Qualifying for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was something of a lottery at Interlagos. At the start of the session, the track was damp, before drying out for all of Q2, while just a few minutes into the final phase, the rain returned, meaning the positions were set, which did not work out well for Scuderia Ferrari.
Q3. As is usually the case after rain at Interlagos, the track dried out quickly, so that having first gone out on Intermediate tyres in Q1, all the drivers had to do another run on Softs, which they were also able to use for the entirety of Q2. Then came Q3 and the rain was expected at any moment. Carlos went out on new Softs, while Charles on Intermediates. Sainz posted a time of 1’12”357, encountering a bit of traffic on his lap and so he continued to try and improve. Leclerc pitted for Soft tyres, but just as he started his flying lap, the red flag came out because George Russell went off the track. A few minutes later the session resumed, but by then it had started to rain heavily and so the positions remained unchanged. Carlos was fifth, Charles tenth and pole went to Kevin Magnussen in the Haas.
Fighting back. Both Ferrari drivers will therefore be looking to make up some places in tomorrow’s Sprint, to get the best possible grid positions for the actual Grand Prix which gets underway on Sunday at 15.
Carlos Sainz #55
"A tough day for the team in a tricky qualifying. We had one shot in Q3 with the Softs before the rain arrived and we will be starting from P5 tomorrow.
We will try to use the sprint race to gain some positions before serving the penalty on Sunday. Congratulations to Kevin and the entire Haas team for their first pole position."
Charles Leclerc #16
"A disappointing outcome given that the pace was there. We still have a good car, so now we need to get on it and push to make up positions tomorrow in the Sprint."
Laurent Mekies, Racing Director
"Today’s qualifying was something of a lottery. The whole session was hard work and we got some calls just right and others less so, as was the case with Charles at the start of Q3. We split the strategies because we knew rain was imminent. In fact, the drivers on Soft tyres only just had time to put in a lap before the rain became heavy. It’s clearly frustrating for Charles and for all of us, because, this season, we have had some great qualifying sessions in equally difficult conditions. We will try and move forward, learning from today.
We weren’t the only team to have had mixed fortunes in qualifying, with one car towards the front and another further back. It’s just the start of a long weekend and we will try and get the most out of tomorrow’s Sprint in which our drivers will have similar goals. Carlos will be trying to finish as high up as possible to counteract the five place grid penalty which he has on Sunday, while Charles will be aiming to secure a place in the front three rows of the grid for the Grand Prix.
Finally, congratulations to the Haas F1 Team and Kevin Magnussen on their first ever pole. It’s a day they will never forget."