Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean both narrowly missing out on a place in the top ten. The Force India driver missing out on Q3, by less than a tenth behind Sainz. Grosjean put in his best lap of the weekend and was on for a place in Q3 but starts two places ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Brendon Hartley chose not to set a time in Q2 because his Toro Rosso is set to drop to the back because of an engine change. Pascal Wehrlein was a tenth off a place in Q2, but was ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.