Brazilian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton to start at back of grid after qualifying crash

Lewis Hamilton crashed out in qualifying
Lewis Hamilton crashed out in qualifying

World champion Lewis Hamilton will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from the back of the grid after crashing out in qualifying.

Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying: Top four

Scroll down for full qualifying times

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari
  4. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

Qualifying report

Lewis Hamilton believes his dramatic qualifying crash proves he is human after his first competitive return to action since winning the world championship lasted less than two minutes.

Hamilton, who clinched his fourth Formula One title at the last round in Mexico, lost control of his Mercedes at 160mph on his very first lap.

Following a very light sprinkling of rain, the 32-year-old Englishman thudded into the tyre barrier at turn six, and remained in his cockpit for some moments with advertising hoardings on top of his car.

Hamilton took time to regain his composure following the high-speed crash - informing his team that he was not injured - before walking away from the Mercedes wreck.


Brazilian Grand Prix: Sky Bet odds

  • Valtteri Bottas: 5/6
  • Sebastian Vettel: 7/4
  • Kimi Raikkonen: 8/1
  • Max Verstappen: 12/1
  • Lewis Hamilton: 14/1

Click here for all the Sky Bet odds


Hamilton sustained significant damage to his car - with the front left of his Silver Arrows bearing the brunt of the impact - and he will now start Sunday's race, the penultimate of his title-winning season, from the back of the grid.

Valtteri Bottas took advantage of his team-mate's dramatic demise to edge out Sebastian Vettel for pole position. Hamilton was on hand to congratulate Bottas on securing his first pole since July's Austrian Grand Prix.

"It is very unusual from me, but it shows we are all human," Hamilton said. "I'm okay. It happened really quickly.

"Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them makes life meaningful. I just need to take whatever bubble of negativity from this experience and move forward and grow."

Hamilton qualified only 18th at this race in 2009 and fought back through the field to finish third.

"Years ago I came back from quite far behind and had a great race," he added. "I will try to have as much fun as possible."

Hamilton, who has enjoyed a largely faultless campaign, topped both practice sessions here on Friday, with his Mercedes team appearing on course to dominate the last but one race of the season.

But it was left to Bottas to provide a much-needed boost to the sport's world championship-winning team after eight staff members were robbed at gun point on Friday night.

The Finnish driver delivered in the closing moments at the Interlagos circuit to beat Vettel to pole by just four hundredths of a second.

"I spoke to the team this morning and said I would try to put the car on pole to cheer them up, so I am glad it has happened," Bottas, who is 15 points behind Vettel in the race for second, said.

"First of all, I am happy that everybody is in one piece and nothing happened physically to anyone, but obviously it was a pretty bad situation for them to be in.

"Lewis going out in the beginning was a shame, but I'm glad I could stand up for the team."

Kimi Raikkonen will line up in third ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. The Dutchman's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth, but he will be demoted 10 places following a series of engine penalties.

Ricciardo's penalty promotes Force India's Sergio Perez to fifth with McLaren driver Fernando Alonso to line up in sixth.

Qualifying times

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1min 08.322secs
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:08.360
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:08.538
  4. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:08.925
  5. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:09.330
  6. Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:09.598
  7. Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:09.617
  8. Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:09.703
  9. Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:09.805
  10. Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:09.841
  11. Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 1:09.830
  12. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:09.879
  13. Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1:10.116
  14. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:10.154
  15. Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso No Time
  16. Pascal Wehrlein (Ger) Sauber-Ferrari 1:10.678
  17. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:10.686
  18. Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 1:10.776
  19. Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:10.875
  20. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP No Time

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