Brazilian GP Qualifying: Max Verstappen on pole for Red Bull
Verstappen 0.1s ahead of Vettel, with Hamilton missing out on front row; Leclerc fourth and will take 10-place grid drop; Neither McLaren in top-10; Watch Sunday's Brazilian GP at 5.10pm on Sky Sports F1
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 17/11/19 4:50pm
An in-form Max Verstappen sealed his second career pole position after beating Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Brazilian GP qualifying.
Red Bull aren't always contenders on a Saturday but Verstappen was superb throughout qualifying, topping every segment and acing his final lap to put himself in the best position to erase his 2018 Interlagos memories.
"Straight away the car was flying in Q1 and it was really enjoyable to drive," said Verstappen, who was leading last year's race before colliding with Esteban Ocon. "I'll try to finish it off now."
Verstappen's pole lap, a 1:07.508, was a tenth of a second faster than Vettel in the powerful Ferrari, with Hamilton just missing out on the front row.
When's the Brazilian GP on Sky?
It's iconic, fast, and often chaotic - and the Brazilian GP is live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend as the 2019 season speeds toward its finish.
"We've been down on power compared to the others, that's where we lost our time," said a rueful Hamilton, F1's new six-time champion. "But I gave it my absolute all. It's good to split the Ferraris."
Charles Leclerc said he was "very disappointed" with himself as a mistake on his final effort left him fourth - and the young Ferrari driver will take a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday's race because of a new engine.
But Leclerc still outpaced Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas - four-tenths off the pace - and Alex Albon in the other Red Bull.
Pierre Gasly continued his fine form in the Toro Rosso to top the midfield - even more impressive when considering team-mate Daniil Kvyat exited Q1 - while both Haas cars made Q3 for the first time since the Spanish GP in May.
Neither McLaren finished in the top-10; Carlos Sainz because of an engine issue at the start of the session and Lando Norris after being knocked out in Q2, although he'll start 10th because of Leclerc's grid drop.
Brazilian GP Qualifying Result
1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari*
5. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
6. Alex Albon, Red Bull
7. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso
8. Romain Grosjean, Haas
9. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
10. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
*has 10-place grid penalty
Verstappen on pole, but is he untouchable?
Given that this was only the second career pole for a driver as talented as Verstappen, who has seven F1 wins, tells you just how much Red Bull struggle on a Saturday compared to race day. But Max was dominant throughout qualifying, with Red Bull combining their strong chassis through the corners with surprising straight-line speed from the Honda engine.
"If you think of where Honda were a few years ago, the effort they're putting in is really impressive," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Verstappen backed up a fastest time in Q1 with another in Q2, before sealing provisional pole and then pole. A welcome performance after losing pole in Mexico last month.
Ferrari were quicker in qualifying than their P3 pace suggested, and Vettel was crucially faster than Hamilton, but the Scuderia will still be disappointed not to have taken top spot considering the long Brazil straights and the short track.
And the wait goes on for Hamilton for a first pole since July's German GP.
"As long he gets off the line I don't really see anybody touching him," said Sky F1's Paul DI Resta of Verstappen as he prepares to line up on pole in Sunday's race.
"Of course Hamilton will be pushing through to try and get get Vettel, but the Ferraris are quick on the straight."
Bottas and Albon will also try to join that fight.
Leclerc is set to start 14th and says he will be in "maximum attack mode" starting on mediums, but he;ll have to come through a congested midfield, including four other Ferrari-powered cars.
And Sainz will need a similar recovery job from the back of the field - the Spaniard, seventh in the championship, didn't even get to set a time after an engine issue in Q1.
Brazilian GP Qualifying Timesheet
|1. Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:07.508|
|2. Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.123|
|3. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.191|
|4. Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.220|
|5. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.366|
|6. Alexander Albon||Red Bull||+0.427|
|7. Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||+1.329|
|8. Romain Grosjean||Haas||+1.346|
|9. Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1.476|
|10 .Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+1.529|
|Out in Q2|
|11. Lando Norris||McLaren||1:08.868|
|12. Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||1:08.903|
|13. Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:08.919|
|14. Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:08.921|
|15. Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:09.035|
|Out in Q1|
|16. Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:09.320|
|17. Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:09.536|
|18. George Russell||Williams||1:10.126|
|19. Robert Kubica||Williams||1:10.614|
|20. Carlos Sainz||McLaren||No time set|