x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Vettel continues F1 dominance unabated with season’s final pole

Sebastian Vettel had the fastest lap at 1 minute, 26.479 seconds, setting him up in prime position for a ninth consecutive victory this season on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel had to navigate wet practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday. Felipe Dana / AP
Sebastian Vettel had to navigate wet practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday. Felipe Dana / AP

SAO PAULO, Brazil // Sebastian Vettel saved his best for last on Saturday to produce a perfectly-timed fastest lap in treacherous wet conditions and take pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion steered his Red Bull through streams of running water amid plumes of spray for his ninth pole of the season, the 45th of his career and his team’s eighth pole in succession

Vettel clocked a best lap of one minute and 26.479 seconds to finish seven-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.

He was more than a second clear of third-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and his own team-mate, retirement bound Australian Mark Webber.

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, was fifth in the second Mercedes ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus, Daniel Ricciardo and his Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Local hero Felipe Massa, who leaves Ferrari after this weekend’s contest, was ninth and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber 10th on an afternoon of heavy rain, lengthy delays and only one major accident that saw Mexican Sergio Perez slide his McLaren into the barriers.