Lewis Hamilton takes crucial pole position in Brazil

Lewis Hamilton gives his thumb up after obtaining the pole position in the qualifying session of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 12, 2016. (Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has taken his 11th pole position of 2016 at a critical point in the Formula One World Championship.

With Nico Rosberg having a 19-point lead over Hamilton with just two races left to go, Hamilton can’t afford to have Rosberg win, as that would solidify the title for the German.

The good news for the Brit, is he was able to make it count in Q3, as he turned a 1:10.736 around the Interlagos circuit in Brazil to edge Nico Rosberg by 0.102 seconds.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen qualified in third while the Red Bull of Max Verstappen will start alongside him in fourth. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth and sixth respectively.

While there was a threat of rain throughout the entire session, it never came, and Q1 started relatively uneventfully with the “usual suspects” being knocked out, although there was disappointment for McLaren’s Jenson Button who could only manage 17th on the grid.

The team that was left disappointed after Q2 was Williams, with both Valtteri Bottas and home favorite Felipe Massa failing to advance into the final session. Also eliminated were the Toro Rosso teammates, Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, although Romain Grosjean made it through.

Esteban Ocon was handed a three-place grid penalty for holding up Jolyon Palmer during qualifying, dropping him from 20th to last.

Unofficial qualifying results:

1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
3. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
4. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
5. Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari
6. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull
7. Romain Grosjean – Haas
8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India
9. Sergio Perez – Force India
10. Fernando Alonso – McLaren
11. Valtteri Bottas – Williams
12. Esteban Gutierrez – Haas
13. Felipe Massa – Williams
14. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso
15. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso
16. Jolyon Palmer – Renault
17. Jenson Button – McLaren
18. Kevin Magnussen – Renault
19. Pascal Wehrlein – Manor
20. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber
21. Felipe Nasr – Sauber
22. Esteban Ocon – Manor (after 3-place penalty)