Hamil­ton tops Vet­tel to get pole po­si­tion at Brazil­ian GP

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - SPORT -

Lewis Hamil­ton said this week his hunger for more For­mula One glory will not stop at his fifth world cham­pi­onship. He's prov­ing it at the Brazil­ian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver clocked the lap record at In­ter­la­gos in qual­i­fy­ing to earn pole po­si­tion for the 10th time in 20 races this year. His per­for­mance boosts his team's chances of beat­ing Fer­rari for the con­struc­tors' cham­pi­onship, too.

Hamil­ton achieved his 82nd pole po­si­tion in a record 1 minute, 7.281 sec­onds, edg­ing Fer­rari's Se­bas­tian Vet­tel by 0.093 sec­onds.

Valt­teri Bot­tas of Mercedes was third, only 0.160 sec­onds be­hind his team­mate, and his coun­try­man Kimi Raikko­nen of Fer­rari was fourth.

Mercedes leads Fer­rari in the con­struc­tors' cham­pi­onship by 55 points. Hamil­ton's pole was the 100th for the team.

The Brazil­ian race is the penul­ti­mate GP of the sea­son, with Abu Dhabi clos­ing it on Novem­ber 25.

Af­ter con­firm­ing his pole po­si­tion, Hamil­ton cel­e­brated with lo­cal fans by punch­ing the air and show­ing the back of his hel­met. It has the same col­ors as the one used by his boyhood hero and three-time world cham­pion Ayr­ton Senna.

"I'm re­ally happy to be in Brazil," a re­laxed Hamil­ton said. "I ap­pre­ci­ate the love I get here."

Stands at In­ter­la­gos are ex­pected to be filled on Sun­day, mostly cheer­ing for Hamil­ton, de­spite the fact there will be no Brazil­ian driver on the grid for the first time since 1970.

Vet­tel, who led the last prac­tice yes­ter­day, did not sound frus­trated af­ter los­ing the pole for the race he won last year.

"It was good fun," the four­time world cham­pion said. "It was very close (to get the pole) but just a bit too much."

Red Bull's Max Ver­stap­pen, who won the Mex­i­can GP two weeks ago, was fifth, and team­mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo sixth.

Ric­cia­rdo, how­ever, will start five po­si­tions be­hind be­cause of a penalty af­ter his team had to re­place his tur­bocharger for the sixth time this sea­son.

The Aus­tralian driver, who was on pole in Mex­ico, also started from the back in Italy and Rus­sia be­cause of penal­ties.

Fer­nando Alonso, who won both of his world cham­pi­onships in Brazil and will re­tire at the end of the sea­son, qual­i­fied 18th.

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