Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying to secure P1 on the grid for the Saturday Sprint at Sao Paulo ahead of Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.
This being a Sprint weekend, qualifying took place on Friday afternoon to set the grid for tomorrow’s 100km dash – which will then set the grid for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Having led Q1 – Verstappen 0.6s off in P6 – Hamilton then topped Q2 to leave the Dutchman third and 0.4s off. In Q3, the Mercedes driver squeezed everything out of his new engine to set the fastest time of 1m07.934s and leave his rival second by 0.438s and Bottas third, another tenth off. With Hamilton’s new engine, however, comes a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez took fourth for Red Bull having closed the gap to Bottas ahead, while Pierre Gasly took a stellar fifth on the Sprint grid for AlphaTauri.
The Ferraris lined up sixth and seventh – Carlos Sainz ahead of Charles Leclerc – having outpaced the McLarens with Lando Norris ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in P9.
FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN GRANDE PRÊMIO DE SÃO PAULO 2021
|1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||1:07.934|
|2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:08.372|
|3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes||1:08.469|
|4 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||1:08.483|
|5 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri||1:08.777|
Neither Alfa Romeo made it to Q3, missing out in Q2 alongside AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in P13, Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin in P12 and Esteban Ocon of Alpine in P11 – behind team mate Fernando Alonso in 10th.
Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 and starts 16th on Saturday while, for the first time in a qualifying session, Williams’ George Russell was outpaced by his team mate Nicholas Latifi – the pair lining up 17th and 18th for the Sprint. The Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin line up on the back row.