Valtteri Bottas left it late to secure the third pole position of his Formual 1 career during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday, edging out Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after seeing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crash out early in Q1.

Despite being the favourite for pole after leading two of the three practice sessions at Interlagos, Hamilton saw his hopes come to an early end after crashing out on his first lap in Q1, slamming into the barrier at Turn 6.

Hamilton's car was left with extensive damage, resulting in the session being put under a red flag while it was recovered, with the Briton poised to line up on the last row of the grid on Sunday after the error.

With Hamilton out of the picture, it was left to Vettel and Bottas to duel for top honours in Q3, with the advantage swinging back and forth across the course of the fianl session.

Vettel edged out Bottas by 0.082 seconds with his initial Q3 lap, with light rain before the final runs threatening to prevent any improvements.

Vettel was unable to find any more time on his lap, leaving the door open for Bottas to improve and snatch pole away with a lap of 1:08.322, going 0.038 seconds faster than his rival for P2 in the drivers' championship.

The result marked the third pole of Bottas' F1 career, with the previous two coming in Russia and Austria earlier this year for Mercedes.

Ferrari was left to settle for P2 and P3 on the grid with Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen was some four-tenths of a second shy in fourth ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, the latter being subject to a 10-place grid drop.

Sergio Perez was able to charge to P6 for Force India, edging out McLaren's Fernando Alonso who continued to outstrip the performance of his Honda power unit.

Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. took P8 and P9 respectively for Renault, while Felipe Massa qualified 10th for his final grand prix on home soil in the lead Williams F1 car.

Esteban Ocon was a surprise drop-out in Q2 after struggling on his final flying lap, qualifying 11th for Force India ahead of Romain Grosjean and Stoffel Vandoorne. Kevin Magnussen wound up 14th in the second Haas, with Hartley opting not to set a time in 15th due to his 10-place grid penalty.

A late lap from Hartley in Q1 had ensured his progress to the second stage of qualifying at the expense of Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein, who finished half a tenth shy of his first advancement since Baku in P16.

Teammate Marcus Ericsson struggled to 19th, with the pair being split by Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll, the latter being fortunate to qualify at all after an issue on his car in practice.

Hamilton will start P20 on Sunday despite grid penalties for Hartley and Gasly, having technically failed to qualify and requiring dispensation from the stewards to enter the race.



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