Brazil GP: Verstappen storms to pole as rain curtails qualifying

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Max Verstappen delivered when it mattered to claim pole position in qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

In a tight session, the reigning champion showed his prowess in worsening weather in Q3 to secure P1 on the grid for Sunday's race.

Charles Leclerc claimed second for Ferrari as Lance Stroll impressed in third for Aston Martin.


The session began with a 15-minute delay to clear debris from a support series.

Once the action got underway, Lando Norris set the pace after the first runs ahead of Lewis Hamilton on fresh softs.

In contrast, Red Bull had problems with Verstappen reporting bouncing issues in fourth and Sergio Perez down in 18th.

Leclerc and Oscar Piastri went fastest with their second run on new tyres after initially using a used set.

Both Red Bulls and both Mercedes' went on used tyres for their second run but couldn't make big gains with George Russell particularly in danger.

That triggered third runs on fresh tyres as rain threatened to disrupt the end of Q1.

Russell and Verstappen both managed laps to finish P1 and P2 respectively with less than a tenth between them.

However, AlphaTauri were the big losers with Yuki Tsunoda 16th and Daniel Ricciardo 17th despite being just 0.5s slower than Russell.

The two Alfa Romeos also missed out with Valtteri Bottas 18th and Zhou Guanyu 20th, split by Logan Sargeant in the Williams in 19th.


As the weather remained dry, all the drivers headed out to set a banker lap with Verstappen leading the two McLarens in the top three.

Mercedes and Ferrari responded to have all four drivers in the top eight as Aston Martin made it five teams in the top 10.

Norris went fastest on his second run, while Max couldn't improve but remained second.

The end of Q2 was all about whether Alpine, Haas or Alex Albon could break into the top 10.

Ultimately they could not with Nico Hulkenberg missing out in 11th, followed by Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly in 13th.

Kevin Magnussen was 14th as Albon rounded out the top 15 after losing his best lap to track limits.


The fight for pole began with a storm quickly approaching the circuit, triggering a dash out of the pits.

Verstappen stayed calm though and flew to pole position on a 1m10.727s to beat Leclerc by almost three-tenths of a second.

Lance Stroll delivered a superb lap to take P3 ahead of Alonso as Aston Martin wrapped up the second row.

The two Mercedes' followed in fifth and sixth with Hamilton leading Russell and Norris a disappointing seventh after a mistake in the final sector.

Sainz took P8 as Perez was compromised by a yellow flag caused by Piastri at Juncao, leaving them ninth and 10th respectively.

The storm arrived before anyone could attempt a second run with lightning triggering an immediate red flag and early end to the session.