Sports Desk, Nov 12 (EFE).- Briton George Russell (Mercedes) won Saturday’s qualifying sprint to grab pole position for the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix.
Spain’s Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) was the second-fastest around the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, followed by British seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio “Checo” Perez.
But due to a five-place grid penalty, Sainz will start from P7 Sunday because of a five-place grid penalty, which translates into the first front-row lockout for the season for Mercedes.
The Dutchman, who clinched his second straight championship last month, and his Mexican teammate will be on the second row.
Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) will start from P5 alongside Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), while Sainz is joined on the fourth row by Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen (Haas), the pole-sitter for the sprint.
German double-champion Sebastian Vettel (AstonMartin) will start from P9, just ahead of Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).
The highlight of the sprint was a duel between Verstappen, who overtook Magnussen on Lap 3, and Russell, whose persistent efforts to get past the Dutchman bore fruit on Lap 15.
Any chance Verstappen may have had to battle for a top three place disappeared when Sainz clipped his car on Lap 19.
With Saturday’s results, Perez leads Leclerc by 284 points to 278 points in the battle for second place in the driver’s standings ahead of the Brazil race and next week’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Ferrari and Mercedes are separated by 39 points in the quest to finish second behind Red Bull in the constructor’s championship.