Max Verstappen will start on pole position for the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix in a qualifying session that saw late rainfall.
Weather was a looming threat of throughout the first qualifying session. Paired with a rapidly improving track, it made for intriguing viewing as it appeared critical for drivers to be sent out at the right time. Whilst Stroll did report rain drops right towards the end of the session, it did not seem to have any apparent impact in the end on Q1.
Alpha Tauri will have been disappointed with their qualifying after how strong the car looked in Mexico. Tsunoda and Ricciardo were 16th and 17th respectively in the end, having had Ricciardo start 4th just one week ago.
On the opposite end of things Aston Martin appeared stronger than they have done in the last couple of weekends, with Stroll and Alonso comfortably in the top 10 with 6th and 7th respectively.
16. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri +0.044
17. Daniel Ricciardo – Alpha Tauri +0.050
18. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo +0.162
19. Logan Sargeant – Williams +0242
20. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.482
McLaren looked sharp in Q2, with Lando Norris finding himself finishing the session in 1st place. However, there was only three tenths between himself and Stroll in 10th, with numerous drivers showing they could have the ability to snatch pole away in Q3.
Stroll finishing 10th means that he was able to reach Q3 for the first time since the Dutch Grand Prix, no doubt providing the Canadian with a boost of confidence after a rough patch of form in the last couple of months.
Alex Albon possibly could have finished higher than 15th in Q2, however after running wide at turn 4 he had a lap time deleted, leaving him with the slowest lap of the session.
11. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.172
12. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +0.187
13. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.192
14. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.348
15. Alex Albon – Williams +0.465
The rain finally began to roll in once Q3 began, though took a few minutes to really settle in, leaving each driver just one opportunity to set a time. This highly benefitted the drivers who went out early, including Max Verstappen, who was able to set pole position with a time 7 tenths slower than what he’d achieved in Q2.
Despite looking so strong throughout Q1 and Q2, McLaren got it all wrong with the time they’d sent out their cars. Norris lost a second to Verstappen in the final sector, whilst Piastri would go off at turn 12, ruining any chance he’d have of starting above tenth.
Aston Martin’s qualifying rounded out incredibly, as Stroll put his car in a season best start of 3rd, whilst Alonso qualified in 4th place. This is the best collective qualifying result for the team this season.
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull 1:10.727
2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +0.294
3. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.617
4. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin +0.660
5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +0.742
6. George Russell – Mercedes +0.863
7. Lando Norris – McLaren +1.260
8. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +1.262
9. Sergio Perez – Red Bull +1.594
10. Oscar Piastri– McLaren NO TIME