Lewis Hamilton did all he could do to try and continue the fight for this year’s world championship crown by taking pole position here at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil on an overcast Saturday afternoon.
Hamilton finished the third and final ten minute session one tenth up on his German teammate, Nico Rosberg, who also gave everything he had in an attempt to take pole position and set himself up for what could be a championship winning race.
“It's been feeling great all weekend. Every session today I was up front and able to maintain that position, finding a little bit more each time I went out,” Hamilton said. “So, I'm really, really happy with it. I don't know how obvious it is watching at home but, with this being one of the shortest circuits on the calendar, it's somewhere that even the smallest margin can make a huge difference and it's usually close out there. It's a really tricky track to get right.”
“For example, all weekend my first sector times were quite good but then I never really got it together through there in qualifying. When you have such a short lap, getting your tyres ready for the first flying lap is often difficult, so you can go into the first three corners without them being fully up to temperature yet. It's quite bumpy in places and the middle sector puts a lot of heat through the tyres, so overall it's definitely a tough circuit. It's all about having a good balance of patience and not being too greedy in some places. I've felt strong in every aspect and in all conditions throughout this weekend, so I'll prepare the best way I can for tomorrow and see how it goes from there. I'm ready.”
Row two will consist of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, both men out qualifying their teammates with the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel P5 and Australian star Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.
Romain Grosjean qualified his Haas in seventh place ahead of the two Force India drivers, Nico Hulkenberg, who is in his penultimate race for the team and Sergio Perez while Fernando Alonso was true to his word yesterday and put his McLaren in tenth place.
Sadly for Felipe Massa, who had tremendous support from his home crowd, the top ten was just out of his reach and he will start his final home event from 13th on the grid.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:10.736
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 0.102
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari + 0.668
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull + 0.749
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 0.759
6.Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 0.804
7. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1.201
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 1.368
9. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1.429
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1.530
11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:12.430
12. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:12.431
13. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:12.521
14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:12.726
15. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:12.920
16. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:13.258
17. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:13.276
18. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:13.410
19. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:13.427
20. Esteban Ocon, Manor, 1:13.432
21. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:13.623
22. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:13.681