Haas and Kevin Magnussen scored a maiden Formula 1 pole position as rain mixed up the order in qualifying at Interlagos.
The weather was a factor in all three sessions, but Magnussen’s early lap on slick tyres in Q3 proved good enough with the arrival of more rain and a red flag preventing anybody else from beating his time.
Max Verstappen was second for Red Bull ahead of George Russell, who held on to third for Mercedes despite causing the red flag by sliding into the gravel at turn four. But there was more woe for Ferrari, with bad tyre gamble leaving Charles Leclerc in 10th.
Magnussen will line up at the front for Saturday’s sprint, which will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
An earlier rain shower left the circuit damp for the start of qualifying, with all drivers initially running intermediate tyres.
Verstappen posted an early benchmark of 1m18.495s before finding a further 0.3 seconds to lead Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Haas driver Mick Schumacher.
Hamilton then set a 1m18.051s to move to the top halfway through the 15-minute session, as Pierre Gasly became the first driver to switch the slicks.
The AlphaTauri driver used his soft compound tyres to go fastest by over 0.4s, with the rest of the field opting to follow his move by switching to slicks.
Laptimes tumbled in the final five minutes, with several drivers having a chance to lead the way. One of those briefly quickest was Nicholas Latifi, but the rate of track evolution meant that the Williams driver was still eliminated once the chequered flag fell, having slipped to 16th.
Alfa Romeo duo Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Schumacher also failed to make it through.
Hamilton displaced Alonso at the top of the timesheets in the final moments, but the pair were beaten by Lando Norris who set a 1m13.106s to finish fastest for McLaren. Sebastian Vettel was fourth ahead of Sergio Perez and Verstappen.
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri
20 Mick Schumacher Haas
Verstappen set a 1m11.318s to head Alonso by 0.076s in Q2 before light rain arrived. Despite the weather, the track conditions remained favourable, with the Dutchman finding a further 0.5s to remain at the top.
Russell and Hamilton improved to third and fourth, but the pair were soon beaten by Norris and Leclerc.
Sainz then snatched second behind Verstappen, as Russell improved again to reclaim third before slightly heavier rain prevented any more improvements.
That left Alex Albon, Gasly, Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll in the bottom five, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon making it into Q3 in 10th by 0.044s.
11 Alex Albon Williams
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin
Light rain continued to fall as the remaining ten drivers lined up in the pitlane. But it was only Leclerc who headed out on intermediate tyres, with the other nine drivers staying on slicks.
With a brief window before the expected arrival of heavier rain, Magnussen set a 1m11.674s to take provisional pole. As he tried to improve on third, Russell dipped a wheel off the track under braking for turn four before sliding into the gravel as he fought to regain control and then became beached.
After a red flag period to retrieve Russell’s car, Hamilton headed to the track. But it was clear track conditions were now too wet to register improved times, much to the delight of Magnussen, who had remained in the pits.
Norris ended up fourth ahead of Sainz and Ocon. Alonso and Hamilton were seventh and eighth, but Perez did not record a competitive time and finished ninth.
Having realised the error of starting the session on intermediates, Leclerc did not register a time, leaving him 10th.
Sprint race grid:
1 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1m11.674s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.203s
3 George Russell Mercedes +0.385s
4 Lando Norris McLaren +0.589s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.683s
6 Esteban Ocon +0.751s
7 Fernando Alonso +0.830s
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.937s
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull +3.927s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari no time
Featured image credit: @f1 official twitter