Lewis Hamilton claims pole position for Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas
- Lewis Hamilton is in the driving seat for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday
- Hamilton narrowly avoided 150mph crash on the tarmac that helped define him
- The Brit did not see Sergey Sirotkin coming from behind on a flying lap
- World champion tried to veer off the racing line but he was too slow in doing so
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix after narrowly escaping a 150mph crash on the very piece of tarmac that helped define his life.
It was at the final corner – on the final lap of the season’s final race of the 2008 season – that the Briton unforgettably passed Timo Glock’s Toyota in the rain to snatch his first world title.
And here on Saturday, with drizzle falling, Hamilton was caught unaware. He did not see Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin coming from behind fast despite also being on a warm-up lap. The world champion, going slowly, took evasive action, but by turning left he caused Sirotkin to veer on to the grass to avoid a collision.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position on Saturday after setting the fastest qualifying lap
The five-time world champion celebrates claiming pole at the Brazilian Grand Prix
‘He wasn’t on a flying lap so I don’t know what his thinking was,’ said Hamilton. ‘It was strange and completely unnecessary. We all know to keep a gap.’
Hamilton’s recently vanquished title rival Sebastian Vettel, who was the second quickest qualifier, 0.093sec off the pace, was called to the stewards for breaking the weighing scales.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said: ‘When called in for weighing in Q2, Vettel refused to turn off the engine. The car was pushed on to the scales and weighed with the engine running, which makes it difficult to get a stable result. After weighing he drove off the scales under the car’s own power, and by doing so, he destroyed the scales.
‘As the driver was not following the instructions and further compromised the continuation of the weighing procedure, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.’
Hamilton (left) caused Sergey Sirotkin (right) to veer onto the grass to avoid smash at 150mph
Hamilton’s vanquished title rival Sebastian Vettel was second while Valtteri Bottas came third
Reruns showed Vettel agitatedly waving his arms in his cockpit during the weighing procedure. He knocked over a cone.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest.
More misery at McLaren. It was on this fabulous track that Fernando Alonso won the second of his world titles, beating Michael Schumacher in the last race of the great German’s proper career, back in 2006. In contrast Alonso was only 18th fastest of 20 runners here on Saturday, 12 years and no more world championships later.
Alonso is retiring at the end of the season and it is with a whimper that his own career is fizzling out.
His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was slowest. The uselessness of McLaren is a recurring theme and it continues to tarnish the heritage of a once-great team.
German Ferrari driver Vettel was called to the stewards for breaking the weighing scales