Saturday, November 24, 2012

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix: Hamilton Takes Pole While Alonso Hopes for Rain

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24: Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (C) of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates with second-placed Jenson Button (R) of Great Britain and McLaren and third-placed Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing following qualifying for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
For the first time since Canada 2010, McLaren dominated Q3 as teammates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button locked out the two Championship contenders with Hamilton taking pole. Hamilton set a time of 1:12.458s, just .055 quicker than Button. In Round 20, the final race of the 2012 Formula One season, Red Bull's Driver Championship contender Sebastian Vettel starts in fourth. Challenger Fernando Alonso of Ferrari qualified eighth, but Romain Grosjean's 10-grid penalty for receiving his third five-grid penalty of the season moves Alonso up to seventh, just three grid spots behind rival Vettel.  

Red Bull secures second row with Mark Webber in third. When asked pointedly if he would help his teammate win a third consecutive title, Webber replied, ''I think that we'll focus on ourselves tomorrow. The weather will maybe be tricky and its a long Grand Prix, so Ill just focus on my efforts and try to get to the finish as quickly as possible.'' He added, ''In the last race of the season it would have been good to get pole, but fair play to McLaren.''  

Third row with grid spots five and six go to Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg respectively. Alonso, as mentioned above, sits in seventh directly behind teammate Massa with Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen on the inside. Massa has out-qualified his teammate several times this year and is on home turf. A podium here, though unlikely, would be a boon to the Brazilian.

Rounding out the top ten grid spots at ninth and tenth are Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Paul de Resta (Force India).

The final starting grid spots in order are:

11- Bruno Senna (Williams)
12- Sergio Perez (Sauber)
13- Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
14- Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
15- Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
16- Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
17- Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
18- Romain Grosjean (Lotus
19- Vitaly Petrov (Caterham)
20- Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham)
21- Timo Glock (Marussia)
22- Charles Pic (Marussia)
23- Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)
24- Pedro de la Rose (HRT)

Conditions at Interlagos can be tricky. Qualifying started with rain and ended with a warm sunny finish. The forecast for tomorrow is for rain as well. You can check for hourly conditions here.

Formula One math for the Drivers Championship: 
  • If Sebastian Vettel comes in fourth or higher, he will win the Championship even if Alonso wins the race. 
  • If Vettel comes in fifth through seventh and Alonso does not podium, Vettel wins.
  •  If Alonso fails to podium, Vettel wins.
  • If Vettel finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso fails to podium, the Championship goes to Vettel.
On the other hand: 
  • If Alonso wins the race and Vettel comes in fifth or lower, Alonso wins the Championship. 
  • If Alonso is second and Vettel comes in eighth or lower, Alonso wins. 
  • If Alonso podiums at third and Vettel comes in tenth or lower, again, the Championship will go to Alonso. 
There are so many different scenarios that can be affected by so many different factors: weather, reliability, collisions, a good break at the starting grid - it is impossible to predict who will win the Drivers Championship. I do know that it should be an exciting race whether wet or dry and whether Vettel or Alonso emerges with the coveted title.

Racing begins at 10:00 Central on November 25th. Please look to SkirtsandScuffs.com for your race results, quotes and race recap.

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