F1

Brazilian GP: McLaren qualifying report

LEWIS HAMILTON MP4-25A-02 P3 programme 3rd 1m19.536s (+0.345s) 19 laps Qualifying Q1 10th 1m19.931s (on Intermediates) Q2 4th 1m18.921s (on Intermediates) Q3 4th 1m15.747s (on Options) "I've started from fourth at this track before...

LEWIS HAMILTON
MP4-25A-02
P3 programme
3rd 1m19.536s (+0.345s) 19 laps

Qualifying
Q1 10th 1m19.931s (on Intermediates)
Q2 4th 1m18.921s (on Intermediates)
Q3 4th 1m15.747s (on Options)

"I've started from fourth at this track before [in 2008], and it's not my favourite spot, but I can't really complain today. On the other hand, on my final lap, I got a bit held up in the final corner when someone was backing-up ahead of me, which was frustrating.

"But the car didn't feel too bad -- it wasn't spectacularly good in the wet, but it felt a lot better in the dry at the end of Q3. For tomorrow, I think we've got good race pace and good end-of-straight speed; so, yes, I think we're in a good position. We're definitely still in the world championship fight.

"I'm confident that I'll be able to battle my way forwards from fourth position on the grid, because we're all close at the front. We can fight [one another]. It's also quite cool to see Nico [Hulkenberg] right up there -- so well done to him! -- but my aim for tomorrow is to get ahead of everyone in front of me!"

JENSON BUTTON
MP4-25A-01
P3 programme
9th 1m20.164s (+0.973s) 24 laps

Qualifying
Q1 9th 1m19.905s (on Intermediates)
Q2 11th 1m19.288s (on Intermediates)
Q3 - -

"It's been a pretty tough weekend -- I've been struggling to find a balance. The front wheels have been locking quite a lot [under braking], and it's therefore been quite hard to slow the car down. That's been my biggest issue, and it was no exception in qualifying.

"Having said that, the car was better in qualifying than it had been all through practice beforehand. We'd fitted new Intermediates at the end of Q2, and my first lap was okay but not quite good enough. Then I damaged my tyres a bit too much on my second lap, and I couldn't get a decent time out of them after that. So I got squeezed out of Q3 at the last second.

"It's frustrating to be quite a way behind Lewis on tomorrow's starting grid, because I'll consequently have less chance to support him during the race. It's disappointing not to get into the top 10 actually -- but, then again, I've started from farther back than P11 here at Interlagos in the past and have gone on to drive a good race, so let's see what happens.

"Let's put it this way: my aim is to have some fun tomorrow!"

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

"First of all I'd like to congratulate Williams on their first pole position in more than five years, and Nico on his first pole position ever. I guess it was a surprising result for everyone -- perhaps it was even surprising for Williams and Nico, too!

"In truth, though, tricky conditions such as we experienced this afternoon frequently lead to unforeseen outcomes, and that was certainly the case today. But unexpected qualifying results often presage eventful races, so in that context Nico's pole can only be good for the sport.

"Lewis will start tomorrow's race from the second row of the grid, and he was perhaps a little unlucky that his time was pipped at the very end of the session by both Red Bull drivers. The reality is, though, that the track was drying out all the time by that stage of the session -- and, since he was at the head of the queue on the track, it was consequently getting grippier and gripper, and therefore faster and faster, all the time, behind him. But, as I say, he'll start tomorrow's race from P4, and there's no doubt that he's well capable of winning from there.

"Jenson missed out on getting into Q3 by a fraction of a second, which was also a little unlucky -- but then again that's also the kind of unanticipated occurrence that can all too easily happen in changeable weather conditions. Besides, he's a superbly combative racing driver -- as we've seen him demonstrate many times in the past and indeed in fine style on this very circuit a year ago -- so, like Lewis, he'll attack Interlagos with controlled aggression tomorrow, and will be looking to score as many world championship points as he possibly can."

-source: mclaren

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