Verstappen? Leclerc? Hamilton? No. Schumacher’s teammate Magnussen takes first place from Brazil in qualifying. The circumstances are strange.
Sao Paulo – Before the clock ran out, Mick Schumacher’s teammate Kevin Magnussen climbed into his car in the Haas pits, drummed the chassis and was celebrated by his crew.
Under gray skies in Sao Paulo, the Dane surprisingly secured top grid position for Formula 1’s final sprint race. In Brazil’s inclement weather, Magnussen benefited from a break after a crash involving Mercedes driver George Russell and could no longer get off the front. The 30-year-old man set the fastest time in strange conditions on a dry track, which his competitors could not resist after an involuntary break and the onset of rain.
Qualifying upset for Schumacher
His stable rival Schumacher experienced a disappointing qualifying. Haas’ co-pilot, who was still fighting for a new contract, was only last in the first knockout round. So the German didn’t do much-needed self-promotion. “It’s a shame, our car was actually really strong today,” said the 23-year-old. Magnussen later proved it. When preparing for his fast lap, Schumacher had to drive on a wet field and therefore was unable to get his tires up to temperature.
Sebastian Vettel at least made it to the second knockout round. In 13th place, the four-time world champion with Aston Martin missed the top ten.
In dry conditions, Russell’s slip into the gravel bed was interrupted after nearly four minutes in the deciding round. Then the rain came down, the other drivers couldn’t improve their times and Magnussen stayed in front. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” the Dane said over the radio before going into the pit. “The team brought me out at the right time. It’s unbelievable.”
As Interlagos will host a sprint race for the third and final time this season on Saturday (20:30), qualifying has been moved to Friday. The sprint result then provides the starting grid for the race on the penultimate Sunday of the season (19:00).
Perez fastest in opening session
In the opening session, Sergio Perez was unbeatable, albeit extremely close. In a one-hour session of 1:11.853, the Mexican was 0.004 seconds behind Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari for second place. Perez’s teammate Max Verstappen, who was already world champion, was just 0.008 seconds off the top. And that, despite the fact that the Dutchman complained about the rest of the car.
“It will be important that you get out at the right time,” Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said ahead of the race and spoke of the “difficult conditions”. Leclerc and Carlos Sainz experienced it in their own Ferrari pits. Like the competition, they wanted to switch from all-weather tires to soft rubber in the first knockout round, but didn’t have the right tires ready. Slapstick at Scuderia.
Haas, on the other hand, was over the moon. “Magnussen took advantage of the opportunity, went first and had a flawless lap,” said Red Bull motorsport adviser Marco, praising the coup in the competition.