Max Verstappen secures the pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix as qualifying is cut short due to torrential rain.
Max Verstappen secured the top spot in qualifying for the São Paulo Grand Prix by capitalizing on his single lap opportunity, as a downpour disrupted the session at Interlagos. The Red Bull driver performed well in Brazil, navigating the challenging Autódromo José Carlos Pace, while his team strategically positioned him to set a strong time before the heavy rain arrived.
He beat the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc into second, while Aston Martin also did well out of the weather in setting early times with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso in third and fourth. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were in fifth and sixth for Mercedes.
The final session was met with foreboding, dark clouds looming over the track. The teams were eager to make a strong start, and Verstappen wasted no time in setting the pace with a time of 1 minute and 10.727 seconds. Leclerc and Stroll followed closely behind. Unfortunately, the remaining drivers were unable to complete their laps as the rain began to pour, resulting in a red-flagged session. Despite the four minutes remaining, the session was not restarted.
Verstappen and Red Bull have secured the top spots in both titles, leaving a close competition for the remaining positions. Hamilton is currently behind Sergio Pérez by 20 points for second place and will start ahead of the Mexican, who qualified in ninth place. Mercedes also holds a 22-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. There are three more races left, including the sprint on Saturday at Interlagos.
The beginning of the qualifying session was postponed by 15 minutes due to a request from Pirelli, the tyre supplier, for the FIA to clean the track. This was in response to punctures experienced by Hamilton and Alonso during the first practice session, which were suspected to have been caused by screws and nails. Teams reported that debris was mainly found in the pit lane. Fortunately, qualifying was able to proceed without any further punctures occurring.
In another part of Brazil, Toto Wolff, the principal of the Mercedes team, has mentioned having discussions with Sir Jim Ratcliffe regarding his interest in acquiring a portion of Manchester United. Ratcliffe has put forth an offer to purchase a 25% share from the Glazer family. He currently holds a one-third share in the Mercedes team alongside Wolff and Mercedes-Benz.
“I have received the trajectory from Jim,” stated Wolff. “I have a great deal of admiration for his principles and we have a strong sense of trust in each other. If we believed it would be beneficial to join the investment group, I would definitely consider it.”
Unfortunately, despite showing impressive speed, Lando Norris was hindered by a damp track and was only able to secure seventh place. His teammate at McLaren, Oscar Piastri, also struggled and finished in 10th position. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz came in eighth.
Haas had Nico Hülkenberg in 11th place and Kevin Magnussen in 14th, while Alpine had Esteban Ocon in 12th and Pierre Gasly in 13th. Williams’ Alex Albon finished in 15th.
Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo held the 16th and 17th positions respectively for AlphaTauri, while Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou occupied the 18th and 20th spots for Alfa Romeo. Logan Sargeant was in 19th place for Williams.