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F1: Lewis Hamilton tops Sebastian Vettel to get pole position at Brazilian GP

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SAO PAULO (AP) World champion Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, boosting Mercedes’ chance of winning the Formula One constructors’ championship.

Hamilton clocked a record 1 minute, 7.281 seconds around Interlagos, edging Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 0.093 seconds.

Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was third, and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Mercedes leads Ferrari in the constructors’ championship by 55 points. The Brazilian race is the penultimate GP of the season.

“I’m really happy to be in Brazil,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got (Ayrton) Senna” design on the back of my helmet. I appreciate the love I get here.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who won the Mexican GP two weeks ago, was fifth, and teammate Daniel Ricciardo sixth.

Ricciardo, however, will start five positions behind because of a penalty after his team had to replace his turbocharger for the sixth time this season. The Australian driver, who was on pole in Mexico, also started from the back in Italy and Russia because of penalties.

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F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.