Hamilton Takes 60th Career Pole In Brazil

Lewis Hamilton proved Saturday afternoon that he is still in the hunt for the formula one world championship by taking his 60th career pole with a 1:10:736 fastest time in the final minutes for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Brazil at Interlagos. Current series leader Nico Rosberg was second, and Kimi Raikkonen took third in an impressive drive for Ferrari.

Hamilton had currently taken a 1:10:860 best lap time in the first four minutes of the final qualifying session. But with only a few minutes left, the world champion bested his time and took pole by just one tenth of a second over runner up Rosberg.

“It’s been feeling great all weekend.” Said Hamilton to ESPN F1. “Every session today I was up front and able to maintain that position, finding a little bit more each time I went out. 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.”

Hamilton himself had dominated the first two sessions, and was never in threat to try and win the pole on Sunday to take the fight to the final round in Abu Dhabi an opportunity. Hamilton is hoping to overtake Rosberg at the last second and win his fourth world championship. However, if Rosberg wins this weekend, then he will take his maiden title that will equal his father, Keke Rosberg, who won it in 1982.

One of the biggest disappointments was Jenson Button, who only clock a 1:13:276 in the opening round, which eliminated him from moving on. Button will start from the 17th position.

Both Williams Martini drivers, Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa, driving his final grand prix at his home track, were disappointing in the second session, both being taken out of the running, along with Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez, the Toro Rosso pair of Dani Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr., and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. The big upset was from Gutierrez’s Haas teammate, Frenchman Roman Grosjean, who with new and improved brakes, moved on to the final ten grid positons.

“It’s good to be back in Q3”, Grosjean said afterwards. “Especially after the last two races where we were out in Q1 and really struggling. Here we’ve been trying some new brakes, focusing on making them work as well as we could. The feeling was good right from the beginning and the cooler track conditions today really helped us a lot. There are still plenty of margins to improve for the future. We’re always learning more about what we need to do, but we really weren’t expecting to be in Q3 today. Generally though, when we do get things working well together, we’re quite fast, which is encouraging.”

Max Vertsappen took fourth as the top of the rest, while Sebastian Vettel could only manage fifth in the other Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo was disappointing in the other Red Bull, taking sixth, while Grosjean finished seventh for Haas, his best in quite a while. The Force India pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were next in eighth and ninth, respectively, and Fernando Alonso rounded up the top ten in his McLaren-Honda.

Hamilton was very pleased with his performance. But rain is in the forcast for race day, and Hamilton, who is very good in this element, feels that he has nothing to lose.

“It’s all about having a good balance of patience and not being too greedy in some places.” He continued. “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.”

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