Despite predictions of rain during qualifying, the session remained mainly dry, although with track temperatures that were 20 degrees cooler compared to yesterday. This helped the performance of the supersoft tyres, ending up approximately 6 tenths faster than the soft compound tyres.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed pole position using the supersoft tyre, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the sole competitor to use the soft tyre in Q2, meaning that he will start the race on this compound tomorrow. With a grid penalty in prospect, the Australian hopes to gain track position by running a longer first stint than usual.
Another driver facing grid penalties is Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley: he tactically chose not to set a time in Q2, despite going through to the session.
Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton crashed his Mercedes in Q1 and will start at the back, meaning that he has a free choice of tyres for the race tomorrow.
“Up until qualifying the fastest lap seen so far this weekend was Hamilton’s lap from FP1 yesterday", said Pirelli's Head of Car Racing, Mario Isola.
Conditions were much cooler today, which helped the performance of the supersoft: we saw the fastest-ever lap of Interlagos in Q3 courtesy of Bottas. One stop is the most likely option tomorrow but two are possible as well, depending on wear and degradation rates.
"Conditions tomorrow are forecast to be dry and warmer than today, and this will be one of the factors influencing whether we see one or two pit stops in the race. With a few drivers starting out of position, closely-matched race pace, and a very short lap here at Interlagos, we should be in for an action-packed grand prix.”