Max Verstappen claimed a surprise pole position in this afternoon’s Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying session at Interlagos, setting the quickest lap time in all three sections of qualifying.
At the other end of the grid, we find Carlos Sainz who had some sort of power unit issue, according to Sky Sports‘ Ted Kravitz. Kravitz reported that McLaren didn’t want to send Sainz out again just in case that would have caused further damage to the engine, which is expected to be used for the remainder of the season.
No matter whether the team takes any penalties for any changes or not, Sainz will start last tomorrow.
Joining him in being eliminated in Q1 were the Williams duo of George Russell in 18th and Robert Kubica in 19th, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in 17th and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in 16th. Kvyat’s teammate Pierre Gasly was able to qualify best-of-the-rest in sixth, having been promoted one grid spot after Charles Leclerc’s ten-place grid penalty, so this performance was definitely disappointing for the Russian driver.
The track temperature kept dropping throughout qualifying which caught some drivers out in Q2 as they couldn’t improve their lap times to get themselves into the top-ten shootout. Antonio Giovinazzi’s spin at turn eight didn’t help as that brought out double-waved yellows in Sector 2.
We said goodbye to the Italian Alfa Romeo driver at the end of Q2 as well as Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
Haas had a great qualifying session, getting both cars into Q3 for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix all the way back in May. Romain Grosjean lines up seventh with Kevin Magnussen just behind him in ninth. We know there’s no love lost between these two but Gunther Steiner will be hoping that they have a clean race and a good points finish tomorrow.
In the first set of flying laps, Verstappen’s fastest lap was just 0.008 seconds quicker than Vettel’s but the Dutchman had the advantage of going into the final run knowing that he had more time to give, having run wide over the kerb at turn ten. Vettel had lost 0.016 seconds to Verstappen in Sector 1 before gaining 0.008 seconds over Sector 2 and Sector 3.
While Verstappen extended his advantage at the top on his final lap time, Vettel couldn’t improve and so Verstappen secured his pole position.
“The car was really good,” Verstappen said afterwards. “From Q1, the car was flying.”
Tomorrow’s race looks set to be a great one. Can Verstappen hold on for the win? Set your alarms to find the answer – it all gets underway at 4.10 am (AEDT) Monday morning.
1: Max Verstappen: 1:07.508.
2: Sebastian Vettel: 1:07.631.
3: Lewis Hamilton: 1:07.699.
4: Valtteri Bottas: 1:07.874.
5: Alexander Albon: 1:07.935.
6: Pierre Gasly: 1:08.837.
7: Romain Grosjean: 1:08.854.
8: Kimi Raikkonen: 1:08.984.
9: Kevin Magnussen: 1:09.037.
10: Lando Norris: 1:08.868 (Q2).
11: Daniel Ricciardo: 1:08.903 (Q2).
12: Antonio Giovinazzi: 1:08.919 (Q2).
13: Nico Hulkenberg: 1:08.921 (Q2).
14: Charles Leclerc: Ten-place grid penalty for taking a fourth internal combustion engine.
15: Sergio Perez: 1:09.035 (Q2).
16: Daniil Kvyat: 1:09.320 (Q1).
17: Lance Stroll: 1:08.536 (Q1).
18: George Russell: 1:10.126 (Q1).
19: Robert Kubica: 1:10.614 (Q1).
20: Carlos Sainz: No time.