Hamilton secures crucial pole by 0.102s from Rosberg

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton secured the 60th pole position of his career by beating team-mate Nico Rosberg in a close fight at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton seized the initiative on the first runs in Q3, becoming the first driver to drop into the 1m10s this weekend as he led Rosberg, and then lowered his time on his final lap to a 1:10.736. Rosberg responded with the fastest first sector and a good middle sector, but eventually fell 0.102s short and will start from second place as he looks to win the drivers' championship at Interlagos.

Rosberg will be champion with victory, but a Hamilton win will ensure the championship will be decided at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Kimi Raikkonen produced an impressive final lap to take third on the grid ahead of Max Verstappen. It was a very close fight between Ferrari and Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel fight and Daniel Ricciardo sixth as all four cars were covered by 0.136s.

Romain Grosjean only completed one run in Q3 - and went early - but secured seventh place ahead of the Force India pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, with Fernando Alonso set to start from tenth place.

The home fans were left disappointed as Felipe Massa was a casualty of Q2, with the Brazilian dropping out in 13th place. Massa was joined by team-mate Valtteri Bottas who was bumped down to 11th by an impressive late lap from Grosjean, while Alonso delivered an excellent time to end the second session in seventh place.

Esteban Gutierrez split the two Williams drivers in twelfth, while Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer also dropped out in Q2.

Q1 started with a 70% risk of rain, leading to a number of cars looking to get in early laps in case conditions changed. The Mercedes pair set the pace immediately, with Hamilton benefitting from a tow from a Toro Rosso, but the rain held off which resulting in a busy end to the session for those under threat of dropping out.

Jenson Button was the biggest name to be eliminated - for the third time in four races in Q1 - as he locked up at Turn 1 on his final attempt and complained about the car’s handling. Kevin Magnussen also failed while team-mate Jolyon Palmer progressed despite being impeded by Felipe Nasr’s Sauber at Turn 4.

The two Saubers propped up the times, with Marcus Ericsson just ahead of Nasr, while the two Manors also dropped out as Pascal Wehrlein beat team-mate Esteban Ocon by just 0.005s. Ocon complained Wehrlein "blocked me massively”, on his final run, adding: “This is not cool”.

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Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.511 1:11.238 1:10.736
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.815 1:11.373 1:10.838
03 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.100 1:12.301 1:11.404
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.957 1:11.834 1:11.485
05 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.159 1:12.010 1:11.495
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12.409 1:12.047 1:11.540
07 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:12.893 1:12.343 1:11.937
08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:12.428 1:12.360 1:12.104
09 Sergio Perez Force India 1:12.684 1:12.331 1:12.165
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:12.700 1:12.312 1:12.266
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:12.680 1:12.420
12 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:13.052 1:12.431
13 Felipe Massa Williams 1:12.432 1:12.521
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.071 1:12.726
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:12.950 1:12.920
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:13.259 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