Lewis Hamilton has blamed the sudden change in climactic conditions
at the end of São Paulo Grand Prix qualifying as the reason why he
failed to challenge for pole position at Interlagos. The Mercedes
driver’s best lap was only good enough for fifth quickest, his
effort finishing 0.742s off the pole lap set by Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and his rivals had only one attempt due to the impending
storm, which hit the track midway through Q3 and triggered red
flags with 4:12 left on the clock as dark clouds, heavy rain, and
thunderstorms battered the venue. Both Aston Martins will start
ahead of the Silver Arrow after getting in their laps earlier than
Hamilton, as did Charles Leclerc, who locks out the front row with
Verstappen. Hamilton not satisfied with lap Mercedes had secured a
one-two finish in this event last season but a repeat result looks
far from likely after the qualifying result. When asked if he was
satisfied with his lap, Hamilton said: “Fifth is never that good
[to start from], but hopefully we have a good race. “The car was
showing signs of decent performance, but we’re generally a couple
of tenths off the top guys. “The circumstances at the end… the
conditions probably meant we were further back.”

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