Lewis Hamilton said crashing out of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix shows he is “human” but he is determined to have “fun” from the back of the grid tomorrow.
Hamilton, who clinched his fourth Formula One title at the last race in Mexico, lost control of his Mercedes at 160mph through turn six of the Interlagos circuit before thudding into the tyre barrier.
The 32-year-old Englishman remained in his cockpit for some moments before informing his team that he was not injured in the high-speed smash.
Hamilton’s car sustained significant damage in the incident, and he will now start Sunday’s race, the penultimate of the season, from the back of the field.
He told Sky Sports F1: “It was very unusual for me. It just shows we are all human and things happen. I will try to have as much fun as possible tomorrow.”
Hamilton was reluctant to discuss the crash in detail, adding: “I am OK. I do not know what happened really. It is what it is. Of course it is unfortunate. Challenges make life interesting.
“I am just going to try and take what level of negativity comes from that experience and grow from it.”
Valtteri Bottas took advantage of Hamilton’s demise to beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position.
Bottas edged out Vettel by just four hundredths of a second to land his first pole since July’s Austrian Grand Prix. Hamilton was on hand to congratulate his Mercedes team-mate.
“It is a good feeling,” said Bottas, who is just 15 points behind Vettel in the race for second place in this year’s championship. “It was a nice lap and I was so close with Sebastian through qualifying so it was great to get a good lap in.
“Lewis was out at the beginning which is a shame for us, but I stood up for the team.”
Kimi Raikkonen will line up in third on the grid ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth, but he will be demoted to the back of the grid following a series of engine penalties.
Ricciardo’s penalty promotes Force India’s Sergio Perez to fifth, with McLaren driver Fernando Alonso to line up in sixth.