Verstappen beats Vettel to take Interlagos Pole

by Harry Slade
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen took Pole Position for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, as the Dutchman saw off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel in the Scuderia Ferrari.

The opening runs in Qualifying three saw Verstappen lock horns with the Prancing horse pairing.

In spite of an error in the middle sector the Dutchman found the time to go 0.008s quicker than the best that the Scuderia could offer in the hands of Vettel.

Charles Leclerc was not much further back, albeit with his ten-place grid penalty, the Monegasque driver still remained firmly in contention to post the fastest lap time.

Behind them, Mercedes AMG Petronas struggled in fourth and fifth, with Lewis Hamilton leading Valtteri Bottas.

The second runs saw Verstappen go faster again, as he applied the pressure to his rivals further.

Vettel and Leclerc both couldn’t find improvements, leaving the door open for Hamilton to split the Ferrari pairing.

Bottas was fifth for Mercedes, ahead of Alex Albon in the second Aston Martin Red Bull Honda.

Pierre Gasly was a best of the rest seventh as he continued to show signs of rejuvination since returning to Toro Rosso.

Felow Frenchman Romain Grosjean completed the fourth row, as Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen showed the Kannapolis outfit have returned to form in tenth.

Splitting them was Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo Racing.

The Finn returning to form after his recent qualifying woes comparitively to team-mate Giovinazzi.

Qualifying two saw Verstappen lead the way with a monstrous 1:07.5s lap time of the Interlagos circuit.

Yet it was Leclerc who arguably set down the biggest marker.

The Monegasque was within four tenths of the Dutchman – albeit on the slower Medium compound tyre – as the twenty-two year old benefitted from his new Ferrari power unit.

The latter stages of Qualifying two ended up as a damp squib due to a change in track temperature.

Lando Norris was a dissappointing eleventh for the McLaren F1 Team as their Saturday unravelled.

He will be joined on the sixth row by Daniel Ricciardo as the McLaren/Renault showdown continued.

Antonio Giovinazzi lost his chance to make the final segment of qualifying as he spun his Alfa Romeo into the Laranjinha corner.

Former team-mates Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez found themselves rounding out the qualifying two runners in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively, with the outgoing German leading the Mexican.

Qualifying one teased a showdown between Red Bull and Ferrari as the Silver Arrows found themselves in the relatively lowly positions of fifth and sixth provisionally.

The battle to stay alive saw Haas’ surprise form leave Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat a surprise dropout, as the Russian could only manage sixteenth due to a plethora of errors in the middle sector of his lap.

Lance Stroll continued his run of poor qualifying displays, as he could only manage seventeenth.

However, Stroll will take solace from his team-mate’s own lacklustre display as ‘Checo’ could only just scrape into the second part of qualifying in his own right.

The ROKit Williams Racing duo continued their run of Qualifying one eliminations as George Russell continued his domination over Robert Kubica.

The Brit making it twenty-nil in the qualifying head-to-head.

Problems stuck for Carlos Sainz Jr. in the opening segment of qualifying as the Spaniard complained of problems with his Renault power unit.

The MCL34 seemed to lose power as Sainz ran over a curb on the exit of the Juncao corner – most famous for Hamilton’s fabled move on Timo Glock that saw him clinch his first world championship.

This left the twenty-five year old without a lap time and confined to a back of the grid start.

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