Sports Desk, Nov 13 (EFE).- Finland’s Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) got a tremendous start to surge ahead of pole-sitter Max Verstappen on the first lap of Saturday’s qualifying sprint for the Formula One Sao Paulo Grand Prix and hung on to finish a second faster than the Dutchman and secure pole position for the main event.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) was third, holding off a challenge from Verstappen’s Mexican teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez.
Lewis Hamilton, who took the pole in Friday’s qualifier but had to start from 20th after the stewards sanctioned him for a DRS infringement, made his way through the field to claim fifth place.
But the British seven-time F1 champion will begin Sunday’s race from P10 due to a five-place grid penalty for making his fifth engine change of the season.
The penalty for Hamilton means that compatriot Lando Norris (McLaren) moves up to P5, followed by Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Frenchmen Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine), and Germany’s Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), holder of four F1 championships.
The 2 points he picked up Saturday for second place in the sprint boosted Verstappen’s lead over Hamilton in the driver standings to 21 points.
Hamilton, 36, has only four races left to overtake Verstappen as the 24-year-old Dutchman pursues what would be his first F1 championship. EFE arh/dr