Lando Norris has taken pole position in the Sprint Shootout at Interlagos, and starts ahead of both Red Bulls for the sprint later today.
There was a late red flag that came out as a result of contact between Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso. Ocon had suffered from a bit of oversteer on the exit of turn 2, with his correction of the car sending him into the path of Alonso, who was on the outside of turn 3 to let Ocon through. Whilst Ocon’s car was completely damaged, Alonso was still able to make it back to the pits, albeit with a puncture and dragging the floor of his car on the ground.
The red flag meant those in the bottom 5 were unable to have another opportunity to escape. This particularly turned Lance Stroll’s weekend on its head somewhat, having came 3rd in yesterday’s qualifying, though will start the sprint later this afternoon in 17th.
Oscar Piastri appeared to struggle in the first part of the sprint shootout, having only been 14th fastest, and very much at risk of potentially falling further down. The red flag meant that any risk of elimination was removed, and he was safely able to move on into SQ2.
16. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +0.030
17. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.124
18. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.139
19. Alex Albon – Williams +0.167
20. Logan Sargeant – Williams +0257
Whilst he may have been able to get back to the pits at the end of SQ1, any damage sustained in the incident with Ocon meant that Alonso would not be able to be sent back out for SQ2, forcing him to start from 15th for the sprint race later today.
Alpha Tauri look much stronger than they did in yesterday’s qualifying session. Yuki Tsunoda was able to put his car up into 10th place, whilst Ricciardo was able to shoot up to 4th by the end of SQ2, with the car showing signs of the pace it had in Mexico.
11. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.051
12. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.076
13. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.146
14. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo +0.196
15. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin NO TIME
The short length of the final session provided each driver with just one chance at pole position. Also, with the rest of the weekend to think about, teams needed to decide whether they could afford to go out on fresh tyres for this session and not compromise their strategy for the grand prix.
Verstappen would set the early benchmark, though Norris would be able to pip him to pole by less than a tenth of a second. There were multiple challengers to Norris, with Perez, Hamilton and Russell all being ahead of his time going into the final sector, however each one of them faltered in the end.
This is the second time McLaren have had a pole position in a sprint shootout, following on from Oscar Piastri in Qatar. Whilst Piastri was able to go on and win the sprint race later on, it remains to be seen if Norris will be able to do the same.
Sprint Shootout Results
1. Lando Norris – McLaren 1:10.622
2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull +0.061
3. Sergio Perez – Red Bull +0.134
4. George Russell – Mercedes +0.235
5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +0.318
6. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri +0.397
7. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +0.455
8. Daniel Ricciardo – Alpha Tauri +0.500
9. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +0.504
10. Oscar Piastri– McLaren +0.567