Verstappen Claims Pole in Brazil as Storm Rolls In

November 3, 2023Ramon Jones
Formula 1

Max Verstappen secured pole position for Sunday’s race in a qualifying session staring bad weather in the eye. After running second fastest in Q1 and Q2 Verstappen found the pace to top the table but not without drama. The 2023 champion set his best time in dry conditions which was 0.3s faster than the second place before the rain came. Verstappen shared that he wasn’t happy with his fastest lap. After the session he had the following words, “Charles Leclerc and I were just discussing – our laps, they felt terrible!” said Verstappen. “But I don’t know, the wind started to change and started to be very strong, and we lost a lot of lap time because of it, but it was all quite hectic in the last lap.

We had to do a lot of laps because the gaps were very, very small and then of course in Q3, you could see the weather incoming and it looked really bad… But luckily we completed the lap in the best way possible, but there was no grip out there, because the wind was changing a lot. Of course, happy to be on pole.”

Verstappen Continue After the Session

“Although today was quite tough with the weather, it was great to end up on pole. In Q1 and Q2, the gaps were small in between cars and we ended up using quite a few of our tire sets. When we lined up to go out for Q3, you could see the sky was black. As we went out, the first sector was alright but the rain started coming in; the wind picked up and changed direction in the middle section which made it difficult to drive but the Team told me just to keep pushing.

I have never experienced something that has had such a big influence on car balance, but ultimately it was still a great result and sets us up well for Sunday. For the Sprint race tomorrow, we will try and do the best we can as I think it will be close in the Sprint Shootout.”

Aston Martin Turns Heads in Brazil

Lance Stroll finished qualifying in P3 ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso. It has be a long time since good fortune came the way of Aston Martin. The session marked the highest qualifying finish for Lance Stroll in 3 years. After a boomed start to the season Aston Martin has taken a backseat compared to the growth seen by McLaren and Mercedes over the course of the season. Aston Martin currently sits fifth in the championship. McLaren is the target who currently sits 20 points ahead of Aston Martin in the championship.

AUTóDROMO JOSé CARLOS PACE, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 03: Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, leads Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, and Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, in the pit lane during the Brazilian GP at Autódromo José Carlos Pace on Friday November 03, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images)

A jubilant Stroll had the following words, “It was a good result today – the car felt pretty good throughout the whole session so I’m very satisfied. With both cars starting from the second row, we will be aiming for a podium on Sunday but I think that the race will be tricky. All the teams are very close and it is difficult to know exactly where we stand. We were fortunate when the rain came but we also made the right calls – both Fernando and I were able to get our Q3 laps in early before the rain started to fall. The points are awarded on Sunday, so let’s see what we can do from a good starting position.”

Sergio Perez Doesn’t Do Himself any Favors

Sergio Perez who desperately needs to hold off Lewis Hamilton didn’t do himself any favors today in qualifying. Perez finished P9, 4 positions behind Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton currently sits 20 points behind Perez. With two point scoring opportunities this weekend the championship standings may see a shift by the end of the weekend. Perez has a lot of ground to cover in the Grand Prix on Sunday. He could find redemption in the sprint shootout tomorrow but given his pace in qualifying for the Sunday’s race there are a lot of question marks for the Mexican.

Perez had the following statement, “It was very unfortunate today, I think we had the pace to qualify in the first two rows at least. We were on for P3, P2 maybe, my lap was very close to Max’s until the last corner but we had Piastri spin at the end of the lap and I had to back off. I also think we went out a little too late, the rain picked us up and the track temperate was cooling quickly. There are so many ifs but it is just the start of the weekend and there is still a long way to go, the positive is we seem to have very strong pace. I am looking forward to tomorrow now to see what we can do on Sprint day, I think we have some good opportunities to race from here.”