Max Verstappen tops Sebastian Vettel to take second career pole in Brazil

World champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for third place in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen on pole

Max Verstappen produced an impressive qualifying performance to take only the second pole position of his Formula One career at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver finished 0.123 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Saturday’s session at Interlagos.

Lewis Hamilton, who has already sealed the 2019 drivers’ title, came third, ending up 0.191s behind Verstappen in a Q3 session where the top drivers were closely matched.

The Briton has vowed to be more aggressive now his sixth world championship is secured and has won this race in two of the last three years.

Charles Leclerc was fourth but will drop down the grid due to a 10-place penalty he has collected due to taking a new power unit.

That means Valtteri Bottas, who qualified fifth, will start alongside Hamilton in an all-Mercedes second row.

Alexander Albon was sixth in the week he was confirmed as Verstappen’s team-mate for 2020 and will start on the third row with former Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly, who was the best of the rest outside of the top three teams.

 

Haas sprung a surprise by getting both drivers into the top-10 shoot-out, with Romain Grosjean coming eighth and Kevin Magnussen 10th.

Kimi Raikkonen was ninth for Alfa Romeo on the weekend he will equal Fernando Alonso on 312 F1 races, joint-second on a list led by Rubens Barrichello.

It was a bad day for McLaren with Carlos Sainz unable to set a time in Q1 due to suffering a loss of power, while Lando Norris had to settle for 11th as he dropped out in Q2, though Leclerc’s penalty does mean he will start 10th.

Both of those sessions were also topped by Verstappen, who led narrowly after the first runs of Q3 and then improved his time to make sure of pole.

 

The Dutchman, who will now seek a second victory of the season, has never won a race from pole before but said: “Of course I’ll try to finish it off on Sunday.

“The car was flying and really enjoyable to drive straight from Q1. I’m really happy with this pole position.”

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:07.508
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.123s
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.191s
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.220s (has 10-place grid penalty)
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.366s
6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) +0.427s
7. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) +1.329s
8. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +1.346s
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +1.476s
10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.529s

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