Valtteri Bottas dedicates pole to Mercedes F1 team after gunpoint hold-up

Lewis Hamilton at Mexican Grand Prix Formula One F1 Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton at Mexican Grand Prix Formula One F1 Mercedes

England's Lewis Hamilton, assured of a fourth Drivers' Championship, and Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas guided the Silver Arrows to the fastest times in both rounds on Friday, reports Efe.

Mercedes has confirmed Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix from pit lane after the team opted to break parc ferme conditions to make changes on his Formula 1 vehicle ahead of the race.

"We can confirm that a team minibus was robbed at gunpoint last night leaving the circuit", he said.

When in São Paulo, F1 drivers travel to and from their hotels in bulletproof cars and a police escorts because of the risk of hold-ups around the Interlagos circuit.

"Gun shots fired, gun held at one's head". In a statement, Mercedes said, "Valuables were stolen but everybody is safe and uninjured which is the main thing".

In 2010, Jenson Button was subject to a similar incident while, in 2012, Formula 1 made sure that the race went on in the middle of a drug war in Sao Paulo.

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Staff from the British-based Williams' team had a narrow escape after a van was held up in front of their minibus as they left the circuit. Bottas said the incident spurred him on to extract even more out of his performance and seal his third pole in F1.

Hamilton further tweeted, "This happens every single year here".

The Brazilian Grand Prix is one which sits fondly in the minds of most due to Autordomo Jose Carlos Pace producing close racing, memorable championship deciding moments and an atmosphere of pure passion.

Previous year in Mexico, a team member, travelling in a chauffeur-driven vehicle from Mexico City Airport to the Mercedes' hotel, was targeted by two gunmen.

Three Sauber engineers were robbed at gunpoint on the same evening.

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