Verstappen scores pole position in Brazil


Max Verstappen dominates all three segments of qualifying at Interlagos to record his second career pole position. This Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying result is a fantastic birthday present to his boss, Christian Horner. P1 is such a nice bonus on the cake.

The Red Bull Racing driver, who secured his maiden Formula 1 pole in Hungary earlier this season, beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 0.123 seconds and the 2019 world champion Hamilton by 0.191 seconds.

Verstappen was quickest on the first run in Q3, but only by tiny margin of 0.008 seconds from Vettel after running wide out of the Turn 9 left-hander.

But he improved on his final run to post a time of one minute, 07.508 seconds, which gave him pole position by 0.123 seconds thanks to Vettel’s failure to improve.

Mercedes driver and the 2019 world champion Lewis Hamilton jumped to third at the end of qualifying, lapping 0.191 seconds off the pace and pushing Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari down to fourth.

Leclerc carries a 10-place grid drop into the race for an power unit change, meaning he will start P14 assuming no new penalties are issued.

In addition, Charles is the only driver to use medium Pirellis to set his time in Q2, meaning he will start on that set of tyres with the rest of the top ten starting on softs.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the Mercedes after failing to improve on his second run, with Alex Albon rounding out the top six and 0.427s off his Red Bull teammate.

Pierre Gasly won an ultra-competitive midfield battle by taking seventh position, lapping just 0.007 seconds quicker than Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

Kimi Raikkonen sealed ninth position, with Kevin Magnussen making it two Haas cars in the top ten after lapping 1.529 seconds off the pace.

The first runs proved decisive in Q2 thanks to only one driver improving their time on the second run.

McLaren driver Lando Norris missed out on the top ten by just one-hundredth, apologising to the team over the radio because he “just didn’t put it together”.

Both Renault drivers were also eliminated in Q2, with Daniel Ricciardo P12 and Nico Hulkenberg P14, sandwiching the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Hulkenberg was the only driver who did improve on his second run, which gained him one position.

Giovinazzi spun on his final Q2 lap at the Turn 8 right-hander, which also compromised the lap of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was just behind.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was P15, falling behind Hulkenberg at the end of the session.

Daniil Kvyat was quickest of those to be eliminated in Q1 in P16, missing out on advancing by just 0.032 seconds.

He failed to improve on his second run after a lockup on his first flier on fresh rubber, then couldn’t find time on his second push lap on that set of Pirellis.

This allowed the Alfa Romeo drivers, Perez and Hulkenberg, to jump ahead of him having been behind after the first Q1 runs.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll did improve on his second run, but not by enough to elevate him beyond P17.

Williams driver George Russell was P19, six-tenths further down, with Williams teammate Robert Kubica a further half-second back.

Carlos Sainz unfortunately did not set a lap time in qualifying following a problem which occurred on his first flying lap in Q1, forcing him to return to the pits.

He reported “something went, something on the engine” over the radio, later suggesting it was “something on the driveshaft or the gearbox” – with the team unwilling to risk sending him out again while attempting to diagnose the problem. Meaning that’s game over for McLaren and will start the race in last position.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. This pole position is the best way to celebrate Christian Horner’s birthday. Hopefully Verstappen can seek redemption with victory on race day especially after last year’s controversial moment when Esteban Ocon…


Brazilian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:07.508
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:07.631
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:07.699
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:07.874
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:07.935
6 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:08.837
7 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:08.854
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:08.984
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:09.037
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:08.868
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:08.903
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:08.919
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:08.921
14 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:07.728*
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:09.035
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:09.320
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:09.536
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:10.126
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1:10.614
20 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault –
*10-place grid penalty for power unit change

4 thoughts to “Verstappen scores pole position in Brazil”

  1. Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Max Verstappen has unfinished business at Interlagos after seeing victory slip through his fingers when he collided with backmarker Esteban Ocon last year. But the Red Bull man took the first step in righting that wrong on Saturday by dominating qualifying for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix…

    Verstappen spoke confidently about his and Red Bull chances this weekend on Thursday in Sao Paulo, and demonstrated on Friday that his positivity was well founded as he showed strong pace in both wet and dry conditions on various fuel loads.

    And he followed through on that promise in qualifying, the Dutchman going quickest in each of the three segments and fending off a stern challenge from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had to settle for second, to take his second career pole – and engine supplier Honda’s first in Brazil since 1991.

    Mercedes appeared to be missing a bit of pace as qualifying wore on, but newly crowned six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton found something on his final run to at least haul himself up to third. Charles Leclerc ended up fourth quickest, but will start 14th on the mediums because of a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change.

    Valtteri Bottas, who won last time out in Austin, ended up fifth, just under a tenth ahead of the second Red Bull of Alexander Albon. Pierre Gasly, the only driver outside of the big three teams to make it into Q3 for the fourth successive race, was best of the rest in seventh.

    Haas have had a miserable time of it of late, but the American team finally had something to smile about as both cars made it into the top 10 for the first time since Spain – with Romain Grosjean eighth and Kevin Magnussen 10th, the duo separated by Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo.

    But the day belonged to Red Bull, whose boss Christian Horner was celebrating his birthday, and Verstappen. Can he convert it this time round, though? History is on his side, with the pole-sitter having won five of the last six Brazilian Grands Prix…

    Q1 – Verstappen impresses as Sainz strikes out

    Verstappen was the man on form in the opening segement of qualifying, the Dutchman setting the pace with a lap time 0.25s quicker than anyone else. Leclerc was his closest challenger, but intriguingly, his best lap came on his sixth lap on the soft tyres, suggesting there was plenty more to come from Ferrari.

    It was very competitive in the fight to avoid the drop zone, with Sergio Perez scraping through with his final lap in the closing seconds, but his Racing Point team mate Lance Stroll couldn’t repeat the trick, continuing his run of never having made it out of Q1 in Brazil.

    Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was bumped out, too, just 0.012s behind Perez, in what was his seventh Q1 exit in 13 races. He was joined by the Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica, with Russell outqualifying Kubica for the 20th straight race.

    McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was the surprise departure, the Spaniard encountering a loss of power when he went out for his first timed lap and while he recovered to the pits, the team opted not to send him out again in case of further damage.

    Knocked out: Kvyat, Stroll, Russell, Kubica, Sainz

    Q2 – Mercedes struggle as Haas get both cars into the top 10

    Unsurprisingly, Leclerc opted for the medium tyres – while everyone else took the soft – because he’ll have a 10-place grid penalty added to his qualifying position for an engine change.

    The Monegasque set an impressive pace, slotting into second 0.385s behind Verstappen after the initial runs. The Mercedes didn’t look like they had the legs to keep up with Red Bull or Ferrari, Hamilton nearly 0.5s adrift.

    The field headed out for a second go, but a spin for Antonio Giovinazzi spun, bringing out the yellow flags and preventing anyone else from improving.

    That meant Lando Norris missed out in 11th, along with Daniel Ricciardo, Giovinazzi, Nico Hulkenberg and Perez but did mean both Haas cars made it into the top 10 for the first time since Spain in May while Kimi Raikkonen reached Q3 for the first time since Monza, six races ago.

    Knocked out: Norris, Ricciardo, Giovinazzi, Hulkenberg, Perez

    Q3 – Verstappen pips Vettel to pole

    Verstappen really had the bit between his teeth on the opening runs, the Red Bull flying around the 4.3km circuit and getting wide on the exit of Turn 8. And while he didn’t set a purple sector, three personal bests were enough to give him provisional pole by just 0.008s from Vettel.

    The Dutchman tidied things up second time around, improving again and no one else could respond. Vettel, who later admitted he was beaten fair and square, slotted into second, just over a tenth of a second adrift.

    Hamilton impressed in final practice, but couldn’t carry that form into qualifying and though he gradually improved as the session went on, the best he could manage was third with his final lap – but it does mean he has failed to make the front row for a fourth consecutive race.

    Leclerc was fourth, the Monegasque looking quick in the early runs before being bumped down, but he’ll start 14th with Bottas promoted to that position, which incidentally is a grid slot no driver has ever won from at Interlagos.

    Albon made the top six for the fourth consecutive race with Gasly seventh overall but set to start sixth because of Leclerc’s penalty, which will be his best start since is final race for Red Bull in Hungary.

    Haas turned around their form from Mexico, where they were both knocked out in Q1, to get both cars into the top 10, with Raikkonen making a return to Q3 for the first time since Italy.

  2. This season’s world champion Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Mercedes are “down on power” against Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton has blamed being down on power against Red Bull and Ferrari for Mercedes failing to seal a spot on the front row for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

    The world champion ended up third on the grid at Interlagos, just 0.191 seconds behind pole position man Max Verstappen, but says his fate was pretty much sealed by how much quicker his rivals are on the straight.

    “We seemed quite competitive in P3 but then we seem to lose when we’re going into qualifying, or they gain,” he said.

    “But nonetheless, I’m really happy that I was able to divide the Ferrari. It’s always a tough challenge, but we’ve been down on power, I guess, compared to the others particularly.

    “That’s where we lose most of our time. But nonetheless I gave it absolutely everything I had.”

    Hamilton said that the time loss on the straights was “quite a chunk”, with Mercedes have recently suggested that its power unit does not perform as well at high altitude as some of its competitors

    However, Hamilton was happy that his final lap of the session was good enough to seal him a spot on the second row.

    “I just kept chipping away at it,” he said. “The last lap was actually as good as it could be for us, and the car felt pretty good. We were just lacking a bit of pace on the straights. But hopefully tomorrow that will be good in terms of [tyre] longevity.”

    And although Hamilton has now sealed his world title, he sees no reason to adopt a vastly different approach to the race in his bid to win.

    “I mean my approach has been pretty much the same way all year long,” he said. “But maybe we can try and be a bit more aggressive tomorrow.

    “I don’t particularly see there is any reason to make any changes from where I am today. So I will continue like that.”

  3. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton was left feeling surprised by Red Bull Racing’s straightline speed that resulted in Max Verstappen achieving pole position at Interlagos. has the details.

    Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel say they are surprised by Red Bull’s straightline speed performance in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying.

    Verstappen will start Sunday’s race at Interlagos from pole position after dominating qualifying in his Honda-powered Red Bull, which Ferrari driver Vettel claimed was not losing any time on the straights.

    Red Bull has been underpowered throughout F1’s V6 turbo-hybrid engine era and its new-for-2019 partner Honda has been playing catch-up since it joined the grid in 2015.

    However, after being defeated by Verstappen’s latest strong qualifying performance, Vettel said: “We have to admit that we were beaten fair and square today.

    “It was a bit of a surprise. Not to see them quick, but to see them that quick on the straights.”

    Vettel’s own team has been under scrutiny in recent weeks for its engine performance advantage, particularly in qualifying.

    Verstappen even alleged after the United States Grand Prix that the absence of Ferrari’s usual top-speed edge was a direct result of an FIA technical directive that stated ways to exploit fuel-flow rules would be illegal.

    Another technical directive was issued ahead of this weekend’s race, reminding teams of previous instructions outlawing burning oil for performance gains and asking them to submit lubricant information to help ensure nobody is breaking the rules.

    Reiterating his surprise at Red Bull’s performance, Vettel said Ferrari is in the same spec as previous races and he does not know why the competitive picture is different in Brazil.

    “We’ve seen a lot of qualifying sessions when we were always a bit faster than everyone on the straights and losing a bit in the corners,” said Vettel.

    “But today Max and Alex [Albon] were as fast on the straights. That’s about it. I don’t know why. We didn’t do anything different.”

    Hamilton, who wrapped up his sixth F1 title at the previous race, said he did not “fully understand” why Red Bull was so fast at Interlagos.

    Asked by if he shared Vettel’s surprise, the third-place qualifier said: “Of course. We didn’t expect to come here and see [this].

    “On top of that, they’re quickest in the middle sector, so they’ve obviously still got the same amount of downforce, but more power.”

    Verstappen downplayed his speed on the straights, pointing out Red Bull was not quickest in the final sector, which comprises a full-throttle blast on the 1.2km stretch from the penultimate corner to the finish line.

    “Last year we were quite good here,” said Verstappen. “But I think this year we made a step forward.

    “We learned from our mistakes in some recent races and we came back stronger and everything’s working well.”

  4. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc blames “stupid” mistake for missing out on ‘pole’ shot. has the news story.

    Charles Leclerc said his Ferrari Formula 1 car was fast enough to top Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying and only a “stupid” mistake on his part prevented it.

    Pole position would not have been possible for Leclerc at Interlagos because he was carrying a 10-place grid penalty for a change of internal combustion engine necessitated by his Austin practice oil leak.

    He ended up fourth fastest in Q3, so will start 14th.

    But he was convinced he could have topped the session so he could “only be angry” with himself for the result.

    “I’m very disappointed about my lap in Q3. The first timed lap I think was good enough for pole, or second but very close,” said Leclerc.

    “The first timed lap in Q3 I’ve been stupid.

    “I did a big mistake in the last corner which cost me three or four tenths so it’s completely my fault and I need to learn from this.

    “The team did a great job, I think the car was there to to fight for pole at least and I didn’t do the job in the car so I’m disappointed.”

    He described his strategy for race day as “full attack mode”.

    Having got through to Q3 on medium tyres while all the other top team drivers used softs, Leclerc can at least start the race on an alternative strategy.

    “We’ll be starting on a harder compound than the top 10 so hopefully we can take advantage of that and come back through,” he said.

    Only time will tell but I will give it everything. I’ll try to be as aggressive as I can in the first few laps, which will be very important, and then hopefully the pace will help us to come back further up in the standings.”

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