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Qualifying highlights - Brazil 2014 - Skies remain clear as the grid is decided at Interlagos

Published by Christine

Maldonado finds the limit on Saturday
Credit: Steven Tee/Lotus F1

Although the weather forecasts predicted rain of some sort during the day, it held off all bar a few drops before qualifying got underway. That allowed the three sessions to continue without major incident, but they were still absolutely fascinating. The lack of Caterham and Marussia means the midfield teams are now fighting not to be backmarkers, and at the front, Mercedes don't look quite so far away from the others as they have at other points in the year.

If you missed any of the action during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, this replay of the Factbyte Factbox should contain all the pertinent information you need to know.

As it happened: Brazil 2014 - Qualifying

Event Highlights

  • Rosberg takes pole position after Hamilton locks up on his final lap.
  • Felipe Massa puts in a storming lap but has to settle for third.
  • Both Lotus drivers drop out in the first session, as Sebastian Vettel scrapes through.
  • Kvyat opts not to take part in Q2 due to hangover engine penalties.
  • Sauber finish 11th and 13th to aid their ongoing quest for points.
  • 15:30

    Hi F1 fans, it's Brazil! Who doesn't love Brazil? Today is all about qualifying, deciding pole position and the rest of the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Brazil!

  • 15:31

    Today we'll see a similar format as last weekend, with four drivers out in the first two sessions before deciding the top ten. Sadly, Marussia have definitely folded, whilst Caterham are resorting to desperate measures to get back in action.

  • 15:31

    There's talk of rain and storms at various points of the weekend, but things look dry and almost sunny at the moment.

  • 15:32
    Factbyte Factbox image

    That being the case, the medium and soft tyres should be in action when qualifying gets underway in about half an hour.

  • 15:33

    TweetTweet from @andrewbensonf1: A few spots of rain on drag up from TV compound to paddock but nothing to affect the drivers as yet. Still bright but clouds building

  • 15:36

    The battle for position is likely to be between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as per normal. In the early sessions, Rosberg appears to have the edge but today is when it counts!

    Fastest Session Times
    Free Practice 1N Rosberg1:12.764
    Free Practice 2N Rosberg1:12.123
    Free Practice 3N Rosberg1:10.446
  • 15:37

    With his team out of the picture, poor Marcus Ericsson doesn't get the opportunity to drive in Brazil yet, but he might get there next year after being signed to Sauber. Meanwhile, he's up for a spot of predictioning!

    "F1 Brazil. Looks like a lot of fun to drive! Can't wait to try it myself next year. Since I'm doing commentary this weekend I'll give you my top 5 Q prediction: 1 HAM 2 ROS 3 RIC 4 RAI 5 ALO what's your predictions?"

  • 15:39

    Pole position last year was set by Sebastian Vettel, a 1:26.479. He was, of course, enjoying a run of nine consecutive race victories. By contrast, this year, it's Lewis Hamilton who's hoping to notch up his sixth race win in a row this weekend.

  • 15:42
    2014 Pole Positions
    1N Rosberg9
    2L Hamilton7
    3F Massa1
  • 15:43

    In terms of teammate battles we might have thought would be closer, Fernando Alonso has outqualified Kimi Räikkönen 15 times of the 17 available. Romain Grosjean has also done well, picking up 13 better positions than teammate Pastor Maldonado.

  • 15:51

    TweetTweet from @fergieweather: The UBIMET forecasters have now advised teams that heavy showers are no longer expected into qualifying.

  • 15:52

    Weather icon

    Wind speed0.9mps
  • 15:55

    The tarmac was resurfaced ahead of the race this weekend, which has upped the speeds for the drivers. Overnight has washed off the rubber they put down yesterday but with final practice this morning, they're getting the grip levels up again.

  • 15:56

    Crofty fact: "6 of the last eleven winners have come from second place."

  • 15:59

    Sergio Pérez will take a seven place grid slot from wherever he qualifies, after the stewards handed him a penalty following the crash in Austin. Why seven places? No one knows.

  • 16:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 16:01

    No one is keen to head out early, as a full minute elapses before Adrian Sutil makes a break for it.

  • 16:03

    Both Saubers, Toro Rossos and Daniel Ricciardo have left the garage, and all have gone straight on the soft tyres.

  • 16:04

    Lewis Hamilton exits the garage and he's got the softer compound on too. So far, the only two to test out the mediums is Massa and Bottas.

  • 16:06

    Button and Magnussen have put the mediums on their respective McLarens. Either drivers are hoping to save the mediums for the race, are concerned about the track evolving quickly, or are anticipating a wet race tomorrow, thus less need to save the rubber today.

  • 16:07

    All drivers have headed out on track barring Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver remaining in the garage for now.

  • 16:07

    The first times are starting to pour in, with Valtteri Bottas in P1 briefly, pushed down by Felipe Massa and then Lewis Hamilton.

  • 16:07

    Nico Rosberg drops the benchmark into the 1:10s, half a second quicker than his teammate.

  • 16:09

    TweetTweet from @F1: Nico Hulkenberg heads out early in #Q1. He scored his only career pole here for Williams in 2010

  • 16:09

    Team radioFernando Alonso gets frustrated over the radio regarding the setup of the car on his lap. "Ay, ay, ay," he whines. "Why do you start the qualifying with a low battery? How is this possible? It's okay, no worries. I will manage the car, I will manage the traffic, I will charge the battery and then I will start the lap."

  • 16:09

    Hamilton jumps up to P1, with a 1:10.457.

  • 16:12

    That midway point is reached, with some heading back to the pit lane for a brief rethink of strategy. Pastor Maldonado is called to the weighbridge, and the Lotus crew run up the pit lane to meet him.

  • 16:12

    Rosberg leads with Hamilton just a tenth of a second behind, and Fernando Alonso a full second further back.

  • 16:12

    Sebastian Vettel has headed out to start his first lap of the session, but the Red Bull isn't looking strong yet. Ricciardo is only in 13th after a good few laps.

  • 16:13

    Vettel backed off that lap and crossed the line for the slowest lap time, not just 18th place but outside the 107% as well.

  • 16:13

    Drop zone currently features: Pastor Maldonado, Romain Grosjean, Jean-Éric Vergne and Sebastian Vettel.

  • 16:15

    Team radioTeam radio to Kevin Magnussen, sitting in fourth place: "Okay Kevin, we think this is safe so box this lap."

  • 16:15

    Jenson Button moved up to third with his teammate behind, and now all of the top four are in the pit lane.

  • 16:16

    Sebastian Vettel improves to 12th, which drops his teammate into the bottom four. Ricciardo jumps up to P9.

  • 16:16
    Checo heads out for his second run of Q1
    Credit: clubforce/twitter

    Checo heads out for his second run of Q1.

  • 16:17

    Jean-Éric Vergne slip-slides his way around a lap to improve but only to 15th which is still in the drop zone.

  • 16:17

    Nico Hülkenberg heads into the pit lane after running wide on his final lap. He's dropping down the order, currently in 12th.

  • 16:17

    Teammate Sergio Pérez has reached the bottom four, but is currently on a lap trying to improve.

  • 16:18

    He can't go any faster and remains in 16th at the moment.

  • 16:18

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 16:19

    The fastest three in that session were Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.

  • 16:20
    Out in Q1
    15R GrosjeanLotus
    16JE VergneToro Rosso
    17S PérezForce India
    18P MaldonadoLotus
  • 16:20

    Poor Vergne didn't get much of a chance to run on Friday. Max Verstappen sat in his car in the morning practice session, and in the afternoon, the Toro Rosso gave up beneath him. "Sorry, the car was undriveable," the Frenchman reports to the team.

  • 16:21
    Field Spread
    1stN Rosberg1:10.347
    18thP Maldonado1:12.233
  • 16:22

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Now the sun is shining on the Interlagos pitlane, But the risk of having rain before the end of qualifying remains 40%

  • 16:23

    Both the Sauber drivers have managed to get through to Q2, with Esteban Gutiérrez finishing up in ninth for that first session.

  • 16:25

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 16:25

    There are a few eyes on the skies as some moody looking clouds move over the track. Button is told any shower has missed them, though.

  • 16:26

    Again a quiet start to the session but after about half a minute, Force India send Nico Hülkenberg on his way, and he's soon joined by both the Saubers.

  • 16:27

    As Hülkenberg rounds the final corner to start his first flying lap of Q2, Fernando Alonso exits the pit lane and joins the three runners.

  • 16:27

    Lewis Hamilton is also out early, and just as in the first session, soft tyres are the early choice for the Mercedes driver.

  • 16:28

    Unless we get some rain, all the drivers are likely to use the soft tyres now, as the times rapidly start dropping towards pole position.

  • 16:28

    Hülkenberg's first lap time is a 1:12.306.

  • 16:29

    Adrian Sutil runs wide at the bottom of the hill, getting a pretty big run up, albeit across the grass. Giedo van der Garde frowns watching on in the Sauber garage.

  • 16:31

    QuoteJean-Éric Vergne: "The car was just impossible to drive for me. It is not an easy track, there is a few corners where if you don't have the right balance you lose a lot of time, and that's what happened. I think we're struggling with the tyres, the problem is I drive with a setup that was never mine, so I don't know how the car will be. It would be better if I could drive P1 and P2, then I could set up the car properly. Not getting out in P1 makes it difficult but not getting out in P2 makes it impossible.:"

  • 16:32

    There were some high-pitched squeals from Alonso's Ferrari as he locked up on his first lap. He still managed the fifth fastest time, but allows Kimi Räikkönen to get ahead of him for once.

  • 16:33

    QuoteSergio Pérez: "It will be difficult from where we're starting. I don't have much information on the long runs, all I know is the tyres are degrading quite badly. It will be important tomorrow to get a good run, a good start, and make up places early in the race."

  • 16:33

    Nico Rosberg leads the way, with four tenths up on Lewis Hamilton at the moment. The Williams pair slot in behind.

  • 16:34

    Just four cars out on track as the drivers make their tweaks before the final flying laps of the session.

  • 16:35

    With all 14 drivers in the pit lane, the drop zone currently features Esteban Gutiérrez, Adrian Sutil, Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.

  • 16:35

    After struggling in the first session, Sebastian Vettel has taken up residence in 7th place at the moment.

  • 16:36

    McLaren think Jenson Button are safe and aren't intending to send him out again. From fifth place, the team tell him "We'll turn the car round and be ready to go but we don't think we need to."

  • 16:36

    Hülkenberg is out early again, with the two Ferrari drivers joining him quickly.

  • 16:38

    On this final run, the two Mercedes have remained in the garage at the top, and Daniil Kvyat has also opted to remain inside, he's 14th.

  • 16:39

    Daniel Ricciardo heads out of the garage for his first lap time of the second session, he and Adrian Sutil have yet to get a time on the board.

  • 16:40

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 16:41

    The two Williams drivers manage to split the Mercedes, with Massa just 0.040 off Rosberg. The home crowds go wild!

  • 16:41

    The fastest three in that session were Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

  • 16:42
    Out in Q2
    11E GutiérrezSauber
    12N HülkenbergForce India
    13A SutilSauber
    14D KvyatToro Rosso
  • 16:44

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: Track seemed to improve towards the end of Q2 - wind dropping, cloud cover shifting, more towards Q1 spec by the end

  • 16:45

    QuoteNico Hülkenberg: "Pretty good, as good as it gets really. One Sauber in front which is a bit of a shame. Really difficult, we haven't been the fastest here this weekend, that was our best effort. We did get some updates in Austin, and here there was a little thing again. It's getting a little better. For me, coming here I knew it would not be our parade track."

  • 16:48

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 16:49

    For this final session, it's really quiet to begin with. No one makes a move until a full minute has passed. It's Lewis Hamilton that heads out first.

  • 16:51

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: One of the shortest tracks of the year (second shortest after Monaco) - will this also be the closest qualifying of the year?

  • 16:51

    Five cars are out on track now, the two Mercedes driver, Bottas, Button and Ricciardo. Magnussen also joins the fray.

  • 16:51

    Team radioTeam radio to Nico Rosberg: "Wind looks lower in turn 6, compared to Q2."

  • 16:52

    The two Ferraris are the only cars remaining in the garage, they're likely going to go for one flying lap each.

  • 16:53

    Hamilton sets the first time to beat, 1:10.195. It's immediately knocked down by just three hundredths of a second as Nico Rosberg moves into the provisional pole position.

  • 16:53

    Valtteri Bottas is on a scrappy lap, clinging on to control at turn 2, and then two significant lockups in the midsection.

  • 16:54

    Even with the difficult lap Bottas slips into third, with Ricciardo and Button behind him.

  • 16:55

    Felipe Massa jumps into third place, demoting his teammate a position. He's within a tenth of a second of pole position too.

  • 16:55

    Less than five minutes to go and all ten drivers find themselves back in the pit lane.

  • 16:56

    Kimi Räikkönen heads out first for this final stint of laps.

  • 16:57

    Räikkönen sweeps up the hill, past the advertising boardings, and round the final corner to start his first flying lap of the session.

  • 16:58

    The rest of the top ten start to file out of the garage, some having to keep out of the flying Ferrari's way.

  • 16:58

    Kevin Magnussen is the last driver to leave the pit lane.

  • 16:58

    Kimi Räikkönen completes the lap and crosses the line for seventh place.

  • 16:59

    That's faster than the two Red Bulls at this moment, but both are on their own attempts to improve.

  • 17:00

    Hamilton looks like he's struggling with the setup of the car on this lap.

  • 17:01

    He still manages to sneak ahead into pole position, but Nico Rosberg isn't far behind.

  • 17:01

    Rosberg retakes his P1, by three hundredths of a second.

  • 17:01

    Felipe Massa gives up the fight and heads into the pit lane. Bottas couldn't improve, so it's Massa then Bottas on the second row.

  • 17:02

    StopwatchPole position for Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:10.023.

  • 17:02

    This pole position makes it ten for Nico Rosberg and that gives him the pole position trophy for the year. Not the trophy he's looking for at this point, though.

  • 17:03
    Q3 results
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2L HamiltonMercedes
    3F MassaWilliams
    4V BottasWilliams
    5J ButtonMcLaren
    6S VettelRed Bull
    7K MagnussenMcLaren
    8F AlonsoFerrari
    9D RicciardoRed Bull
    10K RäikkönenFerrari
  • 17:04

    A good job by Jenson Button, capitalising where Red Bull are struggling. Fernando Alonso managed to stay ahead of his teammate too, taking the later lap time with presumably slightly better track conditions.

  • 17:04
    Gap Analysis
  • 17:07

    For the second weekend a row, the missing backmarker teams have made the midfield runners look very out of sorts. Lotus in particular are struggling.

  • 17:07

    There was some great drama in that final session, with Felipe Massa spurred on by the home advantage. It didn't quite translate to a front row grid slot but may help him tomorrow as well.

  • 17:07

    Nico Rosberg's pole position will be something to cling on to tomorrow, but can he defend from Lewis Hamilton like he failed to do in Austin.

  • 17:08

    Also keen to see what Sauber can do, and whether Nico Hülkenberg can get into the points like he hopes to do.

  • 17:08

    Hopefully we'll be in for a good race tomorrow, Brazil usually delivers something worth remembering. Do join me back here for lap by lap coverage of all the action!

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