x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Vettel fourth in qualifying at Brazilian Grand Prix

Red Bull driver feels he could have done better while title rival Alonso is eighth on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton topped the pole one last time for McLaren yesterday.
Lewis Hamilton topped the pole one last time for McLaren yesterday.

SAO PAOLO // Sebastian Vettel, having qualified only fourth ahead of today's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, sat deep in concentration staring at the timing sheets. His eyes are on the prize.

Red Bull Racing's German driver leads the world championship standings by 13 points and knows he is only two hours away from securing a third successive title. So long as he does not move backwards this afternoon, success will be his.

Yet having produced his worst qualifying drive since September's Italian Grand Prix and heavy rain being forecast to hit Interlagos mid-race, the 25 year old knows his job is far from done.

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole in his final race before moving to Mercedes-GP next season, while McLaren-Mercedes teammate Jenson Button and Red Bull's Mark Webber will all start ahead of Vettel.

"I've come out of qualifying and I could have done a little bit better," he said. "But we've had 19 races so far and this is just another one."

Vettel insists he is fighting for the race win not simply to finish fourth, but he must also exert caution. Fernando Alonso, the only driver mathematically capable of denying the German a title victory, will start from eighth, while his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa will start one place behind Vettel in fifth.

Alonso said his qualifying position was not surprising having finished in similar positions during the past two race weekends. "We'll try to reach the podium like in Abu Dhabi and Austin, but we need some strange circumstances," the Spaniard said.

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