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Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Saturday, 26 November 2011

Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying as it happened


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By Sam Sheringham

1730: Right then folks, I think it is time I said goodbye and pointed you in the direction of Andrew Benson's qualifying report. Thank you enormously for your company and all those texts and tweets, and apologies for the many thousands of them I simply didn't have time to use. We'll be back tomorrow at around 1430 GMT to guide you through the final race of the season. I'm keen to hear about all your highs and lows from 2011, so save them up and ping them my way tomorrow. Until then, goodnight.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton: "It's a little bit disappointing. We're still on the second row but I would have liked to have been stronger. I'm not too happy with my performance. I just wasn't quick enough. I was a couple of tenths off Jenson [Button]. The Red Bulls were just massively quick. It's definitely a place where you're inspired because this is [Ayrton] Senna's home. I've started fourth quite a few times here. Four is a good number for me. Let's hope I can turn it into something more positive tomorrow."

Williams driver Rubens Barrichello: "It was a great feeling. It's been a tough year with car we've had. When you're home, life is a cycle, and you have to use it whenever it's on your side. It was a lap that was like a pole position lap with this car. Sunday is another 71 laps. I have to do that lap I did today 71 times. I hope we have a little bit of rain on Sunday. I'm sure the fans won't mind bringing their umbrellas for me."

McLaren's Jenson Button: "I'm enjoying the moment because this is my best qualifying here for the last six years. I always love racing here; it's such a good circuit for fighting and overtaking. Whatever happens this has been a great season for us but just not quite good enough. Hopefully we can end on a high tomorrow."

Red Bull's Mark Webber: "I thought qualifying went well. The whole weekend, we've been strong. Seb did a good lap and my lap was pretty good which is very positive for tomorrow."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel: "There has been quite some talk before qualifying about this particular record and the best thing to do was not to think about it at all. We did have a rough start to the weekend where I was not 100% happy with the balance. But we made changes and I was happy. I put everything into my last lap and I was very emotional when I crossed the line because I knew whatever happened I gave it my all. It's really special. It's different than other poles. Obviously it took that master Nigel Mansell a couple of races less to do it but it is still very special to me. Now I'm just happy to be here and start from the front.

1712: Just to complete the top 10 picture for you, Felipe Massa will start seventh, Sutil eighth, Senna ninth and Schumacher 10th. But there's only one story today. Reaction from the record-breaker himself coming your way.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "It's remarkable. He's done it all year. He shared the record for two weeks with Nigel Mansell - it was such a record to beat so that is something really special. To have Mark up there as well is a great final qualifying of 2011. Sebastian enjoys the statistics & it's a small bit of history for him today. He should really enjoy this moment as there are some illustrious names that he now sits on top of for records for poles in one year."

1704: Mark Webber pipped Jenson Button to second place on the grid. Webber was 0.181secs behind his team-mate, with Button 0.365secs back and Hamilton fourth at 0.562 behind Vettel. Fernando Alonso was 0.673 behind Vettel, with Nico Rosberg 1.132 back.

1701: What a sensational final lap from Vettel to set a new record of 15 pole positions in a single season. "Yes baby. We've got it. This feels incredible," he screams over the team radio.

Chequered flag

1659: Adrian Sutil goes into seventh place with a 1:13.348, Schumacher is out there now, as is Vettel, with Hamilton the last of the top-runners to go for pole...

1658: We have no times yet from Schumacher, Massa and Senna. Button is running in third place, with Alonso fourth and Hamilton fifth.

1656: No steady supermarket trips for Vettel as he lays down a formidable marker with a lap of 1:12.268, 0.250 ahead of his closest rival Webber. "That's amazing, compared to the rest of the times we've seen this weekend." says Brundle.

1654: A very slow 1:16.581 from Rosberg and it looks like Hamilton is just warming up his tyres as he gently ambles round the track in 1:17.588, like a Sunday jaunt to Sainsburys.

1651: Nico Rosberg is the first man out followed by Lewis Hamilton. You are going to miss this, aren't you?

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado who will start 18th: "We have gone another way in terms of set-up compared to [team-mate] Rubens [Barrichello]. We hope it's going to rain on Sunday as we have put on another wing and used a different set-up for those conditions. On option tyres, we didn't find a great balance and we've been penalised for that."

1649: The 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has been chatting to our boys in Brazil. The 40-year-old is often linked to a return to F1 but he reckons he's not "actively looking" at the moment. Before he goes back to his lunch, Villeneuve has a quick word on Sebastian Vettel's success in 2011. "He's been amazing and has managed to control his team-mate which is the main thing."

1648: It was a German one-two in that mini-session with Nico Rosberg a surprise second behind Vettel. Mark Webber was third followed by the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Don't go anywhere. The final shootout of the season is on its way.

1645: Di Resta, Barrichello, Alguersuari, Buemi, Petrov, Kobayashi and Perez all go out in Q2.

1643: Paul Di Resta just misses out on Q3. It's not looking good for Barrichello either...

1642: Schumacher scrapes his way into the top 10 but he is not certain he is safe so he is going for another fastest lap.

1638: After a quick pit stop from all the drivers we are up and running again with just over three minutes of Q2 to go. Schumacher remains 11th, Di Resta 10th and the sun is shining.

Pirelli on Twitter: "Still no rain but apparently it's coming. Then again, so is Christmas."

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "At the moment, Force India are looking like the team most likely to get into the top 10 shootout along with the big four teams."

1634: It's early days but Michael Schumacher could be one of the fall guys in Q2, as he sits in 11th place at the moment. We are on board with Lewis Hamilton as he struggles in the middle sector but does manage to go up into fourth place. Felipe Massa remains a fair way off the pace in eighth, while Paul Di Resta is 10th right now.

1632: Here come the fast times, with Vettel currently top of the pops with 1:12.446. Nico Rosberg is second, followed by Button, Webber, Hamilton and Alonso.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "We're hearing that Kimi Raikkonen will not race for Williams next season."

1629: No rest for the wicked. Second qualifying is under way at Interlagos, with the nearest shower apparently 2.5km away.

Virgin Racing's Jerome D'Ambrosio on his future: "At the moment there are discussions going on but nothing is fixed. I can't say anything now but hopefully I'll be on the grid. That's what I'm fighting for."

Virgin Racing's Timo Glock: "It was a catastrophic Saturday. I couldn't manage to do a lap on the soft tyre this morning because they were going off after half a lap. We changed the set up for qualifying but we still struggled. That's racing."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "To pick up on David Coulthard's remarks below about McLaren reserve Pedro de la Rosa getting a drive at HRT for the next two years, I've just been speaking to the Spaniard. He's full of enthusiasm for the task ahead - he says it's just what he has been waiting for. He's fed up with the current lack of testing, which means he just doesn't get to drive the car, which means if he did have to stand in for Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button he wouldn't be ready to do so, despite his many hours in the simulator. De la Rosa, who is one of F1's good guys, says McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh called him mad for going to the back-of-the-grid team at the age of 40, but was very understanding of his desire to get out of his contract so he can get back to racing."

1623: Maldonado, Kovalainen, Trulli, Liuzzi, Ricciardo, D'Ambrosio and Glock bow out of qualifying in Q1.

1621: Pastor Maldonado fails to make it through to Q2 as McLaren take first and second. Full list coming up...

1618: Lewis Hamilton goes second behind his team-mate Jenson Button with a lap of 1:13.361. Webber is third and Adrian Sutil a surprise fourth. Pastor Maldonado is back in the drop zone.

1617: And Barrichello storms into ninth place with a rapid circuit on the soft tyres. Buemi is in the bottom six now after a terrible middle sector. Time is running out.

1615: A definite note of panic from the Mercedes team as they inform Rosberg that they think rain is on its way, as Maldonado hauls himself up to 14th place.

1613: Jenson Button sets a new fastest lap with a 1:13.281, followed by Webber and Vettel. It's not looking particularly pretty for Barrichello at the moment - he's 18th, one ahead of his team-mate Maldonado. We would expect at least one of the Williams to climb out of the drop zone when they go out on the soft tyres.

1609: There are definitely some heavy clouds heading towards Interlagos, but most of the track appears to be still bathed in sunshine. Pastor Maldonado of Williams is in the drop zone at the minute, along with the usual suspects.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "I think it will be close between Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso as to who will be the first big scalp in Q1."

1606: We think the drivers are panicking about the rain because they are pretty much all out the track at the same time desperately trying to post laps. Red Bull's radio say the rain is 5-10km away and there man Vettel has gone top with a 1:13.687.

1604: A good start for Sebastien Buemi as he gets straight out there on the soft tyres and posts a 1:15.639, but he is slipping down the leaderboard as I write, with Lewis Hamilton currently in the lead.

1600: Qualifying 1 is under way. Last year Nico Hulkenberg pulled off a shock to take pole for Williams in mixed conditions in Sao Paulo. 'I drove a perfect lap,' the German recalled this weekend. Despite his star turn in Brazil, the 24-year-old lost his Williams seat to Pastor Maldonado and has spent 2011 as a reserve at Force India. But will he be promoted to a race seat in 2012? BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan reckons it is "100%" that he will.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "Qualifying at Interlagos is always a close contest and today shouldn't be any different. It's the final one of the season and everybody wants to go into the winter break as top dog."

The sun is out
1557: We're having a good look at this fabulous circuit now and the packed stands at Interlagos. It still looks pretty sunny out there, but according to Martin Brundle, there is talk of a thunderstorm at some point this afternoon.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
David via text: "Nigel's pole conversion percentage was 87.5 and if Seb wins pole today his "RECORD BREAKING" percentage will be 83.3 recurring. So Nigel is still the man."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Thing are not going well at Sauber, who are only one point ahead of Toro Rosso in the battle for seventh in the constructors' championship - on which rests millions of pounds. Sergio Perez is struggling with problems with his brakes and team-mate Kamui Kobayashi has handling problems, and both are struggling to get pace out of the softer tyre. Meanwhile, the hydraulic problem that prevented Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi getting a lap in final practice has been fixed."

1547: Another gem on TV about team bosses and their personalities. My favourite bit was a shot of "Little Jack" (Christian) Horner as a boy speaking in a decidedly plummy voice about his desire to be an F1 driver.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "I've been for a quick scout around the paddock ahead of qualifying and there is no sign as yet of the threatened rain, although it's pretty humid. Former Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran, who was born here, was proof of that - his shirt was sticking to him as we chatted outside McLaren, which earned him a bit of stick from Jenson Button. 'Not been doing much training recently, mate?' Button laughed. 'The weather here's not actually that good, despite what people think,' De Ferran told me. 'It's either raining or sticky like this.'"

1545: A lovely little feature has just aired on BBC One about the young drivers looking for force their way into Formula 1 and their struggles to come up with the cash. Meanwhile, behind Jake and Eddie Jordan, we can see the Toro Rosso mechanics desperately trying to patch up Sebastien Buemi's motor with what looked like gaffer tape. Good luck lads, only 15 minutes to go.

1540: The counter-argument to our anonymous texter (below) is to emphasise the complete superiority of Mansell's car back in 1992, when the season was over 16 races. Anyway, I'm sure we'll be revisiting that debate a little later on, if Sebastian Vettel makes history.

Williams director of engineering Patrick Head: "We're paying the penalty for designing a car that is not good enough. We've been hovering just outside the points or sometimes a bit further away. When you get no points, you get the sort of season we've had. It's down to not doing good enough work over the winter and not doing good enough development work during the year."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Anonymous via text: "Re: Seb's possible record-breaking number of poles, he's had more opportunity for poles due to extra races in a season so its not fair to compare the two. In football, records are kept dependant on the number of games in a season."

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard on Pedro de la Rosa signing for HRT aged 40: "It's all down to the individual. We don't all age at the same rate. Having spoken to Pedro, I think he feels he has got unfinished business. Even if he knows he won't get wins, he knows it will at least take him on a journey to help him come to a fitting end to his racing career."

1529: One of the talking points from final practice was Sebastien Buemi's failure to post a time because of a hydraulic failure. The news from Toro Rosso is that they are investigating the problem and hopeful of getting him out for qualifying.

Brazilian Renault driver Bruno Senna: "The support is a help and everybody is giving me great support in Brazil. It's a great feeling and I'm excited about the race. Absolutely there is pressure, but the pressure is always there. In terms of my future, it all depends on what I'm doing on the track and if we can find some good backing for the team. I'm not fighting for Vitaly's [Petrov] seat, I'm fighting for the other seat. It's a pretty fierce fight."

1522: A gentle reminder to get in touch will me if you want to join in the chat. Send me a tweet to @samsheringham via the hashtag #BBCF1, or text us your views to 81111 (UK).

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "The local Paulista fans will cheer in their tens of thousands for home-town heroes Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa and Bruno Senna this weekend, but they will not be the only drivers with support in the grandstands. There is a banner out there this morning from a fan who has come from Patagonia in Argentina to back Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Right now, though, it doesn't look like he will have a lot to look forward to, for the Spaniard is downbeat about his chances this weekend. 'In a dry race we are maybe not competitive enough to fight with McLaren and Red Bull. Here it seems even more obvious we are fifth and sixth. Even the Mercedes are quite challenging for us as well coming from behind. So a normal race may be not easy, P5 in qualifying and maybe dreaming of the podium. In the rain it is much more open.'"

BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan: "McLaren are an outstanding team who are used to winning the championship. It's unthinkable that they started this season as badly as they did and they gave their drivers no platform to win the championship."

1516: Over on Beeb One, we are reliving the drama from last time out at Abu Dhabi, when Seb Vettel suffered a rear wheel failure on the first lap, paving the way for Lewis Hamilton to storm to victory. Lest we forget, this is a big qualifying session for Vettel as he chases a record-breaking 15th pole position of the year, to beat Nigel Mansell's record of 14 set back in 1992 with Williams. Anyone betting against him?

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "Brazilians are very emotional people and we see that in the way their drivers perform on the track. There's a huge following for Formula 1 in Brazil and when you're up on the podium, the grandstands really come alive."

1511: Lot's of chat about the weather then, and you can keep in touch with the latest forecast for Sao Paulo from the BBC Weather Centre. The BBC TV boys have just given us a guided tour around Lewis Hamilton's very stylish yellow and green helmet, inspired by his hero Ayrton Senna. The helmet will be auctioned off for the Ayrton Senna Foundation after the race.

Brazilian Grand Prix Forecast

Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "I think it will be a wet race. You never know here, but if you believe the forecast, there'll be quite a bit of rain on Sunday but you can't rely on that. We're pretty comfortable with where we are whether it's wet or dry."

1505: Straight in with shirt watch. Eddie Jordan is as bold and brash as ever with a blue-and-white polka dot number, while David Coulthard is sporting a blue checked number which I imagine would be readily available at some high street retailer or other. No sign of the predicted rain as yet.

1500: Sarnie munched, energy replenished and we are live with all the chat ahead of the final qualifying sessions of the season. BBC One are on air too. One hour to go.

1430: Right then, while you read Andrew Benson's report on first practice, it's time for me to seek out a quick cheese and pickle sarnie or some such fodder. I'll be back in half an hour for the run-up to qualifying. Toodle pip.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "There is an increasing trend in F1 for different teams to have 'technology transfer' arrangements in a bid to save money - for example Virgin's with McLaren and HRT's decision to buy gearboxes and Kers from Williams. I understand HRT are going a step further next year and their car will be designed by a company in Cologne that is co-owned by Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes and his chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. It's effectively the design office of the former Toyota team, which quit F1 at the end of 2009. To comply with the rules, there has to be proof that there is no sharing of information between Lotus (or Caterham as they will be next season) and HRT's design office."

1424: You mentioned Barrichello. Well, he clocked in a respectable 12th in final practice for what could be his final Grand Prix. Don't forget qualifying is coming up at 1600 GMT, with an hour of build-up set to start on BBC One at 1500.

Allie on Twitter: "Rubens should retire with dignity and race Le Mans, Indy 500 etc He sounds like he doesn't know what to do without f1."

1411: Now then, still nip and tuck between the Red Bulls and McLarens and plenty of ingredients for a very tasty qualifying session there, especially with the potential for some wet weather.

1406: So, the top nine drivers were covered by just a single second. Vettel is first, with Button second, Webber third, Hamilton fourth, then Alonso and a surprisingly quick Sutil. Massa could not set a lap on the soft tyres because he was caught in traffic so finished 10th, 1.123secs behind Vettel. Sebastien Buemi props up the field after failing to set a time because of a hydraulics problem with his Toro Rosso.

1403: Scores on the doors in a second, but just seen pictures of the cars of Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher saying a very friendly hello to each other at the exit of the pits. No contact though and they are good mates so I don't think we are in for another Hamilton-Massa mark II.

Chequered flag
1401: Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest time in third practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

1358: Lots of traffic out on the track now, which could be a problem in qualifying too on such a short circuit. Vettel shaves a bit more off his time as he posts a 1:12.460.

1356: And wouldn't you know it.... Sebastian Vettel shows who is the boss, taking 0.114secs off Hamilton's time to go top with a 1:12.508.

1355: Superb stuff from Lewis Hamilton as surpasses Alonso with a 1:12.622. Five minutes to go and most of them are out on the track now looking to post their fastest times of the session on the option tyres.

1351: And the Ferrari man, who has never won at Interlagos, becomes the first driver to break the 1 minute, 13 mark all weekend with a lap of 1:12.765.

1349: Force India's Adrian Sutil goes top with a 1:13.113 on the soft tyres. Most of the the other drivers are in the pits at the moment, but here comes Alonso for his last crack of the whip...

Renault on Twitter: "We're looking closely at the data from Bruno's engine to see if the earlier gremlin has disappeared."

1344: Just hearing about some tweaks in the McLaren garage. Jenson Button is moving some weight forward in his car, while Lewis Hamilton has added more front wing.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "It does seem that Vettel has found some pace in that car. Lewis Hamilton doesn't seem as happy as he did yesterday although it's hard to tell as he will be running on different fuel loads."

Force India on Twitter: "Some good runs completed on the mediums for Adrian and Paul. Currently P9 and P10 on the timesheets with 25 mins still to go."

1338: Vettel was on the medium tyres when he set the fastest time to date but most of the drivers are changing to the softs now, so expect some faster times.

Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi: "We know it's a hydraulics leak. We will try to fix it quickly but it's going to be difficult as we still don't know where the leak is. If we take off the floor to have a look, it'll take at least 15 minutes to get it back on."

1335: Vettel still tops the table, followed by Button, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher. Not a great session for Felipe Massa so far at the track where he has tasted victory twice in the past. He is eighth.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Stevie D in Barnsley via text: "It's ridiculous that this may be Rubino's last race. We need to know so, if it is, he can be given the send off he thoroughly deserves."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "One of the big talking points in F1 in the last few weeks has been whether former world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be making a return with Williams next season. But it's all gone a bit quiet on that front, and insiders say the prospects of it happening have receded significantly. German Adrian Sutil, who drives for Force India this season, is the new favourite to join Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado at Williams, who it is understood are not interested in keeping on Rubens Barrichello. Force India are expected to team Scot Paul di Resta with their current reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, who was on pole here in Brazil last year for Williams. Both Toro Rosso drivers are under threat, meanwhile, with the hot tip being Red Bull protégés Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne could both get drives there next year. And Jarno Trulli's seat at Lotus is also in doubt, despite the veteran Italian having a contract. Ricciardo has been linked with a drive there, as has current Renault reserve Romain Grosjean."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz on Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi's technical problem: "The team are furiously unbuttoning every panel on the car. It looks like engine and gearbox related. The car is now on the stands and he's getting out of the car. It looks like a big problem. It's the last thing he needs as it's his last chance to make a good impression for next year."

1326: Button's reign at the top is short-lived as Vettel clocks in at 1:13.186 as we approach the halfway point in this third and final qualifying session. Meanwhile news from Ted Kravitz of a "big problem" for Sebastien Buemi in his Toro Rosso. He's yet to set a time this session.

1321: Lots of movement at the top of the leaderboard as Vettel briefly tops the charts, before Button steals the No.1 spot with a circuit of 1:13.442.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Fernando Alonso is not going anywhere as his rear wing DRS (overtaking aid) is not working. The team have just finished replacing the actuator that opens the rear wing flap and are now screwing it back together. Alonso is sat at the back with his glasses on. He has lost a bit of time but he'll be out in a few minutes."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
MikeL via text: "I thought the helmet cam was a brilliant idea, would loved to see it used during a race, maybe an on online option."

1317: Vitaly Petrov's Renault goes top of the pops with a pacy 1:14.489 but here's Lewis... and Hamilton sets the fastest time with a lap of 1:13.988.

1314: Bruno Senna is the first man on the scoreboard with a time of 1:15.491 in his debut race at his home grand prix.

Jenson Button reports back from his installation run: "So you guys know, this visor is terrible. I can't see anything. It's like it's three weeks old. Can we get a new one?" No sooner said than done and the McLaren man changes his helmet and he'll go out soon for his first runs - where he can see properly.

1312: Just hearing that the new innovation known as "helmet cam" has been sent back to the developers. Shame that, I quite liked it. Gave you a real sense of the movement of a driver's head as they raced around the track. Did make you feel a bit queasy though.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "I think we're in reasonable shape. It's tight with the McLarens and Ferrari are pretty close. Saturday is all about getting a feeling for the soft and hard tyre and making sure the drivers work on the balance for qualifying. They're dialling themselves in as they have not run at these fuel loads this weekend."

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "Life in Brazil seems to take place with the colour and contrast controls turned up. Everything is that bid more vivid. The language, too, seems to have morphed to suit the national flavor. The local version of Portuguese, with its delicious, slurry softness and mellifluous tones is almost like the people are speaking samba. It's the same at the Interlagos circuit, which oozes atmosphere over a grand prix weekend. The current track twists and turns up the steep inclines of a natural amphitheatre, and it's impossible to forget the history here. The modern track is a shortened version of the five-mile-long track that hosted grands prix from 1972-80. The daunting old, long, banked Turn One is still visible behind the new Senna Esses and Curva do Sol, and the road up from the TV compound to the paddock is also part of the old circuit."

1307: The drivers have all completed their installation laps just to get their motors ticking over. Fernando Alonso seemed to have something flapping from the rear of his Ferrari, but otherwise nothing much to report.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Kit via text: "Barrichello should either stay another season with dignity, or go with dignity. His experience and knowledge is immense and he shouldn't run around looking for money."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "This is all about last chance Saturday. It's one last chance to get the set up right for the race. It's one last chance to make a final impression for this 2011 season. It's one last chance to show that you've got what it takes to get a seat next season."

1300: The lights are green and a whole host of cars are straight out on the track, led by Sauber man Kamui Kobayashi.

1255: So, just five minutes until the roar of the engines and coverage is just starting on the Red Button and 5 live Sports Extra. Can Lewis Hamilton keep up his late-season form, or will Sebastian Vettel reassert his dominance?

Chris Moran on Twitter: "I think Rubens should embrace this as his final season. Hasn't been good enough and we need new blood."

1246: As ever, this is about me, and you, and the long lost art of conversation. Send me a tweet to @samsheringham via the hashtag #BBCF1, or text us your views to 81111 (UK). What's your take on the Barrichello debate? Is there a danger of the Brazilian becoming one of those sportsmen who hung on that little bit too long, like say Ian Rush or Jimmy White? I'm pretty sure even Ian Botham might have regretted those last couple of Test appearances, when even Ian Salisbury was sending the ball down more quickly.

BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "As you may know, there is a feeling Rubens Barrichello may be taking part in his final grand prix, there being no spaces apparently available for him on the grid in 2012. There was a brief flurry of excitement on Friday when rumours emerged that he could be in with a chance at Renault - or Lotus as they will be known next year. But I went to speak to team boss Eric Boullier about that and he said it was not a runner. 'He contacted me but I had to say no,' Boullier said. 'Rubens is fast. He wants to do one more year and maybe next year he won't be as committed. We had to cut some names from the list.' Boullier added that the team's experience with veteran Nick Heidfeld this season, who was disappointing before being dropped ahead of the Belgian GP, 'didn't help'."

1240: So, as our man in Brazil points out, it might be raining cats and dogs come qualifying. That means P3 could be the last chance for the drivers to test out their tyres in dry conditions. On Friday, lots of teams tried out new parts for next season, but expect P3 to be a more focused affair, with the teams gearing up for the last qualifying session of the season.

Lewis Hamilton on Twitter: "Last Grand Prix of the season. Amazing to be in Brazil and the homeland of Ayrton Senna; such a legend and incredible driver. Met fans earlier. Thanks to all of you for your continued support throughout the season."

The sun is out
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson in Sao Paulo: "It's another lovely morning here in Sao Paulo - warm and sunny. As we arrived at the track not long after 8am here, it was quite quiet on the chaotic streets of the city, but inside the track there were already fans in the grandstands above Turn Three chanting and singing. Those fans might need umbrellas later, though. The forecast is for thunderstorms in mid-afternoon. Will they hit qualifying, which starts at 2pm local (1600 GMT)?"

1233: Yes, you are in the right place to drink up every last drop of the heady cocktail that is the 2011 F1 season. Final practice gets under way at 1300 GMT, with coverage right here, on the Red Button and on BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra from 1255. Qualifying is at 1600 GMT with a full hour of build-up on BBC One. Tudo bem?

1230: McLaren and Red Bull are set for one final chase for pole in 2011 and where better than the undulating thrills of the historic Interlagos circuit? The two teams were closely matched in Friday practice with Lewis Hamilton edging out world champion Sebastian Vettel by 0.167 seconds. Hamilton is the only man to deny Red Bull a pole all season while Vettel is chasing a record-breaking 15th pole position of the year, to beat Nigel Mansell's record of 14 set back in 1992 with Williams. BUT before the rush of qualifying shall we have third practice to whet our appetites?

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Vettel beats Webber to get record
26 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Brazil Grand Prix qualifying results
08 Mar 11 |  Results
Hamilton heads Vettel in practice
26 Nov 11 |  Formula One
BBC reveals 2012 F1 coverage plan
25 Nov 11 |  Formula One
I needed tough season - Hamilton
25 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Bahrain will happen - Ecclestone
25 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Kubica not writing off 2012 yet
24 Nov 11 |  Formula One
BBC - Languages - Formula 1 Trivia Quiz
26 Nov 11 |  separator
Brazilian Grand Prix Forecast
26 Nov 11 |  Feeds

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