December 14, 2018

Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying report

11 November 2018, 01:19 | Pamela Mathis

Formula 1: Ferrari facing elimination in 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

Sainz wouldn't rule out Hamilton driving for Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton will start the first race of his championship parade from pole position after he avoided sanction for a near-miss during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

"It is about how we're managing the tyres, we know we've made mistakes and we hope not to repeat them".

Mercedes, having taken pole here for the last four years, gave a reminder of their one-lap pace as Bottas returned to the top of the timesheet, having led the way in Friday's FP2, finishing ahead of Ferrari's Vettel in a familiar second.

Max Verstappen, victor of the Mexican Grand Prix two weeks ago, was fifth ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Renault-bound Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, and his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean.

"I went to the factory and had a meeting about it - it's been really interesting to see how we've been able to track those issues". "My last lap wasn't that good, to be honest".

Sebastian Vettel ended in second place, just 0.093s behind his rival, but faces the possibility of a grid penalty after being called before the stewards.

While Hamilton isn't confident the work undertaken after Mexico will instantly eradicate Mercedes' problems, he reckoned it could be crucial for 2019. So it's up to us to find a fix for it and make sure it doesn't happen again, but it's not so simple to find and fix it as it sounds.

Much therefore will depend upon the level of motivation that drives Hamilton in Sunday's race when he and Bottas, who grabbed pole previous year, carry the bonus hopes of the team in their hands.

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Ericsson has been dropped by Sauber for next season and is to race in Indycars in the United States, although he will remain the team's reserve driver. Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen qualified fourth.

Fernando Alonso's F1 career continues to fade out with a fizzle, McLaren having the slowest auto in Brazil and the Spaniard able to put it only 18th.

Asked, ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix if there were plans to "return the favour", Hamilton said: "The team are not going to make that call". Lance Stroll was 19th, with the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne either side of him and set for another hard race from the back end of the grid. Obviously Ferrari are incredibly quick this weekend.

"We have done a lot of work to make sure the auto is in the best way we could".

"The Stewards first considered whether there was a breach of Article 29.1.a.i".

Vettel set his Q2 time on soft tyres, with Hamilton using supersofts, giving the Ferrari man an advantage on the opening stints in Sunday's race.

Hamilton and Vettel provided the main talking points of the session, with the former fortunate to escape the immediate attention of the stewards after almost colliding with the Williams of Russian Sergey Sirotkin in the second phase.

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