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

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

World champion Lewis Hamilton crashed out without posting a time at Interlagos, but Bottas ensured there would be a Mercedes at the front of the grid courtesy of a track record lap of one minute and 8.322 seconds. The Mercedes-AMG F1 crew were returning back to their hotel from the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit in Sao Paulo, where their minibus was ambushed by armed men at around 10 pm (local time).

The current F1 champione-elect tweeted that some of his crewmembers were, "held up at gun point" as the team minibus was leaving the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo on Friday night. Gun shots fired, gun held at ones head.

"I spoke with them this morning and I said we were going to put it on pole position and cheer everyone up, so I'm glad we did that", Bottas explained. One of the team had a gun held to their head, Hamilton said.

Mercedes released a statement following Hamilton's incident.

"Valuables were stolen but most importantly everybody is safe and uninjured".

In a bid to avoid such issues, mechanics and team staff have been advised against wearing branded team clothing away from the circuit. Meanwhile personnel from the FIA, the sport's governing body, were also caught up in a separate incident, but escaped unharmed.

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

Hamilton called on Formula One and the teams to "do more".

Hamilton, 32, sealed his fourth world title - and third in the past four seasons - on October 29 at the Mexico Grand Prix.

Past 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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