Verstappen edges Leclerc to claim Brazilian Grand Prix pole

Verstappen edges Leclerc to claim Brazilian Grand Prix pole

Recently crowned three-time world champion Max Verstappen edged Charles Leclerc to claim pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Sao Paulo after a storm interrupted qualifying.

Max Verstappen secured pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix in Q3 by beating the clock, as the much-awaited rain finally made a showing.

Verstappen wrapped up the one and only required qualifying drive before the Interlagos circuit got really wet, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start alongside him on the front row for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The qualifying session was predicted to be rainy, however the first two stages were held in dry conditions. In the early qualifying stages, an intense battle was already underway with just a couple of millisecond separating the drivers.

Ultimately, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda became the first driver to be eliminated from the second qualifying round. Lewis Hamilton finished his final flying lap just ahead of Tsunoda as the Japanese driver was not happy about his struggling pace.

However, in order to make sure that Tsunoda’s lap was unaffected, the seven-time world champion, according to the replays, guided his Mercedes W14 to the right at Turn 1.

Daniel Ricciardo was also eliminated in the first round after his outstanding performance in Mexico City, followed by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu came behind his Alfa Romeo teammate in last place, ahead of Williams’ Logan Sargeant in 19th place.

Drivers battled for even the smallest of margins in the second session as the gaps remained incredibly close. Nico Hulkenberg qualified eleventh with his significantly upgraded Haas, as his teammate Kevin Magnussen finished down in fourteenth.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finished just five thousandths of a second apart, as their best lap times were only good enough for P12 and P13, respectively. Alexander Albon was not able to advance to the final qualifying round after losing his strongest lap time as a result of running above the track limits at Turn 4. The williams driver will therefore start from 15th place.

The weather drastically changed in the final moments of qualifying, catching some drivers off guard before a strong downpour rocked the Interlagos circuit, ending Q3 early.

Verstappen’s time of 1m10.727s, which was six tenths of a second slower than his Q2 time, was enough to secure pole position for Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix before the torrential downpour.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc maintained his fast pace throughout the qualifying session and managed to lock down the second starting spot on the grid. Lance Stroll finished in an impressive third place, ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso, which helped Aston Martin secure an unexpected second row lockout.

Mercedes was hoping to replicate their performance from a year ago, however they seemed to have lost the battle with just over a tenth of a second to be seriously contending for pole. Lewis Hamilton ultimately prevailed over his teammate George Russell as the Mercedes duo locked out the third row on the starting grid.

Despite appearing to have the pace needed to contend for pole position, Lando Norris qualified just seventh after having been sent out very late considering the track conditions were getting worse all the time.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished in a pitiful eighth place followed by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Oscar Piastri completed his qualifying run in the top 10, however his poor finish came after spinning out at Turn 12.

2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m10.436s1m10.162s1m10.727s
2Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m10.472s1m10.303s1m11.021s
3Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m10.551s1m10.375s1m11.344s
4Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m10.557s1m10.237s1m11.387s
5Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m10.604s1m10.266s1m11.469s
6George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m10.340s1m10.316s1m11.590s
7Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m10.623s1m10.021s1m11.987s
8Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m10.624s1m10.254s1m11.989s
9Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m10.668s1m10.219s1m12.321s
10Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m10.519s1m10.330sNo Time Set
11Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m10.475s1m10.547s 
12Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m10.763s1m10.562s 
13Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m10.793s1m10.567s 
14Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m10.602s1m10.723s 
15Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m10.621s1m10.840s 
16Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m10.837s  
17Daniel RicciardoAUSScuderia AlphaTauri1m10.843s  
18Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m10.955s  
19Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m11.035s  
20Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m11.275s

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