The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team secured P1 and P3 on the grid for tomorrow’s Sprint at Interlagos after a strong team performance in qualifying.
Lewis took P1 on the grid after three laps fast enough to claim top spot.
Valtteri will start from P3 after missing out on the front row by just 0.097s.
Both drivers completed long and short runs on Medium and Soft tyres in FP1 this morning.
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I’m so happy to be back here in Brazil! One of the marshals just said to me that I should use more often the Senna colours and flag because that’s the first pole in a long time! Just a big, big thank you to all the team because they’ve been working flat out. It’s been so hard coming from the last race to here, taking the car apart and rebuilding it… just the man hours are insane but today was a really good qualifying session, I’m super happy with it. We’ve got the penalty on Sunday but we’ll give it everything we’ve got tomorrow, then I’ll do my best to try and get through the field. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold in the Sprint but I think the weather will perhaps be a bit better which will make it a little bit more difficult for everyone, but I feel really grateful. It’s crazy because it’s been a while, so it feels like the first!
First practice today was a bit of a tricky session and I didn’t feel quite comfortable with the car, especially in the first sector. It got a bit better in qualifying but still the main place I was losing out to Lewis was Turns 1 and 2, and a bit on the straight, so I’m not fully satisfied with P3. But obviously it’s still a good starting place and there is everything to play for tomorrow in the Sprint race. Hopefully lap one will be full of action and we can make some progress towards the front!
A very impressive session from Lewis to secure P1 for the sprint qualifying tomorrow and Valtteri only narrowly missed out on locking out the front row. The sprint format does throw a few challenges our way, only having one hour to do the work we normally complete in three hours means that we must be quite selective with our priorities going into the practice session. It also puts a huge importance on arriving with a car that is balanced and performing well. While we didn’t look great on the first run in free practice, it was clear by the second run that we had good pace in the car but because the track is evolving so quickly here, you still need to adapt the car for qualifying to take account of the grip coming up. We’ll see tomorrow how our long run pace holds up, we’re also expecting cooler conditions in the sprint qualifying than the race on Sunday so it’s going to be interesting to see how the performance picture unfolds, but overall we’ve got off to an encouraging start.