Bottas on pole after Hamilton crashes out

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas celebrates getting pole position with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen after qualifying in the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday. — Reuters

SAO PAULO — Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday after Mercedes teammate and newly-crowned four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed without setting a lap time.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will join the Finn on the front row of the starting grid with his Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen third and Red Bull's Max Verstappen fourth.

Hamilton, who clinched his fourth world championship in Mexico two weeks ago, had been hoping for a 12th pole of the season but spun into the barrier at turn seven in the opening session.

It looked a simple mistake by Britain's most successful racing driver of all time, and last year's winner from pole at Interlagos.

Hamilton will now have to fight back through the field for the second race in a row.

Bottas had earlier denied Hamilton a sweep of the Brazilian Grand Prix practice timesheets with the fastest time in Saturday's final session.

The Finn lapped the Interlagos circuit in one minute 09.281 seconds, a mere 0.003 quicker than four-times Formula One world champion Hamilton who had been fastest throughout Friday.

Hamilton set a track record of 1:09.202 in Friday's first session.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were a close third and fourth, with the top four split by just 0.058 of a second.

Both championships have already been won, with Hamilton wrapping up his fourth world title in Mexico at the end of last month.

Mercedes clinched their fourth successive constructors' championship in Texas in October with three races to spare.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull, but will have a 10-place grid penalty after later qualifying, and McLaren's Fernando Alonso sixth.

Hamilton, last year's winner in Brazil, will be going for his 12th pole of the season and 73rd of his career. — Reuters