In a very close Sprint Qualifying session, Lando Norris turned a lap of 1m10.622s to win the pole for this afternoon’s final Sprint race of 2023 in Sao Paulo.
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Norris in his #4 McLaren Mercedes just nipped Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Honda by 0.061s at Interlagos, but could he hold off the Dutchman in the Sprint Race?
“A great day, but honestly it felt like one of the worst laps I’ve done so it’s a surprise,” said Norris.
“My first pole in a long time so I’m happy. The pave has been good all weekend, the car has been strong. It’s a tough one, the Bulls are always quick, Max is very quick. I’ll give it my all.”
Sergio Perez was third quick in the 2nd Red Bull Honda, 0.134s back.
The two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were 4th and 5th, 0.235s and 0.318s behind respectively.
Yuki Tsunoda was sixth, Charles Leclerc seventh and Daniel Ricciardo eighth. Carlos Sainz Jr. and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top 10 on used tires.
Just over half a second separated the top 10.
Esteban Ocon hit Fernando Alonso in Q1 that sent Ocon into the barriers and Alonso to the pits with a broken left front suspension.
It’s clear that Ocon got on the curbs and was slightly out of shape as he was coming up behind the Aston Martin. Was the turbulent air to blame, or did Alonso’s tiny jink left spook the Frenchman?
So Norris finally grabs a P1 starting slot, his first for a couple of years since Sochi in 2021.
In a few hours, it will be Norris and Verstappen side by side down to Turn 1, Perez back to his best in 3rd, Mercedes on the prowl and AlphaTauri right in the mix for more points.
2023 Sao Paulo Sprint Qualifying Results
|1||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1m11.824s||1m11.221s||1m10.622s|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m11.888s||1m11.262s||1m10.683s|
|3||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m12.218s||1m11.230s||1m10.756s|
|4||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||1m11.976s||1m11.516s||1m10.857s|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||1m11.870s||1m11.476s||1m10.940s|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m12.358s||1m11.676s||1m11.019s|
|7||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1m12.107s||1m11.473s||1m11.077s|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m12.175s||1m11.423s||1m11.122s|
|9||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1m11.796s||1m11.491s||1m11.126s|
|10||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1m12.356s||1m11.648s||1m11.189s|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m12.058s||1m11.727s||–|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||1m12.136s||1m11.752s||–|
|13||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m12.229s||1m11.822s||–|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||1m12.303s||1m11.872s||–|
|15||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||1m12.224s||No Time Set||–|
|16||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m12.388s||–||–|
|17||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||1m12.482s||–||–|
|18||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||1m12.497s||–||–|
|19||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||1m12.525s||–||–|
|20||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||1m12.615s||–||–|