Lewis gets in the way

Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position in his last race for McLaren in Brazil on Saturday while Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel qualified well ahead of Ferrari title rival Fernando Alonso. Vettel will start the season-ending race in fourth place, a position good enough to secure his third title in a row if he keeps it in what promises to be a rain-lashed race at Interlagos on Sunday.

The 25-year-old German is sure to move up a place soon enough in the race, with Australian team mate Mark Webber starting alongside in third place and in no doubt about what he will be expected to do. "All in all we are in good shape and we have been competitive and we will see what we can do tomorrow," said Vettel, who made a mistake on his first run in the final session.

Alonso, 13 points adrift of Vettel, has to finish on the podium to have any hope of taking his third title and the Spaniard gave himself a mountain to climb with eighth place on the starting grid. He could move up a place, however, with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado qualifying sixth but set to face the stewards after missing a weighbridge in the second phase of qualifying. Alonso can also count on the support of his Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa, who qualified fifth at his home circuit but is sure to let the title contender go past when the opportunity arises.

"Ninth in USA and eighth here so more or less as I expected," Alonso told reporters. "I will try to achieve the podiums which we achieved in Abu Dhabi and Austin from those positions."

Hamilton's pole, the 26th of his career, was McLaren's first in Brazil since Mika Hakkinen in 2000 and the Briton will start next to Jenson Button in the team's 62nd front-row lockout. "I think the weather will be tricky tomorrow, it will make it more of a lottery," said Hamilton, who is moving to Mercedes next season after what will be an emotional farewell to a team that has been part of his life since he was 13 years old. "We've put ourselves in a really good position to do the best job we can do. We need to work together as a team. We'll make sure we do absolutely everything to get the job done."

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