Brazil, FP: Sainz tops sole practice session ahead of qualifying

Leclerc 2nd, Russell 3rd


By Franck Drui

3 November 2023 - 16:39
Brazil, FP: Sainz tops sole practice

Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the sole practice session for the FIA 2023 São Paulo Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc a tenth behind his Ferrari team-mate to give the Maranello squad a 1-2, as Red Bull’s 2023 champion Max Verstappen finished down the order in 16th place after only running the hardest tyres on offer.

At the start of the one-hour session, Verstappen quickly went to the top of the order with a lap of 1:13.950 set on Hard tyres with team-mate Sergio Pérez in P2. Verstappen then worked down to 1:13.138, four tenths ahead of the Mexican, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third ahead of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg and the second Mercedes of 2022 São Paulo Sprint and Grand Prix winner George Russell.

Soon after the first third of the session, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda moved to the top of the timesheet on Medium tyres with a lap of 1:28.802. Verstappen returned to P1 just before the halfway point but he was soon demoted by Russell who led the way on 1:11.865. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso then jumped ahead of Verstappen with a good lap in Hard tyres.

Drivers then began to move to Soft compound tyres and Hülkenberg made another appearance in the top there, slotting into second place, just under a tenth off Russell.

Russell’s grip on the top spot was finally loosened by Sainz who bolted on Soft tyres and set a lap of 1:11.732s to take P1. Leclerc then climbed to second place, 0.108s behind his team-mate.

Russell managed to hang on to third at the flag, ahead of Hülkenberg, with Williams’ Alex Albon taking fourth place ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. Pierre Gasly finished seventh for Alpine, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. Logan Sargeant was ninth, while Magnussen rounded out the top 10. Alonso ended up in 11th ahead of Hamilton and Tsunoda, while Daniel Ricciardo took 14th ahead of Esteban Ocon in second Alpine. Verstappen, meanwhile, took the flag in a lowly 16th place, a full second off the Ferrari drivers after only running on hard tyres during the session. Pérez finished in 18th, behind Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:11.732 30
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:11.840 32
03 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:11.865 31
04 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:11.928 19
05 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:12.044 28
06 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:12.136 26
07 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:12.184 31
08 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:12.481 27
09 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:12.579 30
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:12.592 24
11 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:12.615 28
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:12.638 30
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:12.714 29
14 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:12.778 27
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:12.779 30
16 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:12.793 30
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:13.012 31
18 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:13.056 31
19 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:13.629 25
20 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:13.838 28

Formula 1 news