Lewis Hamilton claims provisional pole for Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas
- Lewis Hamilton faces possible call to stewards for a potentially dangerous error
- Hamilton’s error was on the very piece of tarmac that helped define his life
- The Brit did not see Sergey Sirotkin coming from behind on a flying lap
- World champion tried to veer off the racing line but he was too slow in doing so
Lewis Hamilton took provisional pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix but was facing a possible call to the stewards for a potentially dangerous error on the very piece of tarmac that helped define his life.
It was at the final corner – on the final lap of the season’s final race of the 2008 season – that the Briton unforgettably passed Timo Glock’s Toyota in the rain to snatch his first world title.
And here on Saturday, with drizzle falling, Hamilton’s concentration lapsed. He did not see Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin coming from behind on a flying lap. The world champion, on a warm-up lap, tried to veer off the racing line but he was too slow in doing so.
Lewis Hamilton will start on pole in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix after setting the fastest lap
Hamilton’s delayed evasive action caused Sirotkin to veer on to the grass to avoid a smash at 150mph. But the newly crowned five-time world champion was not the only driver to have his collar felt. His vanquished title rival Sebastian Vettel, who was the second quickest qualifier, 0.093sec behind Hamilton, was also called to the stewards for breaking the weighing scales.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said: ‘Vettel called for weighing, refused to turn off the engine. The car was pushed on to the scales and weighed with the engine running, which makes it difficult to get a stable result. After weighing he drove off the scales under the car’s own power, and by doing so, he destroyed the scales.
‘As the driver was not following the instructions and further compromised the continuation of the weighing procedure, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.’
Reruns showed Vettel agitatedly waving his arms in his cockpit during the weighing procedure. He knocked over a cone.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest.
More misery at McLaren. It was on this fabulous track that Fernando Alonso won the second of his world titles, beating Michael Schumacher in the last race of the great German’s proper career back in 2006. In contrast Alonso was only 18th fastest of 20 runners here on Saturday, 12 years and no more world championships later.
Alonso is retiring at the end of the season and it is with a whimper that his own career is fizzling out.
His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was slowest. The uselessness of McLaren is a recurring theme and it continues to tarnish the heritage of a once-great team.