Valtteri Bottas dominated Sprint Qualifying to claim pole position for 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen, whilst Lewis Hamilton recovered from the back of the grid to finish fifth.
A quiet FP2 dominated by race simulations was overshadowed by the post-Qualifying investigations into Hamilton and Verstappen, which culminated in disqualification for Hamilton whilst Verstappen was fined £42.6K yet handed pole position for the Sprint Qualifying race.
Bottas however made a better start and proceeded to sprint to victory and pole position for the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, whilst Hamilton carved his way through the field to finish fifth in fast and furious fashion.
Now, here is a full roundup of Saturday’s action at Interlagos across FP2 and Sprint Qualifying.
Lance Stroll was the first driver out on track as everyone focused on long run pace ahead of Sprint Qualifying, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the initial benchmark time of 1m 14.604.
Yuki Tsunoda soon displaced the Finnish driver as he went faster on both of his two fliers to post 1m 13.726, which was bettered by Verstappen on the soft tyre with a 1m 12.102 shortly afterwards to go top.
Mercedes meanwhile ran in this session with the uncertainty of a post-Qualifying investigation into Hamilton’s rear wing, with both drivers not operating DRS throughout the session.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso meanwhile pulled off a surprise lap time of 1m 11.238 with 19 minutes left to top the session, ahead of Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon and Hamilton who rounded out the top five ahead of Sergio Perez, Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen.
|1||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||1m 11.238|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.864|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 1.117|
|4||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.169|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.503|
|6||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.665|
|7||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.759|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.840|
|9||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.861|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.117|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.188|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 2.210|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 2.343|
|14||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 2.370|
|15||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.377|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.488|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 2.509|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.787|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.828|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 3.671|
Following confirmation of Hamilton’s disqualification following his technical infringement post-Qualifying, Verstappen inherited pole position despite receiving a controversial £42.6K fine for illegally touching Hamilton’s rear wing under parc-ferme conditions after Qualifying.
At lights out, Verstappen on medium tyres got outdragged into Senna S by Bottas on soft tyres as the Finnish driver proceeded to take the lead., whilst Sainz leapt up to third and forced Verstappen wide at Turn Four to claim second.
Verstappen though hit back into the Senna S on Lap Four to reclaim second from Sainz as the top three settled for position, despite Verstappen unsuccessfully chasing down Bottas whilst Sainz fought off Perez to the checkered flag.
Hamilton meanwhile opted to start from the back on Medium tyres following Mercedes’ decision not to appeal his disqualification, which paid off as he made up four positions on the opening lap before benefitting from a pass on Lance Stroll and Raikkonen’s spin at Senna S on Lap Two to climb to 14th.
Passes on Yuki Tsunoda and Giovinazzi soon followed but he was forced to settle and slowly reel off Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in a ten-lap spell, prior to swiftly dispatching Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc for sixth by the end of Lap 20.
Hamilton however refused to settle as he caught Lando Norris and made a late last lap lunge into Senna S to finish fifth, although he will start tenth after taking a five-place penalty for a new Internal-Combustion Engine.
Bottas will therefore start the 2021 Sao Paulo GP from pole ahead of Verstappen with Sainz and Perez sharing the second row, although Verstappen did pick up two points with his second-placed finish to extend his championship lead over Hamilton to 21 points.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||24||29m 09.559|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||24||+ 1.170|
|3||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||24||+ 18.723|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||24||+ 19.787|
|5*||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||24||+ 20.872|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||24||+ 22.558|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||24||+ 25.056|
|8||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||24||+ 34.158|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||24||+ 34.632|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||24||+ 34.867|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||24||+ 35.869|
|12||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||24||+ 36.578|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 41.880|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||24||+ 44.037|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||24||+ 46.150|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||24||+ 46.760|
|17||George Russell||Williams||24||+ 47.739|
|18||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||24||+ 50.014|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||24||+ 61.680|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||24||+ 67.474|
*Lewis Hamilton will start tenth after being handed a five-place grid penalty for taking a new Internal-Combustion Engine.