Max Verstappen, for all the excitement he brings into any given Formula One race, has only started a race on pole once in his career. Today, after being dominant in every session, he extends that list to two. And the pole is the first for a Honda-powered car at Interlagos since 1991 when Ayrton Senna qualified first for McLaren.
Verstappen was in a class of his own throughout all three qualifying sessions, well ahead of both outside competition and teammate Alex Albon. Once again, all three race-winning manufacturers will be represented in the top three spots for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, though a 10-spot penalty for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc keeps that pattern from repeating again from fourth to sixth.
Throughout every session, it has seemed that Red Bull has a pace advantage, while Mercedes is said to be in the best situation for tire management. That’s unfortunate news for Sebastian Vettel, who starts second but seemed fairly pessimistic in his post-qualifying interview about his prospects tomorrow.
It’s worse news, however, for Charles Leclerc, who somehow has to make up thirteen spots in what’s expected to be a dry race at a track where excitement generally follows rain.
Pierre Gasly is best-of-the-rest in his Toro Rosso, starting sixth. Kimi Raikkonen will start ninth, which is impressive for Alfa Romeo.