Bottas snatches pole from Vettel after Hamilton crashes

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the third time this year after his Mercedes team mate crashed out in Q1 at Interlagos.

The session was just a few minutes old when Lewis Hamilton hit the barriers at Ferradura, ending his participation in qualifying.

Ferrari were a serious threat for pole position and Sebastian Vettel led their charge in Q3. But a last-gasp effort by Bottas put him on top by less than four-hundredths of a second.


The first surprise of qualifying came within minutes of Q1 starting. Hamilton was halfway around his first flying lap when his Mercedes snapped sideways in the middle of Ferradura, sending him into the barriers.

Qualifying was stopped while the damaged W08 was recovered. Hamilton took no further part in proceedings and will start the penultimate race of the year from the back of the grid.

The delay was good news for Lance Stroll whose Williams needed a new gearbox and power unit parts following his stoppage in final practice. His mechanics had a few precious extra minutes to complete the work, giving him enough time to set a lap. However he couldn’t make the cut for Q2, falling short by little more than a tenth of a second in the closely-fought session. Team mate Felipe Massa comfortably made it into the next stage.

Pascal Wehrlein was especially disappointed to miss the cut by just a few hundredths of a second. Brendon Hartley, who was off his team mate’s pace to begin with, found enough with his last run to reach Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Pascal WehrleinSauber-Ferrari1’10.678
17Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Renault1’10.686
18Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’10.776
19Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’10.875
20Lewis HamiltonMercedes


The rain which had been forecast for the first two days of the weekend continued to stay away as the second phase of qualifying began. The front runners chose super-soft tyres for their Q2 runs, which they will start the race on tomorrow, with one exception. Daniel Ricciardo, who has a ten-place grid penalty due to a power unit change, ran soft tyres and will use them at the start of tomorrow’s race.

Vettel served notice of Ferrari’s potential by heading Q2 with a new track record lap of 1’08.494. Bottas was in close contention and Max Verstappen edged Kimi Raikkonen for third.

But the real fight was among the midfielders for a place in Q3. Almost every lap at the end of the session saw a new name join the top ten and another rival slip into the drop zone.

Esteban Ocon seemed to have grabbed himself a place in Q3 with an early run, but Sergio Perez beat it in the other Force India. The two Renault drivers matched his time to within a tenth of a second, and that sealed Ocon’s demise. He missed the cut by six-hundredths of a second and Romain Grosjean’s Haas was only four-hundredths behind him.

With an power unit change penalty looming Hartley used Q2 to practice pit stops and standing starts. Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne joined him on the sidelines after the second part of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’09.830
12Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’09.879
13Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’10.116
14Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’10.154
15Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Renault


Was Vettel going to secure a second consecutive pole position for Ferrari? It looked likely after his first lap in Q3, which edged Bottas for the top time. And matters appeared to be playing into his hands when drops of rain fell before the drivers began their final runs.

The two Ferraris began their final runs before Bottas. Vettel was slightly cautious at the first corner and paid for it a minute later when he crossed the line and failed to improve. Raikkonen, who’d been quickest in the first sector, also failed to better his position.

Now it was down to Bottas. The sole remaining Mercedes was even quicker through the first sector and carried that advantage through to the end of the lap, nicking pole from Vettel by less than four-hundredths of a second.

Verstappen took fourth, comfortably quicker than Ricciardo, while Perez claimed sixth position by less than two-hundredths of a second over Alonso. The Renault pair came next followed by Massa, who earned a top ten start for his final home race.

Top ten in Q3

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’08.322
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’08.360
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’08.538
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’08.925
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’09.330
6Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’09.598
7Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’09.617
8Nico HulkenbergRenault1’09.703
9Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’09.805
10Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’09.841

2017 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Bottas snatches pole from Vettel after Hamilton crashes”

  1. Never before have we seen more replays for one crash

    1. I saw more replays of a near crash by Verstappen in practice :D

  2. Interesting fact here. Bottas’s average qualifying position when put into decimal places is actually better than Hamilton’s now. Bottas’s average qualifying position is exactly 3rd. While Hamiton’s is 3.4 with a whole load of decimals after that. Just shows how much Hamilton’s mistakes here and in Monaco have affected this. So with just 2 races to go, it is still pretty likely that Bottas could have a higher average qualifying position. The fact that it is 3rd is sort of a negative. As Mercedes have been the best overall, but Ferrari certainly haven’t been far off. But the fact is, Bottas hasn’t had any disastrous qualifying sessions like Hamilton has. He has qualified 6th twice, but no lower and normally, much higher than that.

    1. Yeah, Bottas is a mile better than Hamilton.

    2. Wow, that’s some serious “stretching” there.

      1. I’m not stating that Bottas is any better at all. But these stats are true. Bottas’s average qualifying position is higher up than Hamilton’s if you use decimal places. This shows that even though Hamilton has far more often been a lot better, his 2 mistakes have been far bigger than any Bottas has made during qualifying.

        1. @thegianthogweed It’s an interesting observation, and you could paint the story that the average deficit in qualifying that Bottas has this year to Hamilton is just over 0.4 seconds so Bottas has not been pushing as hard as he should have and therefore less likely to make mistakes than Hamilton.

    3. I’m no HAM fan, but sorry to say, I don’t think these stats really say much. If you remove the the worst result for both drivers, then I think your stats will be vastly different, especially for HAM.

    4. Well now……Lewis Hamilton has both championships in the bag. In any race, when he’s ‘on it’
      he’s quite often uncatchable and 90% of that race weekend he never puts a foot wrong. Then,
      quite suddenly, very, very early in qualifying he goes out and makes a fundamental error with
      race-situation catastrophic results.

      Hamilton is not super human, he has weaknesses, he makes errors like everybody else. But he’s
      also a very clever strategist. Like, for example. mentioning some time ago that rubbing your
      main competitors nose in the ordure and ensuring his own team gets a season-end 0ne-Two
      would be honey on treacle pud. OK….OK…..OK….it’s about as likely as grass growing on a
      billiard ball but none of these top Mercedes guys are known for their stupid activities.
      Don’t bomb me from here to VIetnam please !

      And Hamilton crashing out on a qualifying outlap with no-one else around……….hmmmmmmmmmmm !

    5. @thegianthogweed In this case it’s probably fairer to look at the median or mode rather than average, although it was a BIG mistake by Hamilton to drop the ball so early in Q1.

  3. Looks like Hamilton did help Bottas after all.
    (Insert extra big ginormous winky here!)

    1. Mercedes more likely, they probably changed the tyre pressure in lewis’ rears. Now they have a chance to squash Vettel through Bottas in the race while Hamilton cant complain bout it…


    2. It couldn’t have gone better.

      Hamilton’s crash means he has a plausible reason to play second fiddle to Bottas. Bottas gets this chance to show what he’s made of, as he battles for the 2nd championship position.

      I expect Hamilton will, on a difficult circuit, put on a show of charging through the field. He might even have the secondary task of holding up Vettel. This assumes Hamilton gets within 40 secs of the vettel before Vettel makes his first stop . Should be cracking race.

  4. Lewis was a man on an Isle in Paradise today. The only top driver who crashed into the Barrier Reef. It makes you wonder, when a rookie and 3rd rated driver like Bottas gets poles and wins GPs with that Merc what a Rosberg, Vettel or Verstappen could have done with it.

    It’s like you pay for 20 coconuts and you get back four on top of that for no reason at all.

    1. Well we know what Vettel would have done with it: fail to win the championship just like he did with his Ferrari ;)

        1. @myst Start with looking back the races in Baku and Singapore where Vettel threw 51 points at Lewis. And then some others like Spain, Canada, Silverstone, Spa and Mexico where Vettel also dropped plenty of points. Mostly due to bad starts and not being to able to deal with “traffic”.

        2. @myst, no offence, but the way you have phrased much of your post is quite odd and comes across as gibberish – are you using some sort of translation software and ended up butchering your post?

          As an aside, some have equally asked what other drivers could have done with the SF70-H if a driver who many consider to be well past his peak (Raikkonen) and, historically, never been that quick over a single lap anyway could still take poles with that car and been in a position to win races in his own right.

          Some would also argue that, in the opening races of this season, Ferrari were able to handicap their rivals after they lobbied the FIA during the off season to make a late decision to ban the passive suspension systems that Mercedes and Red Bull had been using in previous seasons, which hurt the performance of both of those teams.

          Mercedes could live with it over a single lap, where the performance of the tyre could mask the issues, but over multiple laps that restriction hurt their tyre management. If the resultant suspension geometry is such that the rear tyres are prone to overheating, than any driver you put into the car will be limited by that suspension geometry – it doesn’t matter who they are.

          With that limitation in mind, I suspect that if you put any of the drivers that you have listed in the car instead, you’d probably have ended up with fairly similar results.

  5. Alonso keeps showing he’s far from done in this sport. And good on Perez, he hasn’t had a particularly happy campaign against a talented younger teammate, so good to see him putting it back together.

    1. Stroll was woeful in quali, it is hard to beleive that he gets as many chances in F1 as his Dad wants!!

    2. This reminds me of FI tweet. CHI (Checo Happiness Index) is gaining.

  6. Toro Rosso have dropped like a rock in the ocean.

    1. Maybe because Kvyat and Sainz have left. I think Sainz was far better than both are so far. And Kvyat a bit better at least.

  7. Rosberg would have had a good chance of winning again.

    1. Sure, with a little help from that special ‘someone up there’.

    2. Rosberg would not have done any better than Bottas this season. It’s just a lot closer now which means being a few tenths down in Q3 also costs you a few places to other cars instead of starting behind Hamilton (when his car works).

      1. @patrickl
        Rosberg was on average 0.105s slower than Hamilton in qualifying over four seasons, that is excluding qualifying sessions where one driver had misfortune. Bottas has been closer to 0.300s slower than Hamilton in qualifying this season. It’s pretty obvious that Rosberg would have done better than Bottas this season.

        If Rosberg had qualified his average of 0.105s behind Hamilton in every race, Mercedes would have had a front row lockout in Australia, China, Bahrain, Canada, Azerbaijan, Britain, Belgium, Italy, and USA. That’s 9 front row lockouts in 18 races.

        1. @kingshark , Average gap is meaningless. I don’t care enough to check, but that stat can only exist because it was messed up by some outliers. You need to look at the median (most prevalent difference). Or at the very least remove outliers.

          Hamilton was usually 3 tenths faster than Rosberg. Could very well be that he was 3 seconds slower on one occasion since he had enough Q3 technical issues in 2016 too, but that’s irrelevant (especially with Hamilton so plagued with car issues in Q3 and IIR even Q1).

          Even so, perhaps in 2016 the quali gap was smaller than usual, but in other seasons it was much bigger and Rosberg did end up behind other cars while Hamilton had pole. And that was when the Mercedes was till between half a second and a full second faster than everybody.

          Besides the 2017 car is much harder to drive. Something Hamilton manages to cope with a lot better than Bottas and Rosberg. In those case Rosberg would be further behind too.

          1. @patrickl

            Average gap is meaningless. I don’t care enough to check, but that stat can only exist because it was messed up by some outliers. You need to look at the median (most prevalent difference). Or at the very least remove outliers.

            Hamilton was usually 3 tenths faster than Rosberg. Could very well be that he was 3 seconds slower on one occasion since he had enough Q3 technical issues in 2016 too, but that’s irrelevant (especially with Hamilton so plagued with car issues in Q3 and IIR even Q1).

            The median gap between Rosberg and Hamilton in qualifying sessions where neither was hampered in any way was +0,130 seconds in Hamiltons favour. The outliers have been removed. You are just ignoring the data or in denial because it doesn’t suit your agenda.

            Besides the 2017 car is much harder to drive. Something Hamilton manages to cope with a lot better than Bottas and Rosberg. In those case Rosberg would be further behind too.

            You have no evidence to suggest that Hamilton’s gap to Rosberg would increase in the slightest this season. Rosberg kept up with Hamilton fine in 2013 when the cars had plenty of downforce.

          2. @Kingshark, Nonsense. Hamilton was ahead more than one tenth. Averiging makes no sense. Just add the time Hamilton had in Brazil to the total and Bottas will look a lot better on average. That’s clearly not the reality though.

            Rosberg also had more issues with the car when it was less easy to drive. So yes it does make sense to assume that Rosberg would have had more difficulty with the car. Even though he wasn’t any faster than Bottas to begin with.

            The only reason Rosberg was able to “compete” more with Hamilton was because Hamilton had so much more technical issues in those years.

            Never put too much stock in the conspiracy theorists, but the sudden lack of technical issues on Hamilton’s car (besides a head rest coming loose and a gear box change) is amazing.

          3. @patrickl
            You are wrong. Hamilton was on average 0.134s faster than Rosberg in qualifying and the median is 0.130s. This excludes qualifying sessions like Silverstone 2014 where the gap was freakishly large because of extraordinary circumstances (despite it being Hamilton’s own fault).

            Rosberg did not have more issues than Hamilton when the car was hard to drive. Mercedes was horrible on their tyres in 2013 and it was by far the most inconsistent Mercedes of those 4 years, and Rosberg was closer to Hamilton in 2013 than he was in any other year.

            It’s a fact that Rosberg was quicker and closer to Hamilton than Bottas is, and it doesn’t matter if you like it or not.

            If Rosberg was still at Mercedes, Mercedes would have likely taken 9 front row lockouts in 19 races – and it would look like the dominant car it actually is.

          4. @kingshark I’m not wrong. You just focus on this “average” gap nonsense to make a convoluted point. Nobody cares.

          5. @patrickl
            You claimed that Rosberg was no better than Bottas in qualifying. I explained why you are wrong. Rosberg was by every objective measure much closer to Hamilton in qualifying than Bottas.

            Facts don’t care about your feelings.

          6. @kingshark Facts indeed don’t care about feelings, the sad thing is @patrickl his brain doesn’t care about facts,…

          7. @kingshark Statistics are not facts. As the saying goes: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

            Someone eager to pretend Hamilton is a poor driver calculated that Bottas was actually better in qualifying this year. Since Bottas has an average qualifying position of 3.0 and Hamilton 3.4.

            So you can pretend all you want that an average is the best way to look at this, it really is not. Take some basisc statistic classes and it will come to you. Perhaps.

            @flatsix Pfffffft look who’s talking? Seriously you are the last to say stuff like that.

          8. @patrickl
            It doesn’t matter if you use the average, the median, or the overall score. No matter what way you look at it, no matter what criteria you use, the fact is that Rosberg was closer to Hamilton than Bottas is. Therefore you are wrong.

  8. Just watched the Channel 4 highlights and what they said before and after the incident was quite amusing.

    “We know that Hamilton’s the master at pulling it out when it matters”
    Then, about 10 seconds after this, as he was sliding to the wall, it was incredibly obvious he was going to hit it hard. They said “Oh he’s lost it! Hamilton’s lost it! Wow! Oh, and he’s hit the wall! That’s it! Qualifying Over!

    There was over 2 seconds that you could tell he would smack into the wall hard so I don’t get why he was so surprised that Hamilton hit it. Does he think that Hamilton can magically get himself out of these situations? I feel that if that was any other driver, (maybe not Verstappen) they would have said “He’s going to hit the wall” But it was just so obvious that was going to happen. Sky were basically the same.

    1. Stretching again?

      How is it a comment that Hamilton can pull out an especially fast lap when needed (which we have seen him do many times) the same as saying he’s not going to hit a wall?

      1. I didn’t say it was the same anywhere. I said it was amusing that they said he’s the master of pulling it out when it matters seconds before he had a big crash. Not that I disagree that he usually is, it was just a coincidence.

        Maybe it wasn’t obvious it was going to happen to some. But the speed he was sliding towards the barrier from the on board view which was the one being shown to made it obvious that he would crash even if he partially corrected it. And that was why I was surprised to why they seemed slow to react to what had happened.

        1. Again, “pulling it out” (or whatever they said in reality) doesn’t mean he can magically avoid crashes.

    2. @thegianthogweed I think they simply overestimated Hamilton’s distance from the wall because the camera was onboard with him in that moment. Even my first thought was “Oh, he has spun!”, and not “Oh, he’s going to hit the wall in two seconds!”.

    3. @thegianthogweed The fact that it was such a shock event (Drivers very rarely spin at that corner, and to top it all, Hamilton hardly ever makes such a mistake) also meant that the commentator was hung up on the spin itself in the moments Hamilton was heading towards the wall. Also, as you mentioned, the commentator was praising Hamilton for his driving ability just 5-10 seconds ago…which only added to the shock value. It all happened too fast.

      I don’t understand how you can predict with such confidence that had there been any other driver in Hamilton’s place, he would have said “He’s going to hit the wall”. That’s a completely baseless claim. If not, then please provide an example from previous races. If you can’t, you’re just extrapolating your perception of their bias towards Hamilton.

      You’re making a story out of nothing, imo. If it was obvious to you that Hamilton was going to hit the wall the moment he spun, then the shock in Bed Edwards’ commentary shouldn’t be that hard to empathize with either, if you take everything into context.

      1. All I mean is when he was saying he lost it, it sounded like he wasn’t expecting it to hit the wall. And at that moment in time, I thought it looked impossible to avoid, so I don’t know why he was then surprised that he then did hit the wall. Obviously after it all, it can be a surprise as Hamilton rarely makes these mistakes.

        1. That comment has nothing at all to do with not expecting to hit the wall.

  9. Stick my mans Alonso or Vettel in that silver one and send lewis to paradise.


    1. You mean like Alonso did in 2007? I always find it rather amusing how the knuckle draggers are nowhere to be seen when Hamilton is winning. Quelle surprise.

      1. not 2007 again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Bro, Ali lost once. Still the goat. I dont even regard Lewis as a four time world champ. Stroll would have one tgem titles in that overpowered car. Its like me asking for me and you to drag race in a micra vs a skyline.

        1. They could not get those WDC’s if they were up against Hamilton in the other car though. Neither could Alonso and Hamilton only got better since 2007. Alonso not so much.

          The only current driver who could even begin to compare to Hamilton would be Verstappen.

          1. Ver? is this a joke.

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