Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hamilton's Hot in F1 Qualifying for 2012 Season Finale in Brazil

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

The 19th and final event on the 2012 Formula 1 tour, a climatic end to the season has a 71-lap event at Brazil's Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit serving as the last chance for drivers and teams to make their mark on this year's competition. Entering with a points lead of 13 points, Sebastian Vettel's effort to claim a third-straight Formula 1 World Driver's Title can still be spoiled by Fernando Alonso. For other competitors, Sunday's 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix will be a potentially career-shaping moment where prospects for 2013 could be enhanced.

While early afternoon rain and the chance of further showers threatened to throw an interesting variable into Saturday's qualifying, teams were able to remain on slick Pirelli race tires throughout the time trials. Making the most of the Pirelli tires was the McLaren-Mercedes All-British driving duo. Recording a lap less than half a tenth of a second faster than teammate Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton took the Brazilian Grand Prix pole with a 1-minute, 12.458-second lap time.

Riding high after the United States Grand Prix victory in Austin, Texas, the McLaren team's qualifying effort is another flash of brilliance that could not be widespread through the 2012 Formula 1 tour. After starting the season strong in Australia, McLaren team as well as pilots Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button was slowly eliminated from the 2012 manufacturer and driver championships as the year progressed. A number of follies contributed to fact the team is now competing mainly for grand prix victories. When the lights go out to start the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, the race will be the final event for Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes. Leaving the only team he drove for during his Formula 1 career, Lewis Hamilton made a high-profile commitment to take over Michael Schumacher's seat at Mercedes GP in 2013 and beyond.

As for how qualifying shaped the driver championship fight between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, the pair will start three positions apart on the grid Sunday. Amusingly, both Vettel and Alonso were beaten by their teammates in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying. Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber will be placed third on the grid beside Vettel. Felipe Massa flew to fifth starting spot at his home grand prix while Ferrari teammate Alonso is seventh. Splitting the Ferraris in qualifying was the Force India-Mercedes wheeled by Nico Hulkenberg.

Rounding out the top-10 on the grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix is Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus F1 Team, the Mercedes GP car piloted by Nico Rosberg and the Force India vehicle driven by Paul di Resta. Pastor Maldonado qualified 6th with his Williams-Renault but was penalized by the FIA for avoiding the weigh bridge. Maldonado was dropped 10 grid positions based on that and other actions of disregard for the rules over the course of the 2012 Formula 1 season.

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

Running in what is billed as his final grand prix, Michael Schumacher will conclude his Formula 1 career with Mercedes GP in Brazil. Placing himself 13th on the grid, the Brazilian circuit has served as a venue of four victories for the German driver in the past (lasting coming in 2002).

A race set for 11:00 AM Eastern Time, the Brazilian Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace track has been known as an unpredictable race for the Formula 1 runners in the past. In prelude to the final grand prix, weather forecasts call for a high probability of rain falling on Sunday.

2012 Formula 1
Brazilian Grand Prix
Starting Grid

Pos # Car #/ Driver/ Constructor
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
6 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
8 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
10 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
11 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
13 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
16 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
22 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1

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