Sebastian Vettel proved that come rain or shine nothing can stop him as he grabbed the 45th pole position of his career ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Miserable, wet conditions shrouded Interlagos throughout all three qualifying segments but come the conclusion it was four-time world champion Vettel who again came out on top.
In the unstoppable Red Bull, Vettel finished six tenths of a second quicker than Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso over a second back in third.
Following a wet final practice session, the rain relented prior to the start of qualifying, allowing the track to dry in places. However, 30 minutes ahead of the first qualifying period light rain again began to fall, resulting in a queue of cars in the pit lane as the clock counted down towards the start.
Hamilton was the first to cross the line with a lap of one minute 25.342secs, a time that was unable to be bettered as the conditions steadily worsened.
Nine minutes into the initial 20-minute run the rain's intensity was such that all 22 cars headed back into the pits knowing they would be unable to improve.
The final few minutes, with the rain ebbing and flowing, saw a number of the backmarkers take to the track.
Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen was the big winner, vaulting himself away from potential danger up to fifth, whilst Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne clambered out of the bottom six.
That dropped Pastor Maldonado to 17th, the Venezuelan in his last race for Williams ahead of a potential move to Lotus that could be announced as early as Sunday.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez will line up 18th, whilst there were no surprises with the bottom four. Caterham duo Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde start 19th and 20th, with Pic and Max Chilton on the back row.
Come the start of the 15-minute middle session, fortunes fluctuated as the rain ebbed and flowed and whether there was enough heat in the intermediate tyres.
Kovalainen just missed out on a place in Q3 by 0.015secs to Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, the Finn starting 10th ahead of Force India’s Paul Di Resta. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas lines up 13th ahead of Sergio Perez.