Lewis Hamilton may have already secured the 2017 Drivers’ Championship but there’s a battle going on for second place.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is currently 15 points ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, with just two races to go.
And with Hamilton crashing out of qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix, meaning he will start from the back of the grid on Sunday, there’s a great opportunity for either Vettel or Bottas to seize a maximum 25 points in Interlagos.
Bottas has the advantage after he claimed pole ahead of Vettel, beating the German by 0.038 seconds.
The Ferrari driver had been was quickest in the second part of qualifying but couldn’t improve his time on the final lap and Bottas gained the advantage.
A fifth title may be out of Vettel’s reach but don’t tell him that the final two races mean nothing.
How Rosberg reacted to Bottas beating him
The 30-year-old was devastated after learning Bottas had pipped him to pole on the final corner.
His complete reaction had to be bleeped out, but he can be heard saying: “Ahhhhhhh,” before uttering a word beginning with F. No prizes for guessing which one.
Onboard footage also shows Vettel banging his steering wheel after discovering the news. Check out the two clips below.
Vettel: 'I chickened out a bit on the brakes'
Vettel, who hasn’t won a race since July, would go on to admit he “chickened out” on his final qualifying run.
"For tomorrow I think its fine,” he said, per BBC Sport.
“I think I chickened out a bit on the brakes into Turn One on the final run. The lap was fine. I had time to find on the brakes into the final corner, which I got, but by then I was too far behind.
"But our long run looked good compared to Valtteri so I am feeling good for tomorrow."
Bottas: 'I got a clean lap'
Bottas, meanwhile, said he was happy to ensure Mercedes are represented on the front row.
"It was a nice lap," the Finn said. "It was so close with Sebastian. Got a clean lap in the end.
“Lewis was out and I am happy I was able to stand up for us as a team."
It’ll be interesting to see whether Bottas, who recently admitted he doesn’t like the title of being Mercedes’ number two driver, can cope with Vettel behind him.
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