Hamilton prevails qualifying showdown 

By on Saturday, November 12, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Lewis Hamilton continued his scintillating form with a hard-fought pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos as Mercedes eclipsed the all-time record for pole positions in a single season.

Hamilton topped all three qualifying sessions and clocked a 1:10.736 to grab pole, with team-mate and championship leader Rosberg, who can clinch the title with victory on Sunday, just a tenth adrift.

Mercedes were in a league of their own, with the forecast rain failing to materialise and their nearest challenger Kimi Raikkonen nearly seven tenths adrift.

It was nonetheless an impressive lap from the Finn as he out-paced Red Bull's Max Verstappen, team-mate Sebastian Vettel, whose participation in qualifying had been threatened by brake issues, and Daniel Ricciardo.

Romain Grosjean was arguably the star of qualifying as he took seventh ahead of Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, while Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten after impressively making the shoot-out.

There was a significant blow for Williams in their Constructors' Championship duel with Force India as both Valtteri Bottas and home favourite Felipe Massa were knocked out in Q2. They will line-up 11th and 13th for Sunday's race, separated by the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez.

Daniil Kvyat edged out Carlos Sainz but was forced to settle for 14th, while the newly-resigned Jolyon Palmer could only manage P16 after an error-strewn lap in the closing stages of Q2.

Jenson Button, unhappy with the handling of his McLaren car, crashed out in Q1 and will start 17th ahead of the Haas-bound Kevin Magnussen.

Pascal Wehrlein got the better of Esteban Ocon in the intra-team battle at Manor, with the Mercedes prodigies taking 19th and 20th respectively, only a couple of tenths shy of the time they needed to make Q2.

It was another miserable afternoon for Sauber as Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr locked-out the back row, though the Swede will take some consolation from the fact that he has now out-qualified his team-mate at the last six events.


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