Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton tops qualification at the São Paulo Grand Prix

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Credit: DaimlerAG Archive/LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton finished in first position in qualification at the São Paulo Grand Prix at the nineteenth race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. Hamilton will start in pole position in the Sprint race on Saturday.

Max Verstappen was in second position, 0.438 seconds slower than Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was in third position behind the Dutchman.

This is the third and final race with the Sprint Qualifying race. The qualifying session took place on Friday instead of the traditional session on Saturday. The qualification results set the grid for the Sprint race which will take place on Saturday.

The qualifying session started under overcast conditions with air temperatures at 15 degrees C and track temperatures at 25 degrees C at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit in São Paulo, Brazil.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4).

Q1: Stroll Eliminated

George Russell was the first man on the track in the session. Hamilton went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m08.824s.

Hamilton who topped the free practice session continued his good form as he improved on his lap time and topped the session ahead of Valtteri Bottas and the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen.

Charles Leclerc had his lap time deleted and put himself into fourth position in the dying minutes of the session. Esteban Ocon, Antonio Giovinazzi and Sebastian Vettel made it out of the dropzone with last gasp efforts.

Q1 dropzone: Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi, George Russell, Mick Schumaher, Nikita Mazepin

Q2: Ocon and Vettel knocked out

Hamilton’s first lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits. Verstappen set the pace in the second qualification session with an opening lap time of 1m08.567s.

Gasly and Bottas slotted into second and third positions behind the Dutchman. Leclerc then went third fastest ahead of Bottas.

Hamilton then went fastest with a lap time of 1m08.386s, 0.181 seconds faster than Verstappen.

In the dying minutes of qualification, Bottas displaced Verstappen from second position. Hamilton topped the session as he went even faster, 0.431 seconds faster than Verstappen.

Q2 dropzone: Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Räikkönen, Antonio Giovinazzi

Q3: Hamilton takes top position

The last twelve minutes of qualification was not for the pole position, but to determine the grid for the Sprint race.

The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers were the first drivers on the track after two minutes silence at the start of the session.

Hamilton took provisional pole with a lap time of 1m08.107s. Verstappen was slower by 0.265 seconds. Bottas slotted into third position.

Pérez and Gasly were in fourth and fifth positions. Verstappen complained that his front tyres were overheating.

Hamilton will start in first position for the Sprint race on Saturday. An important comeback for the Mercedes team as Hamilton went faster than Verstappen by 0.438 seconds.

Top 10: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Pérez, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso

2021 São Paulo Grand Prix Qualification Results:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:08.7331:08.0681:07.93423
233Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:09.3291:08.4991:08.37217
377Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:09.0401:08.4261:08.46923
411Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1:09.1721:08.9731:08.48322
510Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:09.3471:08.9031:08.77718
655Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:09.0461:09.0311:08.82619
716Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:09.1551:08.8591:08.96022
84Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:09.3651:09.0301:08.98022
93Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:09.3741:09.0931:09.03922
1014Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:09.3911:09.1371:09.11319
1131Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:09.4301:09.18914
125Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:09.4511:09.39915
1322Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:09.3501:09.4839
147Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:09.5981:09.50315
1599Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:09.3421:10.22714
1618Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:09.6639
176Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:09.8979
1863George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:09.95310
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:10.32911
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team1:10.58910
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