Hamilton claims milestone pole for Mercedes in Brazil

Lynette Rowe
November 11, 2018

Hamilton, crowned world champion for a fifth time two weeks ago, said on the eve of the Grand Prix in Brazil: "I am not going to be here if it gets to 25 races, that's for sure".

Sebastian Vettel was investigated by the stewards after being called on to the weighbridge scales, refusing to turn his engine off and breaking them! Vettel was frustrated by the decision to call him in to be weighed during a frantic Q2 and broke the equipment by driving away.

"As far as I was aware no driver behind me was on a quick lap", Hamilton said.

Sebastian Vettel will start from the front row at the Brazilian Grand Prix after only receiving a reprimand for a weird incident involving the FIA weigh bridge.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas has one pole and one podium finish from five starts in the sprawling and tumbling semi-bowl where a packed crowd generates a carnival mood. So, given Mercedes are guaranteed to win more races than Ferrari then the Silver Arrows need just 31 points to secure the title.

For Red Bull, they never expected to challenge for pole but they have been encouraged by their long-run pace this weekend so expect them to fight for a podium on Sunday.

The Sauber drivers excelled in the session and claimed seventh and eighth.

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Red Bull's Max Verstappen qualified fifth with Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo sixth but dropping five places for Sunday's race due to a penalty for having a turbocharger replaced.

Behind the early pacesetter, Ferrari pair Raikkonen and Vettel were like-for-like, both going 0.247s slower, while Hamilton was also narrowly behind.

Sirotkin had to react quickly, turning the wheel of his Williams sharply to the left before ending up on the grass. Sirotkin was on an out-lap at the time rather than a hot-lap and cleared Hamilton of any blame in the media pen immediately after the session.

"The stewards reviewed the video evidence from the on-board camera and pit lane CCTV, viewed team engine telemetry and heard from the driver of auto 5 (Sebastian Vettel) and team representative", a statement said. The Monaco native had been relegated into the drop zone after the first runs in Q2, with Kevin Magnussen edging to 10th position with a lap as light rain intensified slightly.

The incident occurred during the second part of qualifying when Vettel returned to the pits to switch tyre compounds. Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon joined him, along with Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Sirotkin.

The Mercedes pair could not make their tyres last at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with Hamilton finishing over a minute down on race victor Max Verstappen in fourth and Valtteri Bottas ending up a lap down.

With team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne last of all, the only vehicle Alonso could beat was the Williams of Lance Stroll.

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