By Jessica Borrell

  • Brazilian GP qualifying review
  • Penultimate race of 2015 season
  • Head-to-heads in qualifying to be decided

Interlagos, Brazil – This track holds so many memories, it is etched with racing history and birthplace to every driver’s idol Ayrton Senna. Although no champion will be crowned here this year, inter-team battles will be decided and the build up for tomorrows Brazilian Grand Prix has set the scene for yet another classic battle.

Heading in to this weekend all focus was on Lewis Hamilton, but not for the reasons you would think. A mysterious crash Hamilton was involved in late Tuesday night led to the 2015 champion to arrive at the racetrack later than scheduled. The combination of continual scrutiny from the media over his jet set lifestyle and the fact that his teammate Nico Rosberg has achieved pole position in the last four races, it could be understood if you take your mind off the wheel, only momentarily.

Fernando Alonso couldn’t achieve a lap time in the final practice 3 or qualifying so will have to appeal to the kindness of race control to allow him to race. Alonso said on joining McLaren after leaving the Scuderia, “do not judge me” on the first few races for the Woking outfit, but with only one race left this season, you can imagine he may be regretting his reunion with Honda.

Q1 didn’t hold any surprises in terms of winners and losers, Hamilton and Rosberg leading the pack with lap times of 1:11:600 and both Manor Marussia and McLaren’s out.

Alongside those pairings were the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado and the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. The most action from the first round of qualifying came from Ericsson’s teammate Felipe Nasr. The Brazilian in front of his home crowd for the first time obstructed his fellow native Felipe Massa whilst on a hot lap. Nasr himself wasn’t setting a time but forced Massa onto the runoff potentially ending Massa’s qualifying. The William’s managed to get into the top 10 on his final hot lap but it won’t be the last Nasr will hear of the incident, with a possible penalty heading his way.

Q1 out: Alonso, Stevens, Rossi, Button, Maldonado

Interlagos is renowned for it’s bumpy track surface, and this year with the addition of higher kerbs there have been plenty of slow-mo spins for fans to enjoy. The new racing line led to a few slides for the likes of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean, who spun off the track and ruined his chances of getting in to the top 10, leaving him to start the race from 15th place.

The Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel managed to split the two Mercedes getting within two tenth of Hamilton’s time showing a first glimmer of real competition for the silver arrows.

Massa was once again caught up in traffic left waiting to find out if his lap was good enough to get in to P3. He has the likes of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez to thank for not being able to better their times.

Q2 out: Grosjean, Ericsson, Perez, Sainz, Nasr

The “Senna S” has been the downfall for many driver’s when trying to set a lap time and Hamilton and Vettel both suffered from poor middle sectors on their first run in the quest for pole in Q3.

Rosberg has been able to defy recent history by being able to set a pole lap at the first time of trying. This time he rubbed further salt into the wounds of Hamilton by gaining even more time on his teammate whilst gaining his fifth pole in a row, six in total this season.

It was announced this week by Team Principal Christian Horner that both Red Bull and Torro Rosso will be racing next year, albeit with different engine packages to eachother. With the comfort of knowing they will be on track next year and having used some engine tokens on trying to stablise the unreliable engine from Renault, Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were showed slight progress after a dismal race last week in Mexico. Ricciardo has been handed a 10-place grid penalty for having a new engine so will start for p19 excluding any other penalties.

A shout out has to be given to the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg after out qualifying his teammate Perez for the first time since Sochi for 6th Place.

Q3 result: 1) Rosberg, 1:11.282, 2) Hamilton 1:11.360, 3) Vettel 1:11.804, 4) Bottas 1:12.085, 5) Raikkonen 1:12.144, 6) Hulkenberg 1:12. 265, 7) Kvyat 1:12.322, 8) Massa 1:12:415, 9) Ricciardo 1:12.417, 10) Verstappen 1:12.739

Main Image Credit: Lars Baron/Getty

 

The Brazilian Grand Prix will start at 4pm and is live on Sky Sports F1 and the BBC.

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