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Hamilton heads McLaren lock-out at Interlagos

NEWS STORY
24/11/2012

Based on the evidence thus far this weekend, Fernando Alonso's hopes of snatching the 2012 crown will depend on any one of a number of factors; the intervention of the weather gods, an overzealous move at the start by the likes of Romain Grosjean or Pastor Maldonado, or the German suffering a technical failure. For the likelihood of the Ferrari out-pacing and beating the Red Bull, based on what we've seen so far is becoming increasingly remote.

Leaving aside Messrs Grosjean and Maldonado, Alonso can at least take some comfort from the fact that not only are the experts continuing to forecast rain for tomorrow, in the Red Bull garage there is feverish work going on in terms of his rivals' car.

However, as important as the title race may be, there are other involved in this race, others who have their own reasons to do well, be it, like Hamilton, to end a relationship with a team on a high, or, like Kobayashi to prove to his employers that they made a mistake in not retaining him. Then there are those drivers still to secure a berth for next season.

Despite the passion of the fans, Formula One is not a sentimental sport and while we face the prospect of losing HRT, Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen and Pedro de la Rosa, the sport moves on. The King is dead, long live the King.

With Hamilton quickest in both of yesterday's sessions and Button quickest this morning, McLaren has to go into this afternoon's session as favourite to take pole and subsequently the race. However, with a mind on the weather predictions for tomorrow, Vettel will want to be as far to the front as possible.

Other than the big guns watch out for Grosjean and the Force India duo, while Michael Schumacher would dearly love to go out on a high.

It's been a hectic couple of hours in the Lotus garage where the mechanics changed the engine in Kimi Raikkonen's car following his failure in this morning's session.

Half-an-hour before the start of Q1, it has begun to rain. Not too heavy, indeed the monitors claim it will end before the session begins, but the dark clouds around the circuit suggest otherwise.

Minutes before the start of Q1, the air temperature is 23 degrees C and the track temperature is 25 degrees. It has stopped raining and Ferrari claims the shower heading this way will in fact miss the circuit. The Italian team subsequently tweets that the forecast is changing very quickly. Such unpredictability will be a strategic nightmare for the teams and could result in some big hitters falling at the first hurdle.

Bernie Ecclestone heads down the pitlane and heads into the Mercedes garage with a birthday card for Ross Brawn who was 58 yesterday.

The lights go green and Kovalainen, Rosberg Petrov, de la Rosa, Glock and others get to work. The track is damp but not too wet, that said, Kovalainen runs wide, as does Karthikeyan. A mixture of prime and options.

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