F1 Brazil: Bottas Snatches Pole from Vettel as Hamilton Hits Barrier

Credit: Wolfgang Wilhelm

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team‘s Valtteri Bottas captured his third pole position of his career at the Brazilian Grand Prix, snatching it away from Sebastian Vettel, but Lewis Hamilton created the main highlight for his error that ended his qualifying session early.

The newly crowned world champion slammed into the barrier due to an error in the first session, which put him out on the sidelines for the rest of the session, and as a result Hamilton will start last on the grid for the race on Sunday.

Bottas placed a brilliant lap to secure pole ahead of both Scuderia Ferrari‘s, with Vettel starting second despite setting the fastest time early on in Q3. Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will start in third for the race.

Red Bull Racing claimed fourth and fifth with Max Verstappen managing to out-qualify Daniel Ricciardo, although the latter will take a ten place grid penalty for additional power unit elements.

Sahara Force India F1 Team‘s Sergio Perez was the best of the rest in sixth, just ahead of McLaren Honda F1 Team‘s Fernando Alonso, who will be satisfied with his qualifying runs.

The Renault Sport F1 Team‘s followed up with Nico Hülkenberg in eighth ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., with the Spaniard ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa, who concluded the top ten in his final home race for Williams Martini Racing.

Before Qualifying commenced, a few drivers have grid penalties to contend with ahead of the race. WilliamsLance Stroll will be demoted five places for a gearbox change, with Ricciardo losing ten places, whilst the Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley also suffer grid drops – ten for Hartley and twenty five places for Gasly.

The first session got underway with Sauber F1 Team‘s Pascal Wehrlein leaving the track first, following the two Mercedes’ of Bottas and Hamilton. But Hamilton’s opening lap ended in disaster when he made a mistake going into Ferradura, carrying too much speed which saw him lose the rear end of his Mercedes and spin into the barrier. The red flag came out as the marshals clear the damaged W08.

The session soon restarted with a queue of cars waiting to go out and set their lap times. Hülkenberg set the initial pace before being beaten quickly by Esteban Ocon and Bottas on the Supersoft tyres.

Max Verstappen was the first driver to broke into the 1:09’s with the fastest time of the session before Vettel beat him with a 1:09.796s on the soft compound tyre.

Kimi Raikkonen ended the first session with the fastest time on the soft compound tyre. The drivers eliminated from the first session were Hamilton, Marcus Ericsson, Stroll, Gasly and Wehrlein.

The second qualifying session and the quest for the final ten places began with Valtteri Bottas first to take the track. Daniel Ricciardo started the session on the Soft tyre, with the anticipation of the grid penalties he’ll have to take for the race.

Bottas set the initial pace and set a new track record, breaking into the 1:08’s for the first time on the Supersoft tyres. Drivers early in the session reporting in light drizzle in the pit straight, but not enough to create a concern over a possible shower.

The session ended with Vettel, who beat Bottas’ time and set a new track record with a 1:08.494s, while Alonso created perhaps the biggest surprise of the session with the sixth fastest time of the session, earning a place in Q3.

The driver failed to make it into the final shoot-out session were Hartley, who didn’t set a time and used the session to do some practice starts, Haas F1 Team duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, Stoffel Vandoorne and Ocon.

The Final shoot-out for pole position kicked off with Bottas first out on track to kick off proceedings. With Hamilton out of the equation, the hunt for pole position opened up to an exciting conclusion for the days running.

Bottas set the first lap and broke Vettel’s track record set in Q2, with 1:08.442s but Vettel quickly stole the top spot back with an impressive lap, setting a 1:08.360s to take provisional pole.

With a few minutes remain, drivers began to head out onto the track in a final bid to improve their positions and a race against time as reports over spots of rain hitting the track.

Vettel couldn’t find a way to improve his lap time but Bottas put in a stunning lap to improve his time and more importantly, secures pole position at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. Vettel settled for second with his team-mate Raikkonen starting in third.

177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:08.322
25Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:08.360
37Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:08.538
433Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:08.925
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:09.330
611Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:09.598
714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:09.617
827Nico HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team1:09.703
955Carlos Sainz JrRenault Sport Formula One Team1:09.805
1019Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing1:09.841
1131Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 TeamQ2: 1:09.830
128Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:09.879
132Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:10.116
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 Team1:10.154
1528Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro RossoNo Time
1694Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 TeamQ1: 1:10.678
1710Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso1:10.686
1818Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:10.776
199Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team1:10.875
2044Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One TeamNo Time