Eight months after making his shock return to Formula 1, Kevin Magnussen took a stunning pole position in qualifying for the 2022 Sao Paulo Sprint.
Although Q1 began on a damp track, slicks were soon fitted and it was Lando Norris who led the opening session, before Max Verstappen took over in a dry Q2. The top-10 shootout was a different story.
With two minutes of Q3 completed, Kevin Magnussen was top of the timesheets, and it was then that George Russell locked up and beached his Mercedes at Turn 5, bringing out a red flag to leave the Dane incredulous. A short stoppage later, and the rain began to fall: Magnussen’s time would stand, and he would have his first Formula 1 pole position.
Verstappen finished second, 0.203s off the pace, while Russell took third for the Sprint. Norris ended up fourth for McLaren, while Carlos Sainz – who has a five-place penalty for Sunday – rounded out the top five.
|1 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team||1:11.674|
|2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:11.877|
|3 George RUSSELL Mercedes||1:12.059|
|4 Lando NORRIS McLaren||1:12.263|
|5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||1:12.357|
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon qualified sixth ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso, leaving Lewis Hamilton eighth for Mercedes, Sergio Perez ninth for Red Bull, and Charles Leclerc 10th for Ferrari.
Lando Norris headed a wet-dry Q1 after showers hit the circuit ahead of qualifying, before the track quickly dried.
Q2 was run in dry conditions – though the rain began to fall just as the chequered flew – with Alex Albon missing out on safety by 0.044s as he qualified 11th. Pierre Gasly was 12th for AlphaTauri ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, while a mistake saw Vettel’s team mate Lance Stroll qualify 15th for the Sprint.
Times tumbled dramatically in Q1, but every driver managed to lap on soft tyres after Gasly sparked the changeover. Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was 16th ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu in 17th and his 18th-placed team mate Valtteri Bottas – who rued a second run on new intermediates – while Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher are set to occupy the final row for the start of the Sprint.