Hamilton on pole with title rivals off the front row

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Interlagos, 2012Lewis Hamilton heads a McLaren lock-out of the front row on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix as he prepares to start his final race for the team.

The championship contenders start outside of the top three places with Sebastian Vettel fourth and Fernando Alonso eighth at the end of Q3.

Q1

A rain shower fell at the track ahead of qualifying but stopped before Q1 started. Caterham, Marussia and HRT sent their drivers out immediately and Timo Glock caught Heikki Kovalainen during his first flying lap, leading to a bit of position-swapping between the two.

The front-runners hedged their bets, waiting until the track had dried more before leaving the pits. When they did Hamilton quickly moved to the top of the times and stayed there, but Bruno Senna’s Williams separated the two McLarens at the top of the times.

Vettel cut it fine and was still in 21st place with four minutes to go before getting into the top ten.

Romain Grosjean’s session was ruined when he tried to overtake Pedro de la Rosa on the inside heading towards the start/finish line. The HRT driver appeared not to have seen the Lotus appearing on the left and the pair made contact.

Grosjean suffered damage to his front wing and after crawling back to the pits had one lap left to move up from 19th and gain a place in Q2. He failed to do so, and was eliminated along with the six drivers who had started the session immediately.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.967
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.073
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’17.086
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.508
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’18.104
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.576
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’19.699

Q2

Conditions remained stable as Q2 began. All the drivers took to the track straight away except for the McLaren and Red Bull pairs, who sat tight until there was five minutes remaining.

Fernando Alonso led the times initially but Hamilton, using medium compound tyres, beat it comfortably with a 1’13.398.

Vettel found almost two-tenths of a second to beat Hamilton with a 1’13.209 but he was aided, ironically enough, by Felipe Massa, whose Ferrari inadvertently gave him a tow heading towards the start/finish line.

The two Ferrari drivers only just made it into Q3, ending the session in ninth and tenth. But Michael Schumacher couldn’t make it into the top ten with his last effort, saying he made a small mistake at turn one, and qualified 14th for his final Grand Prix.

Pastor Maldonado made it into the top ten but was observed to have driven past a red light indicating he should pull into the weigh bridge during the session.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’14.121
12 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’14.219
13 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.234
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’14.334
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.380
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.574
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.619

Q3

Nico Rosberg was the first driver out on track during Q3. He kicked off the final ten minutes with a steady lap, and although he later improved he ended up in tenth.

The battle for pole position was contested by McLaren and Red Bull but it was Mark Webber, not Sebastian Vettel, who got closest to the silver cars. He took provisional pole position with his final run, producing a lap of 1’12.581.

Both the McLaren drivers beat that with their last efforts, though there wasn’t much in it. Hamilton’s last run was a tenth of a second faster than Webber’s, and Button split the pair of them.

Vettel locked a wheel at turn four on his first lap, which left him behind Alonso initially. But his second run was better, and lifted him to fourth place.

Behind him came one of the Ferraris, but for the second race in a row it was Massa, not Alonso, who produced the quickest time. Alonso could only manage eighth, Maldonado and Hulkenberg separating him from his team mate, with Raikkonen ninth.

With Massa provisionally ahead of Alonso on the grid questions inevitably followed whether Ferrari would choose to incur a gearbox penalty on his car. Team principal Stefano Domenicali told Sky immediately after qualifying they would not.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.458
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.513
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’12.581
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’12.760
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’12.987
6 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’13.174
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’13.206
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’13.253
9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’13.298
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.489

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Promoted content from around the web | Become an F1 Fanatic Supporter to hide this ad and others

Advert | Go Ad-free

113 comments on Hamilton on pole with title rivals off the front row

  1. Bosley (@) said on 24th November 2012, 21:07

    It’d be good to see how the Mclarens perform tomorrow, since Lewis leads Jensen by only 10 points over their tally for their 3 year partnership.

  2. Jason (@jason12) said on 24th November 2012, 22:29

    Guess it’s fair to say the two have been neck and neck throughout the partnership :D

  3. Vettel2 said on 24th November 2012, 23:18

    So after all this big talk of Massa taking out Vettel in turn 1, sadly to say Vettel will just simply jump Webber at the start and maybe Jenson Button as well.

    • SafirXP (@) said on 25th November 2012, 2:03

      Likely but those Ferraris are like dragsters. I’d be surprised if Seb’s ahead of Felipe at turn one. Other than the McLarens, the Hulkster & Felipe hold the key to the race & WDC. When it comes to rain, Lewis & Seb are both up there with Schumi! Can’t wait, gonna be an awesome race! I went through a whole pack of smokes last race. Guess it’ll be two packs this race! :)

    • infy (@infy) said on 25th November 2012, 2:27

      If Massa does crash into Seb, he will undoubtedly be accused of doing it on purpose, even though his personality shows he would never do it.

      Personally I’d be more worried about Vettel crashing into Alonso. Vettel is very hard to read.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.

Skip to toolbar