By Robert Haile
Haas and Kevin Magnussen have claimed a spectacular maiden pole position in São Paulo for the Sprint Race in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The wet-dry qualifying for the sprint race has thrown some mystifying results with a drying track, red flags and rain leading to one of the biggest surprises this season.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen said: “It’s incredible. I want to say thank you to Gene Haas, Guenther and the whole team for taking me back on and giving me the opportunity to have a day like this – I’m so chuffed.
“The team put me out in the pitlane as the first car and that was the gamechanger. It gave me the best piece of track as it started to rain and we got pole.
“It was the longest minute of my life trying to stay calm as it looked like it was going to be wet but you never know. I’m so happy.”
There were three different leaders as McLaren’s Lando Norris led the first, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen the second before Magnussen secured pole in the third.
A wet track dried out in the first session with several drivers making it through to the second session that had been in the elimination zone.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo took fifteenth by 0.164 seconds as Williams Nicholas Latifi missed out in sixteenth.
Both Alfa Romeo’s went out with Zhou Guanyu beating Valtteri Bottas as Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher finished in the last two positions.
The second session and the radios were a buzz with the drivers and teams talking of rain.
That didn’t stop Verstappen topping the timing sheets with Carlos Sainz in second.
It was another tight cut off with Williams’ Alex Albon 0.044 seconds off Alpines’ Esteban Ocon in tenth.
AlphaTauri didn’t make it to the top ten shoot out with Pierre Gasly finishing twelfth and both Aston Martin’s went out with Sebastian Vettel in thirteenth and Lance Stroll fifteenth.
Daniel Ricciardo split the Aston drivers in fourteenth.
Then the party started.
With rain a possibility the cars queued up in the pit lane to start the top ten shoot out with most on smooth tyres Charles Leclerc went with the intermediate treaded tyre ready for the rain, that didn’t come.
After struggling Leclerc pitted and then everything went Haas’ way.
Kevin Magnussen had gone fastest of the first runs with Verstappen and George Russell completing the top three.
It was Russell who probably helped keep the Dane, who wasn’t even on the grid at the beginning of the season, on top when he beached his car bringing out a red flag.
Then the rain fell changing the conditions completely giving Haas and Magnussen Pole.
Norris took fourth, Sainz fifth then Alpine with Ocon and Fernando Alonso in sixth and seventh, Lewis Hamilton eighth, Sergio Perez ninth and Leclerc tenth.
The only certainty for the sprint race is that nothing will stay the same for the Grand Prix on Sunday November 13.
Brazilian Sprint Race Qualifying
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- George Russell (Mercedes)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
- Alex Albon (Williams)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Marin)
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
- Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
- Mick Schumacher (Haas)