Lewis and Valtteri start the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo from P1 and P3 respectively
- The rain forecast for Saturday held off for the third free practice session in the morning.
- Lewis completed 15 laps over the 60-minute session, finishing second fastest with a time of 1:08.165 (SuperSoft). He was two tenths adrift of the best time set by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.
- Valtteri posted 23 laps on the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. His fastest lap of 1:08.465 minutes on the SuperSoft tyres put him third on the leader board.
- Qualifying began with dark clouds on the horizon, but the rain that came in Q2 was relatively light.
- Despite the wet track, Lewis and Valtteri made it through to Q3 without any problems. Both set their fastest time in Q2 on the SuperSoft tyres, which they will also start the race with on Sunday.
- Lewis secured pole position on the Pirelli SuperSofts in a time of 1:07:28 minutes.
- Valtteri qualified third with a time of 1:07.441 minutes (SuperSoft).
- For Lewis, it was the tenth pole position of the season, his third at the Jose Carlo Pace and the 100th for Mercedes in F1.
What Did We Learn?
"It is always tight at the top in Interlagos, with a short lap and qualifying decided by the smallest of margins every year," said Technical Director James Allison.
"The pressure is always on here and all the more so in a session that threatened rain throughout and, although it never quite materialised, that spectre affected our decisions throughout the hour."
"The most tense moment was probably at the beginning of Q2, as we had to decide whether to take the risk of a single run on the Soft tyre or to go out on the SuperSoft; in the end, we went for the safer strategy and hats off to Ferrari for the punt they took which paid off."
"Nonetheless, we are delighted to have one of our cars on pole with Lewis and Valtteri just shy of making it an all-silver front row."
"However, starting on the softer compound tomorrow could be an advantage at a circuit that offers opportunities to pass at the start."
"We will hope to make strong starts with both cars and then to look after the tyres in order to try and convert our strong qualifying result into victory."
What We’re Saying
"We should be very pleased with pole position and P3 after such a close qualifying today," said Toto.
"The battle with Ferrari is so tough, it's like a boxing match - every time you land a punch, they come back with another, and we have to keep fighting for every result."
"It felt that way through every part of qualifying today and on every lap, you could never be sure if we had enough performance to claim pole."
"Lewis did a great job as the only driver to improve on his final run in Q3 - while Valtteri lost out as the first car on the road and not having a tow up the hill, having been on a great lap until the final straight."
"Now the race might be a different game: Ferrari took the gamble in Q2 on the Soft tyre and it paid off, so it will be an interesting opening stint."
"If we want to win tomorrow, we will have to fight for it every step of the way."
"It was so close between us, we needed 100 percent today, not 99," said Lewis.
"I was really happy with my lap and I think that we did a great job collectively as a team to get pole today. We had to do a lot of work overnight and the team was faultless with their efforts."
"I was really happy after my first lap, I immediately knew that we were off to a good start. The track felt good, the grip was amazing and it felt better than ever."
"It's a fantastic circuit, they generally don't make circuits like this anymore - it's quite hilly, quite short, very technical and overall very challenging."
"The rain was popping in every now and then, so it was difficult to really tell whether it was going to be slippery in the next corner or not."
"That was definitely tricky, but I think all of us did quite a good job and luckily the rain held off, so we could push at the end."
"With the pace I had all weekend it felt like I would fight for pole position, so to end up P3 with a Ferrari between Lewis and me is a bit disappointing", said Valtteri.
"I think pole was up for grabs today. I was more than two tenths up in the second run of Q3, but I lost a bit of time in Turn 12 and I was the first car going up the back straight, so I had no tow and just kept losing time going up the hill towards the finish line."
"But it was an overall strong qualifying for us as a team and another great pole for Lewis. We will both start on a softer tyre than Vettel, so that could make the start tomorrow quite interesting."
"Let's wait and see what the race holds for us."