SEBASTIAN Vettel, who needs a top-four finish to guarantee a third-successive world drivers’ title, qualified fourth for today’s Brazilian Grand Prix as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton got pole ahead of his final race for the Woking-based team.
With Jenson Button alongside Hamilton, the duo combined to give McLaren their 62nd front-row lock-out as they left championship contenders Vettel and Fernando Alonso trailing.
Vettel, who has a 13-point cushion over Alonso, will line up fourth as Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber managed to qualify ahead of him, while Alonso was eighth in his Ferrari, although, crucially, he was elevated to seventh – and the clean side of the track – after sixth-placed Pastor Maldonado was punished for missing the weighbridge in Q2, his third reprimand this season prompting a ten-place grid penalty.
Hamilton is now looking to end his McLaren days on a high. He said: “It’s been a good weekend so far, and I’m grateful to be able to put the car on the front row.”
“The weather is going to be tricky [with rain forecast], so it’s going to make it more of a lottery.”
Scotland’s Paul Di Resta was 11th in his Force India, four places behind his German team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, before being promoted to tenth thanks for Maldonado’s penalty.