Max secures pole position for Brazilian GP: 'It was hectic'
Published on 03 November 2023 by Stefan Meens
Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix from pole position. In treacherous conditions, the Dutchman lapped the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace quickest ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Lance Stroll completed the top three with his Aston Martin team mate Fernando Alonso lining up alongside in fourth. Max’ Oracle Red Bull Racing colleague Sergio Perez finished the session in ninth.
“We didn’t know when the rain was coming, but we knew it would”, said Max after Q3, which was shortened due to the worsening weather conditions. “This weather is insane. I was talking to Charles (Leclerc) about it; the lap felt terrible, the wind turned and got stronger. We lost a lot of lap time and it was hectic on that last lap.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of the weekend, Max said: “It’s very close, which you could see in qualifying. There is a lot of tyre deg around here, so it’s about managing it well.”
Ten minutes before the scheduled start of qualifying, race control announces a fifteen minute delay to the session. This allows the marshals to clear the track of any debris that appeared to cause punctures in FP1.
When the session does get underway, it is dry and hot, but in the distance dark clouds are moving towards Interlagos. With a 60% change of rain, the teams are eager to get banker laps in so at the start of Q1 it is busy on track.
Whilst Max comfortably progresses with the usual suspects in tow, the two Alfa Romeos, both AlphaTauris and Logan Sargeant’s Williams do not make the cut.
With the chances of rain intensifying by the minute, the two Red Bulls are first out on track in Q2. Max sets the pace early on but has to allow Lando Norris in front of him on the timing sheets, as the McLaren driver pips Max at the end of middle segment. The two Haas of Hulkenberg and Magnussen, the Alpine’s of Gasly and Ocon and Albon’s Williams fail to progress to Q3.
At the start of the final part of qualifying, rain is reported to be a mere seven minutes away from hitting the track. It effectively sets up a one-lap shoot out for the ten remaining drivers. Max is the first front runner to cross the line. Although his lap time is slower than his fastest Q2 time, the worsening conditions mean the reigning champion’s first and only timed effort is enough for another pole position. Charles Leclerc fails to make it three poles in a row but will line up next to Max for Sunday’s grid.
Aston Martin surprises with third and fourth as McLaren struggled to maintain the momentum from the previous few races. Lando Norris lines up in seventh with team Oscar Piastri in tenth. The latter went off in the penultimate corner. The subsequent yellow flag meant Sergio Perez’ lap was compromised, with the Mexican starting the Brazilian Grand Prix from P9.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:10.436||1:10.162||1:10.727|
|3||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.551||1:10.375||1:11.344|
|4||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.557||1:10.237||1:11.387|
|7||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:10.623||1:10.021||1:11.987|
|9||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:10.668||1:10.219||1:12.321|
|10||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:10.519||1:10.330|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:10.475||1:10.547|
|12||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:10.763||1:10.562|
|13||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:10.793||1:10.567|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:10.602||1:10.723|
|15||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:10.621||1:10.840|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:10.837|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:10.843|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:10.955|
|19||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:11.035|
|20||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:11.275|