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Hamilton claims milestone pole for Mercedes in Brazil

11 November 2018

Sebastian Vettel was investigated by the stewards after being called on to the weighbridge scales, refusing to turn his engine off and breaking them!

Stewards handed the four-time world champion a reprimand for failing to follow instructions, his first of the season, and a 25,000 euros ($A40,000) fine.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas has one pole and one podium finish from five starts in the sprawling and tumbling semi-bowl where a packed crowd generates a carnival mood. Ricciardo will drop to 11th, though, having been hit with a five-place grid penalty for taking on new power-unit elements this weekend.

Pierre Gasly, who will succeed Ricciardo at Red Bull, was ninth for Toro Rosso and Charles Leclerc, the Monegasque prodigy who will join Ferrari next year, was 10th for Sauber.

And while the rain proved a blessing for some - namely Sirotkin - it was a pain for others, with Renault's Carlos Sainz suffering a shock Q1 exit, the Spaniard missing out by 0.005s. Lance Stroll was 19th, with the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne either side of him and set for another hard race from the back end of the grid.

Vettel was third fastest in the session where rivals Mercedes topped the times, Valtteri Bottas beating Hamilton by 0.003 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton has said it is "likely" he won't continue in the sport if it expands to 25 races and would prefer it to be shorter than it presently is. Whilst on an out-lap he almost veered into the path of Sirotkin as the two appeared to come within inches of causing a nasty accident, while moments later he seemed to impede Raikkonen, somewhat confused by what direction his Ferrari rival was taking.

"They shouldn't call us when the conditions are changing like that", Vettel said. He clattered into a cone on his entry, and the stewards were not impressed with his actions.

"After weighing the driver drove off the scales under its own power, and by doing so, he destroyed the scales". For me, probably '09 was the worst -- and my lowest point. It proved to be an inspired decision, as Leclerc hooked together a superb lap to jump into the top ten.

"I moved to the left and that was where he chose to go".

He added that it was more important for the team to succeed in the constructors' championship.

It was a record-increasing 82nd pole for Hamilton, who has won only once in Brazil, in 2016, and the first time he has taken a pole position in any races after he has won the championship.

Mercedes will retain the constructors' championship on Sunday if Ferrari fail to outscore them by 13 points.

"I was making sure I had the gap to the driver in front, but then all of a sudden I saw a vehicle coming out of Turn 11 at high speed so I was like 'oh my God is that someone on a flying lap?'"

Hamilton claims milestone pole for Mercedes in Brazil