Hamilton qualifies first for Saturday's Brazilian GP sprint race

12 November 2021 - 22:32 By Reuters
Fastest qualifier Lewis Hamilton celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 12, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Fastest qualifier Lewis Hamilton celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 12, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Image: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton made the most of a new engine to beat Formula One leader Max Verstappen with the fastest lap in qualifying for the sprint race that will decide the grid for Sunday's Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Hamilton was dominant in all three phases of the Friday session at the Brazilian city's Interlagos circuit, with the Mercedes driver clocking a best time of 1:07.934 seconds.

Red Bull's Dutchman Verstappen was second and 0.438 slower, a considerable margin around one of the shortest laps on the calendar.

"Let's go," exclaimed Hamilton over the team radio.

The Briton will have a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's main race as result of his engine change but can take three points if he wins on Saturday, with the top three scoring in a 3-2-1 system.

The 100km sprint is the last of three races in the experimental format this season, with the other two being at Monza and Silverstone. At least six are expected to be scheduled for 2022.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas was third fastest with Red Bull's Sergio Perez alongside on the second row.

"Lewis was untouchable today," commented Perez.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly starts fifth with the two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc followed by the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in the battle for third overall.

Fernando Alonso qualified 10th for Alpine.


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