Hamilton blisters Interlagos circuit for Brazilian Grand Prix pole (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton has scored a decisive pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, following qualifying on Saturday.

The Mercedes driver clocked a staggering best time of 1:10.736 at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos) in cloudy conditions to lead the way and secure his 11th pole of the year.

He hadn’t won a pole at Brazil since 2012; this one is the 60th of his career at a circuit he has never won. This is also Mercedes’ 19th pole from 20 races this year, a new record in Formula 1 history.

These match times set in the mid-1:10 bracket in 2004, in the V10 era of Formula 1, compared to the current V6 turbo hybrid era (Rubens Barrichello ran a 1:10.646 in 2004 for pole).

With his teammate Nico Rosberg alongside, the stage is set for the run to Turn 1 and the question of whether Rosberg will in fact be able to secure the World Championship on Sunday – he can win it with a win – or if Hamilton will delay the proceedings until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix a fortnight from now.

Hamilton delivered the stunning first lap of the Q3 session while Rosberg came up short, and no one else got within six tenths on their opening runs.

In their final runs, Hamilton improved to a 1:10.736, even quicker than his first lap of 1:10.860, while Rosberg went quicker still to 1:10.838.

Behind them, Kimi Raikkonen impressed to get third ahead of Max Verstappen, so the two year-long sparring partners will start side-by-side on row two and ahead of their Ferrari and Red Bull teammates. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo start fifth and sixth just behind them on row three.

Romain Grosjean has an excellent seventh on the grid for Haas in only his second Q3 appearance of the year, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez of Force India and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completing the top 10 – the latter in a welcome return to form after the “Places Alonso Would Rather Be” meme emerged at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix and again in a new way with his cameraman antics on Friday.

Qualifying looked set to feature some rain, but the weather gods held off and the session ran under cooler temperatures with heavy clouds.

Hamilton put in his initial banker of 1:11.511 on his first lap to lead Q1, while the story further down the pack was whether Sebastian Vettel would make it out after his Ferrari team found a hydraulic and brake issue less than an hour before the session started.

Vettel did make it out with a little more than 10 minutes remaining and easily made it into the top 16 in the session, which was enough to ensure he advanced into Q2.

Those not as fortunate were Jenson Button (by just 0.017 of a second) in what could well be his final Brazilian Grand Prix – the last race the McLaren driver won back in 2012 – along with Haas-bound Kevin Magnussen of Renault, then the two Manor and two Sauber drivers. Felipe Nasr will start 22nd and last for his home Grand Prix, having been outqualified by his teammate Marcus Ericsson; he’d qualified 11th last year for his maiden Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton lowered the mark to 1:11.238, clear by Rosberg of 0.135 of a second on their first runs in Q2. That lap was even quicker than last year’s pole time of 1:11.282, set by Rosberg.

Further down the order, the bottom of the top 10 changed quite a bit in the waning moments, and ended in disappointment for hometown hero Felipe Massa.

Massa in his Williams got bounced following late fliers by Fernando Alonso in his McLaren and Romain Grosjean in Haas, and he’ll roll off an unlucky 13th for his final Brazilian Grand Prix. This marks Massa’s worst start at the Brazilian Grand Prix, and first time outside the top 10 since then driving for Sauber as a 20-year-old rookie in only his second ever Grand Prix in 2002, when he started 12th.

Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas missed Q3 by 0.06 of a second to lead those knocked out in Q2. He’ll start 11th, ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, Massa, the two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr., and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.

Hamilton led off Q3 with a staggering 1:10.860 lap and Rosberg could only counter with a 1:11.022. As noted, times improved above in the final runs.

You can watch Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix from 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Extreme E reveals competition format for its global races next season

Extreme E
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Extreme E, a new series that will raise awareness about climate change by racing electric SUVs around the world, unveiled its competition format Friday.

The five-race environmentally conscious series will begin next season with races held in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil.

Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport are among the eight teams that will race in the series. Each team will have a male and female driver who alternate in each event.

ELECTRIC APPEAL: Why Ganassi is going to the Extreme E

In the details provided Friday, the two-day events will feature two qualifying races Saturday and two semifinals and a final round Sunday. Each race is two laps: One driven by the male driver and the other by the female. Results are based on finishes, not times.

The first semifinal is slotted with Saturday’s top four qualifiers, and the top three finishers advance to the final. The second semifinal (also known as the “Crazy Race”) will feature the last four qualifiers with the winner advancing to the final.

Click here to see the details of Extreme E’s sporting format.

Here’s the release from Extreme E:

29 May, London: Extreme E, the revolutionary electric off-road racing series, has outlined the race format for its five-event adventure to some of the most formidable, remote and spectacular locations across the globe, starting early 2021.

The series has devised an innovative format unlike any other, likened to a Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, which is designed to break the mould in motorsport with all-action, short, sharp wheel-to-wheel racing, world-class drivers and teams, the cutting-edge ODYSSEY 21 electric SUV and its stunning, formidable environments, all firmly in focus.

Each race, which will be known as an X Prix, will incorporate two laps over a distance of approximately 16 kilometres. Four teams, with two drivers – one male, one female – completing a lap apiece in-car, will race head-to-head in each race over the two-day event.

Qualifying takes place on day one to determine the top four runners who will progress through into Semi-Final 1 and the bottom four competitors who will go on to take part in Semi-Final 2: the unique ‘Crazy Race’.

The Crazy Race will be a tooth-and-nail, all-or-nothing fight, with only the quickest team progressing into the Final, while the top three will make it through from Semi-Final 1. The winner of the Final – the fastest combination of team, drivers, car and engineers over the epic two-day battle – will then be crowned the X Prix Winner.

Another innovative feature is the Hyperdrive. This will award an additional boost of speed to the team who performs the longest jump on the first jump of each race. Hyperdrive power can be used by that team at any point in the race.

This initial format is designed to incorporate eight teams, and can be adapted to accommodate additional entries.

Teams will field one male and one female driver, promoting gender equality and a level playing field amongst competitors. Each driver will complete one lap behind the wheel, with a changeover incorporated into the race format.

The teams will determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy and driver order selections are made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start-line. Contests between males and females will therefore be ensured.

X Prix circuits will also incorportate natural challenges that will leave viewers at the edge of their seats, and drivers and teams will be pushed right to the limits of their abilities; with hazards to navigate and defeat such as extreme gradients, jumps, banks, berms, pits, dunes and water splashes.

Alejandro Agag, Extreme E Founder and CEO, said: “Extreme E is a championship like nothing else that has come before in sport. Its goal and objective is to accelerate innovation and tackle climate change head on using transportation.

“Creating this innovative sporting format, which we’re likening to Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, is vital in order to engage the next generation of motorsport fans. We hope our fans will enjoy the short, sharp, wheel-to-wheel racing this format has been built around, and with our high performance electric vehicle, driver changeover, the Hyperdrive feature, and the Crazy Race qualification format, there is plenty to watch out for, and many chances for positions to change hands, Our races really will go right to the wire.”

Extreme E’s cutting-edge 550-horsepower, ODYSSEY 21, incorporates a number of innovations to enable it to cope with all the rigours of racing over the toughest terrain, where no car has raced before. The battery-electric, 400kw (550hp), 1650-kilogram, 2.3-metre wide E-SUV is bespoke from the ground up. Capable of firing from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent.

It is made up of a common package of standardised parts, manufactured by Spark Racing Technology with a battery produced by Williams Advanced Engineering. This encompasses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, as well as crash structure and roll cage, whilst tyres, for both extreme winter and summer requirements, supplied by founding partner Continental Tyres.

As well as being used as platform for equality and illutstrating the capabilities of electric vehicle technology, Extreme E will highlight the impact that climate change is having on its remote race locations, using a committee of leading scientists to help bring global attention to issues such as deforestation in Brazil, rising sea levels along the West African coastline, melting Arctic icecaps in Greenland, and more.

The championship will announce further drivers, teams and partners over the coming weeks as it builds towards its early 2021 start-date apace.