Brazil, Sprint shootout: Norris takes top spot for São Paulo Sprint

Ahead of Verstappen and Pérez


By Franck Drui

4 November 2023 - 16:17
Brazil, Sprint shootout: Norris (...)

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.DriverTeamSQ1 timeSQ2 timeSQ3 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

Formula 1 news