Verstappen beats Leclerc to pole for F1 São Paulo GP as Aston Martin lock out the second row

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Earlier on Friday it was confirmed that the Brazilian Grand Prix would remain on the calendar until at least 2023 following the agreement of a new 5-year deal.

However, it wasn’t the perfect start after that announcement was qualifying was delayed until 15 minutes past the hour.

An FIA spokesperson confirmed that there was a “delay to start of qualifying due to the need to do further sweeping/cleaning of the track after the previous session.”

During a press conference between FP1 and qualifying, Pirelli’s Mario Isola said “we had a couple of punctures due to debris and we also found some cuts on the tread.”


With rain forecast, drivers got straight out when the green light came on at the end of pit lane.

The McLaren of Oscar Piastri set the first time of the session with a 1:11.494 on a used soft.

A cracking lap from Lando Norris put him top of the charts as a 1:10.623 put him almost 0.8s clear of Stroll. Hamilton slotted into P2 on a 1:10.8, with Verstappen and Gasly on a 1:10.9 the only other drivers to get into the 1:10s on their first laps.

Ricciardo, Russell, Magnussen, Stroll, Ocon and Tsunoda completed the top 10.

Sainz, Leclerc, Perez, Sargeant and Zhou found themselves in the relegation zone. The Ferraris ran on a used set for their first attempts.

After switching to a new set, Leclerc went to the top thanks to a 1:10.472. Sainz slotted into P4, 0.428s slower than his stablemate.

Piastri slotted into 2nd moments later as he set purple sectors in 1 and 2. Fernando Alonso moved into 5th as the times continued to tumble.

Leclerc, Piastri, Stroll, Norris and Verstappen was the top 5 with 5 minutes to go. Magnussen, Bottas, Sargeant, Albon and Zhou was the bottom five at that point.

Hamilton was in P8, with Sainz and Russell in 11th and 12th.

A great lap from Alex Albon moved him into P4 ahead of the final fliers from everyone else bar Leclerc and Piastri who felt safe.

It was the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix winner George Russell who ultimately ended up quickest on a 1:10.340, 0.092s quicker than Max Verstappen.

Leclerc, Hülkenberg, Piastri, Stroll, Alonso, Magnussen, Hamilton and Albon completed the top 10 as Haas and the Thai excelled in particular.

Norris, Sainz, Perez, Ocon and Gasly also made it through as 0.453s covered the top 15 in an extraordinarily close first session.

Tsunoda, Ricciardo, Bottas, Sargeant and Zhou got bumped out. The AlphaTauris missed out by 0.044s and 0.050s.


On his first lap of Q2, Max Verstappen immediately beat the Q1 benchmark as he pumped in a 1:10.162, 0.208s clear of teammate Sergio Perez.

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri slotted in between the two Red Bulls as 0.007s covered the Brit and Australian.

Stroll, Hamilton, Ocon, Gasly, Albon and Alonso completed the top 10 with 10 minutes to go.

Leclerc, Russell, Sainz, Hülkenberg and Magnussen were in the relegation zone.

The Haas drivers ran in the gap. Hülkenberg was exactly a tenth clear of Magnussen as they moved into P8 and P9.

As Ferrari and Mercedes bolted on new tyres, Sainz moved into 2nd, 0.092s adrift of Verstappen. Russell went 3rd, with Leclerc and Hamilton slotting into P6 and P7.

With 5 minutes to go, 0.400s covered the top 10.

Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Gasly, Albon and Alonso was the bottom five.

More great pace came from the McLaren of Lando Norris as a 1:10.021 put him 0.141s clear of Verstappen. Perez completed the top 3.

Alonso, Sainz, Hamilton, Leclerc, Russell, Piastri and Stroll also booked their place in Q3.

Hülkenberg, Ocon, Gasly, Magnussen and Albon got knocked out as the top five teams filled the Q3 spots.


A huge black sky appeared around turn 1 and the final corners as the final segment of qualifying started with rain looking inevitable.

Three-time World Champion Max Verstappen delivered the goods as a 1:10.727 puts him P1 for Sunday’s race. He beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 0.294s as the Monegasque secures a front row start for a third consecutive Grand Prix.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

It was a wonderful day for Aston Martin as Stroll and Alonso locked out the second row for the Silverstone-based team.

Hamilton and Russell managed P5 and P6, with a lot of disappointment for Norris, Sainz, Perez and Piastri.

The Australian driver spun on to the grass at turn 12 as the rain slowly started to come over the circuit. Sergio Perez was affected the most as he had to slow because of yellow flags.

The session was red-flagged and not resumed with just over 4 minutes left as a deluge of rain came. Thunder and lightning also appeared.