Lewis Hamilton followed his sailing contest in Mexico with an additional statement of authority by taking a pole to the Brazilian Grand Prix thanks to an infinite lap at Interlagos. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was in second and kept his seat after a two-hour delay as the trustee investigated him for violation of the rules. Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas was third.
Hamilton put in two sparkling laps in the last session, none of which could be matched, and he took a pole with a new track record at 1min 7.281sec. He was a tenth of Vettel and rightly proud of a performance that reflects a superlative season.
"It was so close to us, we needed 100% today, not 99," he said. "I was very pleased with my lap and I think we did a good job collectively as a team to get a pole today. We had to do a lot of work overnight and the team was flawless with their efforts."
Vettel, whose temper has been questioned after his championship campaign, stymied by a series of errors, turned out to be almost impetuous during the session. German was referred to the trustees after he did not shut off his engine when he boarded the road maintenance during the second quarter, causing damage to the unit.
Vettel was anxious to complete the process as soon as possible to put a knee before the rain became heavier and could have been disqualified. "They should not call us when the terms change, it's unfair to call us," he said.
The Ferarri driver had a tense wait for the trustee's decision before receiving a reprimand and a fine of € 25,000 (21,843), because he did not follow the instructions from the officials. The driver's title is already over, but ongoing misjudgment when under pressure is something he has to pick up if he is going to challenge the championship next season.
There was better news on McLaren. The team, who is in a terrible season, gave at least Fernando Alonso a reason to feel optimistic when they announced he will drive for them next year Indy 500. Alonso, who finished 18, who leaves F1 at the end of this year competed in Indy 2017. With victories in Monaco and Le Mans, he tries to add the last part of the motorsport triple crown by securing a victory at Brickyard.
With Hamilton securing his fifth title in Mexico, at a race where Mercedes was gone, his 10th post is a strong return to shape.
He secured a 100th pole to Mercedes and there are still unfinished stores for the British driver and his team in Brazil.
Mercedes has not yet completed the championship championship and Hamilton has been clear that he wants to make sure they do. Currently 55 points in front of Ferrari with 86 available from the last two races, Ferrari must outperform Mercedes with 13 points to take the match to the last round in Abu Dhabi.
Should Mercedes secure the title, they will correspond to Ferrari's record of five consecutive driver and constructor championships, which they achieved with Michael Schumacher between 2000 and 2004.
However, it can not be easy. Vettel and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who were fourth, put their times on soft tires during the second quarter, giving them more strategic options over their rivals, all of which will start on super-soft rubber. It was a perfect timed, bold and tactical decision by Ferrari, who can still prove inspired.