Max Verstappen claimed pole position for 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix as Q3 was curtailed by torrential rain.
Verstappen finished a lowly 16th position in Practice but bounced back to claim pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll, as torrential rain curtailed Q3 in a dramatic finish to a close Qualifying session.
Now, here is all the action from Practice and Qualifying for 2023 Sao Paulo GP.
Verstappen was first out on track heading a queue of cars as everyone ran the hard tyre in their opening stints, and set the initial benchmark time of 1m 13.950, but soon lowered his fastest lap time to 1m 13.138 in the seventh minute.
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda became the first driver to switch to the medium tyre after 20 minutes and lowered the pace to 1m 12.802 in the 23rd minute, shortly after Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso suffered a rear-left puncture possibly due to a loose screw from Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
Verstappen still on the hard tyre briefly displaced Tsunoda by 0.009 seconds in the 28th minute, only for Mercedes’ George Russell to go quickest with 1m 11.865 ahead of Alonso who slotted into second after a change of tyres.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was first to attempt a soft tyre run which put him third fastest in the 34th minute as only seven drivers set their fastest laps on the soft tyre.
Out of the soft tyre runners, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz left it late to top the session with 1m 11.732 in the 57th minute, ahead of Leclerc in second and 0.104s behind the Spaniard.
Russell on medium tyres finished third ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Alex Albon who were fourth and fifth on the soft tyres, ahead of Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly on medium tyres as Guanyu Zhou, Logan Sargeant and Magnussen rounded out the top ten on the soft tyres.
Outside of the top ten, Lewis Hamilton, Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas finished 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th respectively on the medium tyres.
Alonso, Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri meanwhile set their fastest lap times on the hard tyre in 11th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th positions respectively, although Norris and Piastri aborted their medium and soft tyre flying laps respectively.
|1||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||1m 11.732|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.108|
|3||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.133|
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+ 0.196|
|5||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.312|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.404|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+ 0.452|
|8||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.749|
|9||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 0.847|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.860|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+ 0.883|
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.906|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.982|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 1.046|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.047|
|16||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.061|
|17||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.280|
|18||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.324|
|19||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.897|
|20||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+ 2.106|
Piastri was first out on track after a 15 minute delay due to track conditions and set the benchmark time of 1m 11.494 on used soft tyres, but soon found himself displaced by several drivers as Norris went quickest with 1m 10.623 in the fourth minute.
Once everyone had completed their opening laps, Sainz, Leclerc, Perez, Sargeant and Zhou rounded out the bottom five at risk of elimination.
Sainz and Leclerc however were on used softs and once they put fresh tyres on, the pair went fourth and fastest respectively.
Several drivers including Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Alonso soon found themselves flirting with the drop but as the checkered flag fell, Tsunoda was eliminated in 16th position by 0.044s with his AlphaTauri teammate, Ricciardo a further 0.006s behind in 17th position.
Bottas, Sargeant and Zhou qualified 18th, 19th and 20th respectively as the dark rain clouds began to gather above Interlagos.
Russell meanwhile topped Q1 with 10.340 on his final lap ahead of Verstappen and Leclerc.
Verstappen and Perez were first out onto the circuit as light drops of rain began to fall in the pit lane, with the three-time champion quickly setting the benchmark time of 1m 10.162 on fresh soft tyres as the majority of drivers opted for used soft tyres in their opening Q2 runs.
Haas held back Hulkenberg and Magnussen for their first runs of the session and once they set their first lap times, the elimination zone compromised of; Albon, Alonso, Leclerc, Russell and Sainz.
The latter three however quickly responded on their second flying laps to move into the top ten at the expense of; Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Gasly who dropped into the bottom five.
Once the checkered flag fell, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Gasly, Magnussen and Albon were eliminated in 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions respectively, with Albon’s last lap time deleted after he exceeded track limits to Turn 4.
Norris meanwhile topped Q2 with 1m 10.021 as only 0.819s covered the entire top 15 in Q2, whilst the top ten alone were split by 0.354s in a closely fought session as the rain stayed away.
Hamilton and Russell slowly led a queue of cars straight out onto the track as the rain clouds began to rapidly darken, with an impatient Verstappen quickly clearing both Mercedes drivers to put himself at the front of the queue as he set the benchmark time of 1m 10.727.
Nobody could better that time on their opening laps as Verstappen led the timing sheet ahead of; Leclerc, Stroll, Alonso, Hamilton, Russell, Norris, Sainz, Perez and Piastri, as Piastri spun at Juncao and failed to set a lap time as the rain rapidly swept in amidst heavy darkness.
Stewards consequently opted not to run the clock down and red flagged the session with 4 minutes and 19 seconds left on the clock, and promptly declared the session over with Verstappen claiming pole for Sunday’s main race.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 10.727|
|2||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.294|
|3||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.617|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+ 0.660|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.742|
|6||Gorge Russell||Mercedes||+ 0.863|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.260|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.262|
|9||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.594|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||No Time|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||1m 10.547|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.015|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+ 0.020|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.176|
|15||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.293|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1m 10.837|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 0.006|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.118|
|19||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 0.198|
|20||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.438|