Brazil GP: Hamilton flies to fastest qualifier as Verstappen accepts P2

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Lewis Hamilton was absolutely dominant as he secured P1 on the grid for the Sprint race in qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion was simply unstoppable on the straights with Red Bull unable to answer the pace of the Mercedes driver, who will take a five-place grid penalty after Saturday's 24-lap race.

Max Verstappen was able to secure second, putting him in a good position to potentially inherit pole position if he can stay there in the Sprint.

But the Dutchman will have Valtteri Bottas right behind him in third.


Hamilton set a strong pace from the get-go finishing three-tenths ahead of Bottas in Q1.

As the track improved, so did the lap times in the battle to avoid elimination, with Lance Stroll fractionally missing out in 16th after flying laps from Esteban Ocon and the two Alfa Romeos.

George Russell was out-qualified by a Williams teammate in a conventional qualifying session for the first time in his career as Nicholas Latifi beat him to 17th.

Mick Schumacher took 19th ahead of Nikita Mazepin as Haas once again brought up the field.


Though he would have his first lap deleted for track limits, Hamilton rebounded with two mighty laps to lead Bottas again by three-tenths in Q2.

Meanwhile, Verstappen upped his pace but had no answer to the Mercedes in third.

In the midfield, the two Alpines found themselves either side of the knockout zone with Ocon the unlucky driver in P11.

Sebastian Vettel was 12th ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who couldn't continue his recent run of Q3 appearances.

The two Alfas completed the top 15 with Kimi Raikkonen in front of teammate Antonio Giovinazzi.


In the first run, Hamilton again produced the benchmark with Verstappen second and complaining of overheating tyres in his Red Bull.

But it wouldn't make any difference as the seven-time world champion was simply in a league of his own, posting a 1m07.934s to finish as the fastest qualifier and start P1 for Saturday's Sprint race.

The Dutchman though would hold on to second, a tenth clear of Bottas in the other Mercedes with Sergio Perez fourth.

Just like Mexico, Pierre Gasly led the midfield in fifth for AlphaTauri ahead of the two Ferraris with Carlos Sainz in front of Charles Leclerc.

The Scuderia's battle for third in the Constructors' will rage on with McLaren right behind in eighth and ninth as Alonso rounded out the top 10.

At the front though, Hamilton was an absolute rocket ship as his new engine appeared to be run at a higher setting to enable him to overtake after his five-place grid penalty for the race.

Certainly, on a circuit where Red Bull was expected to be ahead, that penalty will be a crumb of comfort going into Saturday.

Full results from qualifying can be seen below: