Hamilton's crash and Bottas's pole completed a roller-coaster Saturday for the world champion Mercedes team after it was revealed some of their staff had been robbed at gunpoint late Friday as they left the Interlagos circuit.
Britain's Jenson Button was the victim of an attempted robbery in 2010, the year after he won the title with Brawn GP, but the police driver smashed his way through traffic to escape when the gunmen were seen approaching. "He threw everything at it today and it was a champion's drive".
Hamilton, who accused Renault's Nico Hulkenberg over the radio of dangerous driving in forcing him wide onto the runoff in the morning, was half a second faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen before lunch.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that teams should not have to face such situations, that have now become common around Brazil's F1 race. He is on a one-year contract which leaves him free to play at the Winter Olympics.
Indeed it is widely anticipated that Hamilton will extend his contract at Mercedes, one which expires at the end of next season, to at least 2020. There was a 30 percent chance of rain.
Four stars out of five: You've got to admire anyone who can manoeuvre a car from the pit lane to just outside the podium places.
"The things that went on in Malaysia and Japan put us on the back foot".
After returning to the pits for a fresh set of tires, Bottas and Vettel ventured out in search of improvements despite light rain starting to fall.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen wasn't able to make the attack into Turn 1 that we saw in Mexico because his fourth place grid slot is notorious for the double painted while start line that is just in front of the rear tyres. Hamilton, Bottas and Alonso, using the soft compound Pirellis, were third, fourth and fifth.
Grosjean was handed a 10 second penalty for causing the first lap collision with Ocon at turn six.
"I had a better run at the end of my out-lap, so there was probably more grip than I expected there".
Ricciardo started his first flying lap with 25 minutes to go in FP3.