• Brazilian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton leads McLaren front row, Vettel fourth and Alonso seventh

Laurence Edmondson at Interlagos November 24, 2012

Lewis Hamilton took pole position as part of a McLaren front-row lockout at the Brazilian Grand Prix as championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso only managed fourth and seventh respectively.

Mark Webber will start third behind the McLarens and ahead of his team-mate Vettel who had looked quick in Q2 but struggled to hook up a lap in the final session. Alonso, who needs to outscore Vettel by 14 points on Sunday, also struggled and was 0.795s off Hamilton by the end of the session back in seventh.

Alonso will have Nico Hulkenberg directly ahead of him with his team-mate Felipe Massa starting fifth behind Vettel. Alonso benefits from a penalty for Pastor Maldonado, who missed a call in to the weighbridge during Q2 which earned him his third reprimand of the season. The automatic ten-place grid penalty which results from three reprimands relegated Maldonado from his sixth place on the grid to 16th.

Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta rounded off the top ten, with Raikkonen just 0.045s shy of knocking Alonso back another row - an impressive performance having missed out on FP3 with an engine failure.

Bruno Senna will start 11th ahead of Sergio Perez. In his final qualifying session of his career, Michael Schumacher could only manage 13th fastest and he will start ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, Daniel Ricciardo, Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Romain Grosjean dropped out in Q1 after making contact with Pedro de la Rosa's HRT as he attempted to pass near the pit lane entrance on the main straight. Grosjean lost his front wing against the HRT and had to trundle back to the pits for a replacement. He had time for one more lap, but couldn't improve enough to haul himself out of the bottom seven. Vitaly Petrov will start behind the Lotus in 18th and ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Narain Karthikeyan and de la Rosa.

Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1

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Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010