Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton led Qualifying this evening to land the fastest lap and will lead tomorrow’s Sprint race.
The British world champion will then take a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race following his engine change.
Max Verstappen will take off tomorrow from second, ahead of Valtteri Bottas in third and Sergio Perez in fourth.
Here’s how it played out this evening at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace:
In the opening minutes, Pierre Gasly proved faster than the two Ferraris on track with his lap in 1:10.062 – four-tenths quicker than Carlos Sainz.
The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez arrived on track with a bang, with Verstappen posting a lap in 1:09.329, followed by his teammate, .2s off the pace split by the McLaren of Lando Norris early on.
However, the Dutchman’s efforts were immediately trumped with the arrival of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on track, who went half a second faster than Verstappen on his first lap, demoting him to second – .5s ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas now in third.
After a particularly solid start from Mercedes and Ferrari, when time ran out this evening Hamilton remained out front ahead of the two Ferrari’s in second and third, with Perez in fourth.
Down in the elimination zone was:
- Lance Stroll
- Nicholas Latifi
- George Russell
- Mick Schumache
- Nikita Mazepin
After three and a half minutes of silence, most of the drivers headed out on track led by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
With all to play for in the final moments of Qualifying this evening, Hamilton proved dominant in the Mercedes with Verstappen in second – still ahead of Bottas and Perez for tomorrow’s final season Sprint.
Hamilton posted a lap in 1:08.659 but his time was deleted for track limits – and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen quickly nabbed the top spot with a lap in 1:08.567.
Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc were second and third, both ahead of Bottas.
After his second attempt, Lewis Hamilton retook the lead and was two tenths ahead of Verstappen with 5 minutes to go.
He managed to keep his pace until time ran out in Q2 with Bottas in second, Verstappen in third, and Ferrari’s Leclerc in fourth.
Down in the elimination zone heading into Q3 was:
Heading into the final shootout this evening, Charles Leclerc posted the first lap in 1:09.403 with the rest of the field chasing the Ferrari’s time.
Moments later Lewis Hamilton sailed ahead with a lap in 1:08.107 followed by Verstappen .2s off the pace with Bottas in third and Perez in fourth.