Hamilton on pole in Brazil, Vettel summoned to stewards

Mercedes team

Vettel's summons by the stewards was inevitable after he was called in for weighing at a critical point in the second phase just as the rain began to fall, making it crucial to get in an early timed lap.

Sebastian Vettel made light of his disappointment at missing out on beating Lewis Hamilton to a fifth world title on Friday with an unexpected message on Ferrari team radio.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer immediately referred Vettel to the Brazilian Grand Prix stewards, an action that the Ferrari driver qualified as "unfair". But assuming he can hold second by the end of the first lap, the race should quickly come to Vettel who will have the advantage of more durable tyres on a track where rear blistering is a serious concern.

The Sauber drivers excelled in the session and claimed seventh and eighth.

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.

Q2 also saw Hamilton and Sergey Sirotkin almost come together as the Mercedes tried to move off line late as Sirotkin approached at full speed despite being on an out lap. Hamilton had moved off the racing line as Sirotkin approached, but as he did so Sirotkin moved to the left as well, forcing the Russian into evasive action across the grass to avoid contact. No investigation into the incident had been launched at the time of writing.

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Magnussen was a surprise elimination from the session as Haas faltered in qualifying after being comfortably in the top ten throughout all three practice sessions.

Also dropping out were the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon - who will start from 18th due to a gearbox penalty - as well as Nico Hulkenberg and Sirotkin.

It will be the third time he has started at the front of the grid in Interlagos, where the threat of rain - one that failed to fully materialise - provided drama despite the title no longer being up for grabs at the penultimate race in 2018. His last-minute attempt was not enough to fight back and he finished 0.005s off a place in Q2.

Brendon Hartley was eliminated for Toro Rosso while teammate Gasly escaped the drop zone with his final lap.

With team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne last of all, the only vehicle Alonso could beat was the Williams of Lance Stroll.

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