Lewis Hamilton takes Brazilian Grand Prix pole at Interlagos ahead of Sebastian Vettel
Phil Duncan, at Interlagos Luke Slater, live updates
...these races after the drivers' title has been decided always feel a bit strange but we have the potential for another interesting race tomorrow. We still haven't heard anything about Vettel's or Hamilton's penalties. Vettel is with the stewards now and it looks like it will most likely be a penalty for him. But perhaps just a fine. No word on anything involving Hamilton yet and it's been over an hour since it happened so he might get away with that one.
I'll be back tomorrow with another race liveblog around 4pm so see you then. Stay tuned to updates on this page for the qualifying report and the outcome from any stewards' decisions.
Hamilton on Sirotkin: "I don't know what he was thinking. We all know to keep a gap. It was a disrespectful move. I was trying to get out of his way and then he got to the corner and slowed up. It was kind of strange" #F1#BrazilianGP@MercedesAMGF1@WilliamsRacing
Vettel was very impatient there. Damon Hill says it shows his bad side; his impetuous nature. He was beckoned onto the scales but didn't cut his engine and then drove off in gear, which you are not supposed to do. A bit of a mess, in short.
...and it might even be more likely that he escapes punishment for the incident with Sirotkin.
...but it was solid. Not a million miles away and much better than he had been in the past few rounds.
He could well be starting on the front row, though if Vettel gets a penalty. And if Hamilton does? Then pole...
I think it was good fun. I had a tiny lock up in turn 8. I lost some time and didn't improve but it was very close.
On the weighbridge incident:
I think it's better if I don't say anything. They shouldn't call us in because when the conditions are changing like that it's unfair if somebody gets pulled in. I wanted them to hurry up.
That was a tough qualifying session. We didn't really know what to expect. Ferrari are incredibly quick this weekend. I'm just really happy to be here in Brazil. I didn't know whether or not I had the pole. The last lap wasn't so good to be honest. It's been a crazy journey with the Brazilian fans. Over the years we have really grown to adore each other.
...he will be starting on the less durable but quicker supersofts tomorrow. Vettel and Raikkonen will be on the softs. But what will Vettel's penalty be after the weighbridge incident? I cannot see him holding onto second place. If he drops down five places for it that means Ericsson will be starting fifth!
Hamilton improves by 0.02s...Raikkonen can't beat it! And nor can Vettel! Just 0.093s behind!
Pole at Interlagos for the world champion! Ericsson seventh, nice work Marcus! Best of the rest.
...just over a tenth actually but Raikkonen is close by...
Just 90 seconds left. Enough for an out lap and a hot lap. Can anyone dislodge Hamilton? The rain has stayed away.
2. VET +0.073
3. BOT +0.140
4. RAI +0.155
5. VER +0.477
6. RIC +0.479
7. ERI +1.131
8. LEC +1.191
9. GRO +1.216
10. GAS +1.728
By just 0.073s ahead of Vettel. Bottas into third 0.140s behind Vettel. Verstappen and Ricciardo four tenths down each in fifth and sixth. Sauber looking the fourth quickest car here in seventh and eighth.
...well, it's a good opportunity for everyone else.
Anyway, Ericsson is quicker than Leclerc before Raikkonen and Vettel beat them all. Again it's close!
...by the way. So everyone on slicks.
...and drove off under power at the weighbridge and destroyed the scales. He has been referred to the stewards. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. That's going to be a slam dunk penalty as Martin Brundle says. He was very impatient to get on and off it, drove over a cone, nearly ran over an FIA marshal, did not switch the engine off when he was instructed to, did some flappy hand signals and then drove off. Extraordinary!
...when he came across Hamilton. Not sure if that makes any difference.
Wow. How did he do that? Magnussen is sat in the garage and is eliminated! In damp conditions he found time in the second and third sectors to put himself in the top 10, just 0.6s from Bottas's time.
A few others out there but nobody else bumps themself up.
"What a lap! I'm happy this time," Leclerc says on the radio.
Can't see any of these lads improving here but you never know.
...you wonder what would have happened had Vettel not made any one of a number of errors. How close could it have been. Oh well.
This could have been very nasty. I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton takes a penalty for that. He tried to get out of the way but was pootling around in the middle of the track before he did. Scruffy day for the champ.
...and likely to make it through.
...but they do not improve, so they will be starting on the supersoft tyres. Don't think Verstappen improved, either, so that hands Ferrari an advantage, it seems.
Five minutes to go but nobody is going to improve with the rain falling heavier and heavier...
Magnussen just makes his way into the top 10 with a very bold lap in damper conditions.
Sirotkin was on a hot lap and Hamilton was on a slow lap. Hamilton feinted the wrong way to get himself out of the way but it was very, very close to a high speed incident. And he gets in the way of Raikkonen as well. He'll be called to the stewards there...
The rain is getting heavier...
Good lap on the softs. Verstappen now switches to the softs, hoping to improve on his 1.08.017.
Vettel goes P2 on soft tyres! That's a very, very good lap. What will Mercedes do in response here? No heavy rain yet and it's a short lap...
Beating both Red Bulls. What can Hamilton do in response? It's close but it's not enough...0.068s away for the Briton. Both Ferraris on their hot laps a minute or so later than everyone else on soft tyres. If it works they will be starting on the better race tyre so this could work very well...but they cannot afford any big mistakes...
...so that's another out lap. Vettel gets held up at the weighbridge at the wrong time exactly. They switch his tyres as well to softs. Worth a go, I suppose.
That's obviously enough to set a decent timed lap but it is particularly dark out there now.
And both Saubers are out at the front. They are soon joined by most of the rest of the pack. Everyone on slicks...
"More rain is coming," Magnussen is told.
Raikkonen and Vettel with exactly the same time. It's close up there, Verstappen aside. Not sure where that lap came from.
The rain is getting heavier...time for inters?
Ricciardo, Leclerc, Grosjean, Ericsson, Hulkenberg, Gasly, Perez, Sirotkin (nice one!) and Ocon (by just 0.005s).
Hartley does not improve. I think this is going to be it. Gasly does not improve either but he's in P12 and should be through so Verstappen will be quickest.
Drivers out: Sainz, Hartley, Alonso, Stroll and Vandoorne
Sainz does not improve his time and stays in P16. That will be it for him. The rain appears to have had an effect on conditions now.
Drivers in the drop zone:
It's raining, very lightly, but track conditions are still improving. It's very tight from around P13 to P17. Alonso doesn't manage to improve and stays in P18. Looks like another dire weekend for McLaren.
...but he's in P10 with a decent time and should be safe. Big gap between the Ferrari runners and the rest (Red Bull and Mercedes excepted), around three tenths between Hulkenberg in P11 and Ericsson.
Ocon improving but only by a small amount as he locks up nastily. Stoffel Vandoorne running wide running out of turn four.
Drivers in the drop zone: Alonso, Gasly, Stroll, Hartley, Vandoorne
Drivers in the drop zone:
Decent lap by Sirotkin to get himself up into P13.
Waiting for the drivers to start their second runs, still a while to go and it's quite a short lap here so plenty of time.
Alonso goes P13 before being demoted to P14 by Perez, who goes tenth. Magnussen punches in a handy time for P5. That Haas working well here with Grosjean in P8. Ferrari engines a handy thing to have.
Bottas improves to go fifth and Hamilton does likewise to go fourth. Hmmm. Not great pace from the Mercs. Light rain has started to fall, at the back of the circuit I think.
The two Toro Rossos are the last cars to set a time but once they have it leaves us with these drivers in the drop zone.
Verstappen leads from Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel. Replays show Bottas got blocked in the final corner which explains a slow-ish time. Leclerc has spun it around. Sun currently out on track.
Raikkonen pips Hamilton by 0.012s before Verstappen trumps them all with a fine lap. Leclerc, currently, is quicker than Bottas, by the way. Nice work. Mercedes will be worried about the issue that seems to be affecting Hamilton.
14 minutes left
Both Mercedes cars out fairly early. Raikkonen setting the very early pace in sector one as we wait for the drivers to set their first laps. A little bit of smoke coming from Hamilton's car and it's very dark towards the back end of the track...
A gaggle of cars queues up and leaves the pitlane. It looks gloomy.
"The rain is on its way," Lewis Hamilton is told.
We will see any rain? Can Ferrari end the season on a high with another victory at Interlagos?
Ocon gets a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change
Ricciardo gets a five-place grid drop because of a turbo change, which he says was caused by the Mexico GP marshals
I had a bit of a think about ways that F1 could be improved and wrote them down here. The one I am absolutely certain of is reducing or scrapping practice. It needs to happen soon.
It's going to be a hard one to pick the pole position winner; the man who will take home that miniature Pirelli tyre for his troubles. Vettel, for my money.
RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 362
HAAS FERRARI 84
MCLAREN RENAULT 62
FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 47
SAUBER FERRARI 36
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 33
WILLIAMS MERCEDES 7
They need to outscore Ferrari by 20 points to do so.
...as the Renault driver had "a bit of an off" in practice yesterday.
Formula One has reached a deal to stage a race on the streets of Vietnam's capital city. The grand prix, which will take place in Hanoi, has been mooted for some time, but was officially confirmed by F1 officials on Wednesday.
As it stands, Valtteri Bottas is the only driver of the top three teams not to win a grand prix in 2018. Part of that is through bad luck and part through team orders. The other part through having a difficult second season at Mercedes, a car whose performance advantage is as small as it has been since their dominance of F1 began in 2014.
Last season he found a patch of form in the final two races in Brazil (pole and second) and Abu Dhabi (pole, win and fastest lap) after Hamilton had secured the championship in Mexico. Again he has the chance to do so this year but the odds are a little more remote following two poor races.
If Hamilton finds himself leading with Bottas a close second, will Mercedes order him to move aside to let the Finn win? It would give him the victory he deserved in Russia, when he moved aside for his team-mate. That had the advantage of giving Hamilton another seven world championship points. What is the benefit this time? Some might consider Valtteri Bottas fortunate to keep his Mercedes seat for 2019, so keeping him completely happy is unlikely to be part of their thinking.
The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace!
Some excellent elevation changes and massive curbs at this track.
It does seem a little strange but Lewis Hamilton has never won a grand prix (in the same season) after clinching the drivers' title. Granted, he has only won the championship in advance of the final round twice before this year but that is still five races and is a slight anomaly, especially as he has had the fastest and dominant car in all those seasons.
He'll have two chances to break this unusual statistic, starting in Brazil. Given how shoddy Mercedes have looked in the past month, this run looked like it might extend to eight races.
It might rain. Might. Qualifying begins at 1500 local time.
Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1min 07.948secs
Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:08.165
Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:08.465
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:08.490
Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:08.733
Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:08.788
Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:09.146
Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:09.257
Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:09.402
Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 1:09.448
And welcome to our coverage for qualifying for the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. Or the Autodormo Jose Carlos Pace, as it is officially known. The drivers' title (the one that every fan cares about) has been decided but the constructors' title (the one that very few fans care about) is yet to be confirmed. Mercedes are heavy favourites for that, needing to score just 31 points in the next two races to seal it.
To do it in Brazil they need to outscore Ferrari by 20 points. A 1-2 makes that possible and even likely but any other result for them and it will be a bit more difficult, unless Ferrari run into trouble. Still, it looks like a formality, so it should either be tomorrow or two weeks Sunday that Mercedes wrap it up.
As ever, with the drivers' title decided we have to look a little deeper for sub plots as well as analysing what went wrong for the losers this season and looking towards 2019. Before that we still have the matter of qualifying to get on with. And a grand prix is still a grand prix. Valtteri Bottas will be one driver desperate to win his first grand prix of 2018. It was at Interlagos where he took pole in 2017. He didn't win, though.
After three sessions of practice it looks tight at the top, as ever, with Verstappen fastest in FP1, Bottas fastest in FP2 and Vettel fastest in third and final practice. There's a chance of rain towards the end of qualifying, so that could spice things up, as they say.
Hamilton had a problem with a breather pipe becoming dislodged (from his car, obviously) in FP3, which caused some concern at his team. But Mercedes found the problem and sorted it fairly quickly, the Englishman getting back out on track soon after. I will be here for the next couple of hours with all the build-up, latest updates and reaction from qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.