Teams’ reactions after Sao Paulo qualifying

By on

Powered by a fresh internal combustion engine, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton secured the pole position for today’s Sprint race, beating his title rival Max Verstappen. However, things might change over the course of the coming hours after the FIA found a technical infringement on the drag reduction system of Hamilton’s W12.


Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:07.934

"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!"

Valtteri Bottas, 3rd, 1:08.469

"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. Hopefully lap one will be full of action and we can make some progress towards the front!"

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 2nd, 1:08.372

“I’m happy to be second, that’s a good position to start from in tomorrow’s Sprint. I always want to be closer but sometimes you have to be realistic. Mercedes have taken a new engine so naturally they have more power this weekend, so for me it’s not a big shock that they are ahead. There are not many points to gain tomorrow in the sprint race, so I hope we have a good start and we’ll see what happens from there. Of course, the most important race is on Sunday and I think it’s going to be a lot warmer which will change the behaviour of the car as well, so we’ll see.”

Sergio Perez, 4th, 1:08.483

“It was a bit tricky today, especially in Q1 having to use two sets of tyres, so we started on the wrong foot in qualifying, but we were progressing well and gaining into Q3. Then I think the track cooled down a bit and we didn’t read the conditions as well as we could have. We got it together for our final lap and we only lacked half a tenth or so to be further ahead. That said, fourth is a strong position to start the sprint race from. I think Mercedes’ new engine seems to be working pretty well, Lewis was untouchable today, but we will see tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a good sprint race because the car has shown some good pace and I think it should be looking good.”


Pierre Gasly, 5th, 1:08.777

“Today I’m really, really happy. FP1 was quite difficult for me and I struggled a little bit in quali too, but every time I went out I managed to find a little bit more, playing with everything inside of the car and making small improvements each time we ran. I managed to put it all together when it counted and I think it was a really incredible lap in Q3 today, so I’m really pleased with that.

„It’s really amazing for us to be qualifying right behind Mercedes and Red Bull, it’s a critical moment in the championship and the team did a fantastic job today. Of course, it’s only Friday so we’ve got two more days, it’s going to be pretty intense, but we’ve put ourselves in the best place possible."

Yuki Tsunoda, 13th, 1:09.483

“This is another new track for me, so practice was really important this morning and I think I managed to get up to speed quite quickly, which was good. The car feels good round this track, so it’s a shame I couldn’t make it through to Q3 today. I think the Sprint tomorrow is going to be a bit tricky starting from this position, but I’ll try to make my way forward so I can start Sunday’s race in a stronger place.”


Charles Leclerc, 7th, 1:08.960

"We’re going to do everything we can to maximise our potential for tomorrow’s Sprint, which will be the final one of this season. To start from sixth and seventh is a solid job from the team, and even though I had higher expectations for myself, what is most important for us is that we kept our direct competitors behind us today. Q3 was tricky.

„I did my first run on used tyres which was not ideal for getting into a rhythm, and on the second run we didn’t extract everything from the car. We still have some work to do and will push to bring home good results tomorrow and, even more importantly, on Sunday."

Carlos Sainz, 6th, 1:08.826

"It was a positive qualifying today as I keep improving my driving style and the feeling with this car at all types of tracks and in all conditions. I am performing more consistently in qualifying and today was a good day.

"The only downside is that the AlphaTauri seems to have a bit more pace, so the aim for tomorrow is to try and beat Pierre Gasly and lead the chase to the teams ahead. A clean race tomorrow is key to have good chances on Sunday, so we’ll make sure we are in the best possible position to maximise the weekend. I want to thank the entire race team for staying up late and doing such a good job yesterday night to give us a competitive car today. On to tomorrow!"


Daniel Ricciardo, 9th, 1:09.039

“It’s only an eighth and ninth but from where we were this morning we can be happy with that. We didn’t run the soft earlier, but I felt like we didn’t have a whole lot of pace to show either. It felt better on the soft and to get both cars in Q3 is not a bad afternoon. I know it’s towards the tail-end of the top 10, but the deficit is a lot smaller than we thought. We’ve still got to get them on track but we’re there, we’re in the fight, and we can put some pressure on them now. We’ll look to move up from here but the step we made from this morning to this evening was pretty good.”

Lando Norris, 8th, 1:08.980

“I think we have to be happy with qualifying, because we were struggling quite a bit this morning in FP1. After making some good improvements coming into quali, I felt a lot more confident with the car. We would’ve loved to have been ahead of the Ferraris, but we have to take P8 and P9 today because they were quicker. We’re in a good position to fight them tomorrow."


Esteban Ocon, 11th, 1:09.189

"It was very close out there today between a number of cars. We fell on the wrong side of the coin on this occasion, but that’s the way it is sometimes. All the way through the sessions, the positions were decided by only a tenth or so, and that was the difference between reaching Q3 or falling just short. It’s a little frustrating as the aim is to always be inside the top 10, but we can be pleased that we’re back to where we should be after a run of difficult races.

„The performance was good, we’re knocking on the door of the points and we can look forward to tomorrow. We have an opportunity in the Sprint tomorrow to make up some positions and put ourselves in contention for Sunday’s race.”

Fernando Alonso, 10th, 1:09.113

“It was super close today. I feel we had a productive morning and the car felt quite good and was behaving well. Qualifying also started reasonably, and we progressed into Q2 quite comfortably. But then I think from Q2 I was doing very similar lap times and I think we found the limit.

„We wanted to be a little higher and start on the clean side of the grid because the start could be crucial tomorrow. But let’s see what our day is like, as it’s Sprint after all and we’ve done quite well with them in the past. I will be aggressive tomorrow as always and let’s try to have some fun.”

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, 12th, 1:09.399

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have the pace to challenge the top 10 today, but overall I think we had a decent qualifying session. I pushed hard from the outset and, given that we have the Sprint tomorrow, 12th is a reasonable position from which to start. I am hoping that in race conditions we will be more competitive so I feel quite optimistic tonight.”

Lance Stroll, 16th, 1:09.663

“I am disappointed with my qualifying result. Throughout today, I have been struggling with the balance of the car and I think that is reflected in the end result. However, because this weekend features the sprint format, we have a chance to fight forward tomorrow and, if we can make up some ground, we should be able to start in a better position for the race on Sunday.”


George Russell, 18th, 1:09.953

"Unfortunately, it didn’t quite come together for us today. I couldn’t get the tyres working and it was a little bit gusty out on track, so it wasn’t particularly favourable for us. My lap felt okay but nothing special. It’s only the second time in 19 races that we’ve not progressed into Q2 so we need to put our thinking caps on and understand where we can find some improvements. FP2 will be a better indication of our race pace but I think the Sprint will still be a tough one for us tomorrow."

Nicholas Latifi, 17th, 1:09.897

"Right from the start in FP1 today it was tricky, as we just couldn't get the feeling from the car that we needed. We always seem to make a step in qualifying, but we didn’t quite manage to make a big enough step today. I would’ve loved to progress into Q2 but the good thing about this format is that we have another chance to make up some places in the Sprint tomorrow. The last time we had this format was in Italy and we managed to move forward, so hopefully there are some opportunities for us on Saturday."


Mick Schumacher, 19th, 1:10.329

“The car feeling was amazing and that’s why I’m a bit gutted that we didn’t get through. I think it’s the case of everybody being so compressed, so tight together and maybe the car just has that tiny little bit of a deficit and it seems that I couldn’t make up the difference this time. We live and we learn. It’s nothing to be frustrated about because we still managed to get something out of the car which felt great, so hopefully for the race we’ll be a bit closer.”

Nikita Mazepin, 20th, 1:10.589

“The tyres are on fire by the time you get to Turn 12 so everything you can gain or lose before the long straight really pays off or really hurts you. I just tried too hard and was too eager to get on the power with perhaps the rear grip not being there. The good thing is that I caught it, but the bad thing is I lost time. It’s what makes this format exciting, that’s why you see some mistakes because drivers like myself are more eager to try and explore things that I’ve never had the opportunity to do before.”