24 November 2012
Hamilton chases perfect farewell
Lewis Hamilton aims to end his McLaren career with victory in Brazil after taking top spot in qualifying
Lewis Hamilton says he is hopeful of providing McLaren with the 'perfect farewell' after snaring pole position for the final round of the 2012 season in Brazil.
The McLaren driver had topped the times in both Friday practice sessions ahead of his final race for the team and then emerged as the pace-setter in qualifying, held on a rapidly drying circuit after a rain shower shortly before the start.
Team-mate Jenson Button will start second, only a fraction of a second behind on the timesheets.
With no pressure on in the title race, Hamilton said he was eager to try and end the season on a high but admitted that the possibility of rain for the race could make conditions tough.
“Pole! What a great feeling!” he said. “It's been a fantastic weekend so far. We don't yet know for certain what the weather conditions will be like tomorrow, but I hope that both Jenson and I will be able to push for victory.
“I've usually started from fourth grid position at Interlagos, and it hasn't always given me much success. Before qualifying, I told Martin [Whitmarsh] that I really didn't want to start fourth this time. All in all, I'm very proud and happy that I got pole.
“Jenson and I are in the best possible starting positions for tomorrow. However, if it's wet, the lead car is the always the first to aquaplane or hit the puddles, so, even if we both get good starts, we'll still need to be cautious. Equally, however, I don't want to drop back at the start because it would then be very difficult to see in all the spray.
“We haven't had a one-two in a race for quite a long time, so it would be a great positive for the team if we could achieve it tomorrow. It would be my perfect farewell, in fact.”
McLaren secured a new F1 record during the session with its 62nd front-row lock-out and team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was hopeful that his drivers could now build on their performance on race day.
“On a track that was slippery when wet at the start of qualifying and then dried out in bright sunshine as the session progressed, Lewis and Jenson both drove superbly, managing the changing conditions with consummate expertise and then nailing super-fast laps in Q3 to line up first and second for tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix,” he said. “They ended up just 0.055s apart, demonstrably the class of the field.
“Rain is forecast for tomorrow, and, as we all know, inclement weather always makes the outcome of any motor race that bit harder to predict. But we're now extremely well set, and, come rain or shine, we're delighted that our drivers will both be starting from the very front of the grid.
“Moreover, Lewis and Jenson are both extremely combative and canny racers, outstandingly adept in the wet, and they're both therefore eminently capable driving to victory tomorrow. We clearly have an extremely quick car, and our long-run performance yesterday would suggest that our race pace is competitive too.”
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