Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix from a qualifying session in which Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed on the first lap.

Hamilton, who won his fourth Formula One championship two weeks ago in Mexico, walked away from the car without appearing injured and will start at the back of the grid on Sunday [12 November].

Bottas will be shooting for this third victory this season to match wins in Russia and Austria.

He set an Interlagos track record of one minute 8.322 seconds. Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was second, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari third, and Max Verstappen of Red Bull fourth.

It's been a tough weekend for Mercedes. Several team members — Hamilton was not present — were held up at gun point on Friday [10 November]. There were no injuries, and the team reported watches and passports being stolen when a team van was attacked.

"It feels good," said pole-sitter Bottas. "It was so close with Seb all through qualifying. It's a shame Lewis went out but I'm happy I could do a good job for the team. Avoiding mistakes will be crucial tomorrow as well as a good start. I'm really looking forward to it."

Speaking on Hamilton's early crash, the Silver Arrows' non-executive chairman Nikki Lauda said: "Mistakes can happen. Lewis is very upset. I have no problem with it. For Bottas what a fantastic result. We're positively surprised to beat Vettel. Bottas came back in massive top form."

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton crashed out on the first lap of qualifying but Mercedes are still on the front row in Brazil. Getty Images