There was not one, but two headlines for the penultimate qualifying session of the season taking place at the legendary Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, one was that Mercedes Driver Valtteri Bottas took his first pole since Austria, and the other was that his teammate and newly crowned champion, Lewis Hamilton crashed out of Qualifying in the first few minutes of the first session.
The new four time champion lost the rear of the car on his first flying lap in the qualifying session at turn six, and his Mercedes plowed heavily into the barrier. He unsurprisingly finished last in that session however will get promoted slightly unless he gets any penalties following the crash.
Meanwhile his teammate Valtteri Bottas was just able to nick pole from Sebastian Vettel right at the death of Q3 with Kimi Raikkonen ending up third ahead of the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo. Ricciardo will start further down the grid tomorrow as he has incurred a 10 place engine penalty.
Best of the rest was Sergio Perez who beat Fernando Alonso to sixth ahead of the Renaults of Hulkenberg and Sainz with Home favourite Felipe Massa rounding out the top ten.
Esteban Ocon was a shock exit in Q2, qualifying eleventh, but will be promoted into the top ten following Ricciardo’s penalty. Romain Grosjean qualified twelfth just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and teammate Magnussen. Brendon Hartley just made it into Q2, but elected not to set a time in Q2 due to a 10 place penalty he has for the race.
Despite Hamilton’s accident in Q1, the rest of those eliminated in Q1 semmed normal. Wehrlein sealed the inter-team qualifying battle over Marcus Ericsson by qualifying 16th whereas the Swede could only manage 19th, the slowest in the session. Sandwiched between them were the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, who, like his teammate, has a penalty, but his is worth 25 place to Hartley’s 10, and Lance Stroll of Williams.
The 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix gets underway at 16:00UTC on Sunday.