Brazilian GP

Hamilton edges Rosberg for Brazilian pole

Qualifying started under overcast skies, with a threat of rain in the air which saw both the Mercedes drivers the first at the end of the pitlane. Manor and Haas also joined the Mercedes drivers at the end of the pitlane to start the first eighteen minute session of the afternoon.

Hamilton got blocked by a Toro Rosso, but it was good enough for a 1:11.5 and was actually faster than Rosberg on their first laps. Verstappen was their closest rival just under half a second away from the leading time, followed by Raikkonen and Ricciardo. In comparison to Williams, Force India struggled with their best being tenth with Nico Hulkenberg and both the Williams in the top ten. Grosjean was also impressive in ninth, with outgoing driver Gutierrez also struggling.

Jenson Button was another driver struggling, he was down in sixteenth and on the bubble to get through to the second part of qualifying. Those below him included Wehrlein, Ocon, Nasr, Ericsson and Magnussen, with Vettel who had yet to set a time in the Ferrari. His first lap put him just behind his teammate Raikkonen, pushing Button down to 17th.

On his second run at the end of the session, Button didn’t improve through a lock up. Nasr didnt improve either, staying 20th in the Sauber behind the McLaren, and swapped places with Ericsson. Magnussen improved to 18th and behind Button and out of the session along with the British driver. Perez went up to 10th and behind his teammate and the Williams driver.

Those out included Button, Magnussen, Ocon, Wehrlein, Ericsson and Nasr.

The rain had stayed away for the start of the second session, but once again the Mercedes drivers were the first on the road. Hamilton once again faster than Rosberg, but this time by just a tenth of a second with both of them on the soft compound tyres. Verstappen on his first lap was once again half a second behind the Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel splitting the two Red Bull drivers. Raikkonen had made a mistake on his first run, with Bottas and Massa split by Alonso. Raikkonen did enough to get in the top ten, and went sixth fastest on his second fast lap.

Force India were the last to go for a fast time as a team, good enough for ninth and tenth with Hulkenberg only slightly faster. Massa had been pushed down to 11th in the process. Palmer messed up his lap in the infield and was a couple of a seconds down in 12th, but ahead of the Toro Rosso drivers. The top drivers didn’t go out again, the last of which was Bottas in 7th.

Alonso improved and so did Massa who went up to 9th. Hulkenberg also improved to get ahead of the Brazilian along with Gutierrez and Perez which shuffled Massa down to 13th, with Bottas also getting pushed out by Romain Grosjean and the two Force India drivers. Alonso remained in the top ten in 7th.

Those out included Bottas, Gutierrez. Massa, Kvyat, Sainz and Palmer.

Q3 once again start with Mercedes leading the way, with Hamilton the first on the circuit followed by Championship leader Rosberg. Spots on rain were still visible on the camera lens of the Mercedes, but remained light in nature and blue sky was visible over the circuit. It was a 1:10.8 by Lewis Hamilton which ended up being a couple of tenths faster than his teammate.

Those behind the leading Mercedes were extremely close with Verstappen, Vettel, Ricciardo and Raikkonen all covered by just a tenth of a second. Alonso put in a good lap to be faster than Hulkenberg with Grosjean yet to set a lap.

Grosjean went out early compared to the rest of the field, out on the circuit on his own. It was a really good time from the Haas driver to go 7th, ahead of Alonso, Hulkenberg and Perez. Rosberg was a tad faster in the first sector, but it was Hamilton over the line first and improved to a 10.7. Rosberg missed out though by a tenth of a second, with Raikkonen getting ahead of Verstappen in third.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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