Brazil, Sprint shootout: Norris takes top spot for São Paulo Sprint
Ahead of Verstappen and Pérez
McLaren’s Lando Norris topped the Sprint Shootout in São Paulo, beating Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to the front of the grid for the Sprint at Interlagos, as Sergio Pérez took third place in the second Red Bull.
At the start of SQ1 Verstappen set the pace at 1:11.88 but he was soon beaten by both Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, with the Spaniard driver taking top spot thanks to a lap of 1:11.796.
Verstappen continued to put in slower laps on the mandated Medium tyres but in the end the champion backed out of a final flyer and went through in fourth behind Sainz, Norris and Hamilton.
As the clock ticked down towards the end of the session the bulk drivers headed out for a final run, but many were denied when Alpine’s Esteban Ocon collided with Fernando Alonso in Turn 3 and the red flags were shown. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Race Control ruled that the session would not be resumed.
Eliminated at the end of the session were 16th placed Ocon, followed by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, and the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, with the final three denied a final lap by the red flags.
When the second session began following repairs to the barriers, Verstappen and Pérez were first on track and the Dutch driver stopped the clock at 1:11.449, with Pérez just over 0.015s behind. They were then split by Sainz, three hundredths ahead of Pérez, with Leclerc just behind the Mexican in fourth place.
In the final runs of Q2 Verstappen went purple thanks in the final sector and the champion improved to 1:11.263, but Pérez went quicker, going purple in the middle sector, to take top spot with a lap of 11:11.230.
Norris, though, found the most time and the McLaren driver jumped from the bottom of the order to P1 with a lap of 1:11.221. The Red Bulls took P2 and P3 with Daniel Ricciardo fourth for AlphaTauri ahead of Leclerc.
Ruled out at the end of SQ2 were Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg in P11 and P12 respectively, with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly departing in 13th place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Alonso, who didn’t take part following his SQ1 collision.
The Soft tyres came out for the final eight-minute battle for top spot but only a handful had new Softs available. One of those disadvantaged by old rubber was the first man on track, Oscar Piastri. The McLaren driver stopped the clock at 1.11.189 but behind him his team-mate., on new Softs, was running much quicker and Norris powered to P1 on 1:10.622. Verstappen was unable to match the McLaren driver’s pace but his 1:10.683 proved good enough for a front-row spot alongside the Briton.
Pérez, meanwhile, was in the same situation as Piastri. With no new Softs at his disposal it looked like the Mexican was destined for a start at the lower end of the top 10. However, the Red Bull driver dug deep to cross the line in 1:10.756, just 0.134 off Norris and in P3 for the Sprint. The Mexican was followed by Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda sixth ahead of Leclerc and Ricciardo, while Sainz took ninth ahead of Piastri.
|Pos.||Driver||Team||SQ1 time||SQ2 time||SQ3 time|
|01||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:11.824||1:11.221||1:10.622|
|02||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:11.888||1:11.262||1:10.683|
|03||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:12.218||1:11.230||1:10.756|
|04||George Russell||Mercedes W14||1:11.976||1:11.516||1:10.857|
|05||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W14||1:11.870||1:11.476||1:10.940|
|06||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:12.358||1:11.676||1:11.019|
|07||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF-23||1:12.107||1:11.473||1:11.077|
|08||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:12.175||1:11.423||1:11.122|
|09||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF-23||1:11.796||1:11.491||1:11.126|
|10||Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:12.356||1:11.648||1:11.189|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:12.058||1:11.727|
|12||Nico Hülkenberg||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:12.136||1:11.752|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault A523||1:12.229||1:11.822|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:12.203||1:11.872|
|15||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:12.224||-:—.---|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A523||1:12.388|
|17||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:12.482|
|18||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:12.497|
|19||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:12.525|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:12.615|