Easing through the early phases of qualifying, Verstappen actually set his fastest time of the day in Q2.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen took a second Formula 1 career pole position Saturday, setting the fastest time in each segment of qualifying in Brazil.
Verstappen scored his first F1 pole at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season and now in a car which clearly lacks the power of the Mercedes or Ferrari entries, the Red Bull driver now has two top starting positions.
Easing through the early phases of qualifying, Verstappen actually set his fastest time of the day in Q2 with a 1:07.503. As the clouds above caused fluctuations in track temperature the lap times equally fluctuated as four further top-ten drivers set times slower than their Q2 efforts.
“The car was really good,” said Verstappen. “I think throughout qualifying the track temperature was changing quite a bit so we had to adjust for that, but straight away from Q1 the car was flying. It was actually a really enjoyable to driver so I’m really happy with this pole position.”
Running wide in the middle sector on his first shootout attempt, Verstappen had still set the fastest time but he said of his error, “I tried a different line, but also the track was a bit warmer so it gave me a bit more oversteer then of course, I went a bit wide. The second lap luckily was a bit better so all good.”
In 2018, Verstappen had been leading the Brazilian Grand Prix when Esteban Ocon, then driving for Force India, attempted to un-lap himself. The failed move ended up costing the Red Bull driver victory, although he was able to recover to second place while Ocon could only manage P14.
Sebastian Vettel will line up alongside Verstappen on the front row. Qualifying inside the top three for a sixth consecutive Grand Prix, Vettel has only been able to convert one of these, the Singapore Grand Prix, into a victory.
Poor tire strategies along with a notable reliability problem when his engine expired in Russia have cost the German on these recent occasions, but Vettel is looking forwards rather than backwards as he heads into Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“I had a bit of a wobble on the exit of the last corner on the first run, but I think Max improved his time so fair play, and it’s his pole position,” said Vettel. “I think I’m happy with a front row. Now we see what we can do tomorrow.
“The car has been good. I think it got better throughout qualifying which was the target.”
“It will be difficult because I think both Red Bull and Mercedes look a bit stronger managing tires, but we are there for a reason. We’ve got the speed, we’ve got the power, so let’s see what the race brings. I’m carefully optimistic. It should be a good race.”
Lewis Hamilton lines up third for Mercedes and despite setting the fourth fastest time Charles Leclerc will start from P14 after receiving a ten-place penalty for changing his engine. During practice for the U.S. Grand Prix, his Ferrari engine had failed, and the Monegasque was forced to complete the remainder of the weekend with a previous specification unit.
For Haas, qualifying in Brazil was a welcome relief. For the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix all the way back in May, the team saw both cars reach the top ten shootout. Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified eighth and tenth respectively, although the race on Sunday will test whether they have managed to get on top of the tires and heat management of the rubber – a problem which has plagued the team throughout the season.
Carlos Sainz will start from last place on the grid. Exiting the final corner on his first timed lap in Q1, the McLaren driver reported a problem with his power unit and was pitted instantly. A previous worst start for the season came at the season opener in Australia, a start of P18, and the 2019 season has seen Sainz reach the top-ten shootout on 12 occasions.
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