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F1 Brazilian GP: Norris beats Verstappen to sprint shootout pole

Lando Norris clinched the fastest time in the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix sprint shootout to beat Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to pole.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Despite a first sector that was over two-tenths slower than the best efforts from the Red Bulls, Norris found time over the rest of the lap to clinch pole position for Saturday's shortened race - albeit with some evident bemusement after feeling that his lap was not particularly special.

McLaren put both cars onto the track first in the SQ3 session, with Oscar Piastri opening the final stage with a 1m11.189s benchmark, but Norris' eventual best put that in the shade.

The Briton endured a nervy wait as the Red Bulls and Mercedes looked far stronger in the opening sector; Verstappen looked to be good value to usurp the McLaren having been up on Norris' split by the end of the second sector, but could not maintain that pace.

Perez was then tracking in first having set the best opening split on his run, but fell behind team-mate Verstappen to collect third place on the sprint grid.

Norris was among a number of drivers who had received summons from the stewards over an alleged failure to follow the stewards' instructions on maximum lap time.

The Mexican was followed by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton; Russell briefly looked to be a contender for pole having matched Norris' middle sector, but lost four-tenths compared to his countryman in the final part of the lap.

Yuki Tsunoda impressed with a run to sixth on the grid, as Charles Leclerc could not deliver anything better than seventh on his sole lap of the session. This nonetheless put him above Daniel Ricciardo, as Carlos Sainz and Piastri completed the top 10.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Mercedes and McLaren had rescued themselves from the drop in SQ2 amid a quickfire flurry of final laps, at the expense of both Haas cars as Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg had been well among the mix after the opening attempt.

Both AlphaTauris, along with Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly, had decided to wait until the end to post their first and only laps of the session; Bottas had elevated himself into the top 10 at the expense of Russell.

But this preceded a number of improvements; Tsunoda and Ricciardo fired themselves well into the top 10 order - Ricciardo moving up to second for a brief spell - to push Hamilton and Norris into the bottom five.

The brace of Mercedes cars managed to extricate themselves from trouble despite setting not particularly competitive first sectors, as Norris also did so with a flourish as he placed himself on top of the pile.

Magnussen beat Hulkenberg by 0.025s to claim 11th on the sprint grid, while Gasly and Bottas were shuffled down to 13th and 14th.

The opening sprint qualifying stage had been brought to a premature end as Esteban Ocon clashed with Alonso at the Curva do Sol, which pitched the Alpine driver into the wall having started his final lap of the opening 12 minutes.

Ocon had been dumped into the drop zone and was gearing up to reverse that as the session entered its final minute, but suffered a snap of oversteer and careened into a slow-moving Alonso - who had peeled off the racing line to give Ocon room to pass.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, crashes out of Shootout Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 after contact with Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, crashes out of Shootout Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 after contact with Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Alonso had sustained too much damage in the impact, which precluded any running in SQ2 to consign him to an early exit.

The incident produced a red flag which froze the other, leaving Friday's qualifying star Lance Stroll stranded in 17th for the sprint grid having been unable to improve on his second attempt at a lap.

Zhou Guanyu was also eliminated at the first stage, while Alex Albon's attempt to break out of the bottom five was put on ice by the early conclusion to the session. Logan Sargeant was last of the runners, although felt that he had been impeded by a Haas during his second attempt.

Brazilian GP Sprint Qualifying results

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

1'10.622

219.653
2 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.061

1'10.683

219.464
3 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.134

1'10.756

219.237
4 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.235

1'10.857

218.925
5 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.318

1'10.940

218.669
6 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.397

1'11.019

218.426
7 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.455

1'11.077

218.247
8 Australia D. Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.500

1'11.122

218.109
9 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.504

1'11.126

218.097
10 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.567

1'11.189

217.904
11 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+1.105

1'11.727

216.270
12 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+1.130

1'11.752

216.194
13 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+1.200

1'11.822

215.983
14 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+1.250

1'11.872

215.833
15 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

 

 
16 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+1.766

1'12.388

214.295
17 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.860

1'12.482

214.017
18 China Z. Guanyu Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+1.875

1'12.497

213.972
19 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+1.903

1'12.525

213.890
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes

+1.993

1'12.615

213.625

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