Hamilton takes pole for qualifying sprint at Brazilian GP
Sports Desk, Nov 12 (EFE).- Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) will start from pole in the qualifying sprint for the Formula One Grand Prix of Sao Paulo after dominating in Friday’s pre-qualifiers at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in the Brazilian metropolis.
In Q3, the seven-time F1 champion posted a fastest lap of 1:07.934, 0.4 seconds faster than Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who currently leads the driver standings with 312.5 points, 19 more than Hamilton.
The other Mercedes driver, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, was third, just ahead of Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico.
Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) secured fifth place, followed by the Ferrari duo of Spaniard Carlos Sainz and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc.
Next were the McLaren pair of Briton Lando Norris and Australian Daniel Ricciardo. Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine) took 10th place.
The winner of Saturday’s Sprint earns 3 points in the driver standings, with second place good for 2 points and third for a single point.
More importantly, the Sprint result determines the start order for Sunday’s main event, though Hamilton will start no higher than P6 because he incurred a five-place grid penalty for making his fifth engine change of the season.
The 36-year-old Briton has only four races left to overtake Verstappen, 24, as the Dutchman pursues what would be his first F1 championship.
Sao Paulo is the third race this season to include a Saturday sprint, a new feature in F1.
Verstappen won the sprints at Silverstone (British Grand Prix) and Monza (Italian Grand Prix). But on each occasion, the challenger went out of the race on Sunday after collisions with Hamilton.
At Silverstone, Hamilton was able to continue and went on to win the race despite his receiving a 10-second time penalty. The crash at Monza took both drivers out. EFE