Valtteri Bottas on Formula One Brazil pole as Lewis Hamilton crashes out

It was a nice lap, but it was close with Sebastian (Vettel).

This allowed Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas to snatch pole position away by a slender margin, leaving Vettel to settle for P2 on the grid in Brazil.

Hamilton said gunshots were fired and a member of the team had a firearm held to their head when a minibus was ambushed outside Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo on Friday night.

Vettel looked poised to claim a record-equalling third Interlagos pole after leading after the opening runs in Q3, only to fail to improve on his second and final run.

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And last year a Mercedes team member was held up at gunpoint in Mexico while travelling from the airport to his hotel. "Please say a prayer for my guys who are here as professionals today even if shaken", wrote Hamilton.

Brazil has a constant issue of law and order and there have been similar incidents in previous years.

It is not the first time the Brazilian Grand Prix has been marred by threats against F1 teams and drivers. "First of all I'm happy everyone is in one piece and nothing physical happened to anyone but it was a pretty bad situation to be in, and I'm happy everybody is still here".

New Zealand formula one driver Brendon Hartley has qualified 17th fastest in practice sessions for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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Lewis Hamilton has no plans to switch from car No.44 to No.1 next year after securing his fourth Formula One world title this year.

The Brit lost the rear of his Mercedes through Turn 6 and and could do very little to stop the car from veering off the track and into the wall.

Three Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint on the same evening.

"I spoke with them this morning and I said we were going to put it on pole position and cheer everyone up, so I'm glad we did that", Bottas explained. Meanwhile personnel from the FIA, the sport's governing body, were also caught up in a separate incident, but escaped unharmed.

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