As Hamilton sets the fastest time on Friday before being disqualified, Bottas takes the Sprint Qualifying win and Russell is out-qualified by Latifi for the first time. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix!
HAMILTON FASTEST IN FRIDAY QUALIFYING
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Friday qualifying at the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix and would have started Sprint Qualifying from the front of the grid. However, he was disqualified from the session due to a DRS infringement.
Hamilton was fastest by 0.438 seconds. That’s the largest margin by which a driver has set the fastest time in qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix since Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the 2013 qualifying session by 0.623 seconds.
Starting from the back in Sprint Qualifying, Hamilton made up fifteen places to finish fifth. He’ll start the race tenth as a result of a further 5-place grid penalty.
BOTTAS WINS SPRINT QUALIFYING
Though Max Verstappen started Sprint Qualifying from the front row, Valtteri Bottas won the event and secured pole position. This was the 20th pole of Bottas’ career, equalling Damon Hill for fifteenth in the all-time list of most pole positions.
Mercedes recorded their sixth pole in the last seven Brazilian Grands Prix.
This was the tenth pole for a Mercedes-powered car at Interlagos. It means Mercedes now have more poles at the circuit than any other engine manufacturer.
IN THE TOP 10
With fourth place, Sergio Perez recorded his best Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying result to date. His previous best was sixth fastest in 2017.
For the third time in the last four races, Pierre Gasly set the fifth fastest time in qualifying. In the traditional qualifying sessions, he’s set one of the top six times at fourteen of this year’s nineteen races to date. He fell to eighth in Sprint Qualifying.
This is the first time that the Red Bull junior team has set one of the five fastest times in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The team’s previous best result here was sixth, for Sebastien Buemi in 2009.
Carlos Sainz reached Q3 at the Brazilian Grand Prix for the first time since 2017. He went on to qualify third in Sprint Qualifying.
With Sainz sixth and Charles Leclerc seventh on Friday, this is the first time that neither Ferrari driver set one of the five fastest qualifying lap times at the Brazilian Grand Prix since 2014. While Sainz improved to third on Saturday, it’s the first time since 2016 that neither Ferrari driver has qualified on the front row in Brazil.
McLaren recorded their first double Q3 appearance at the Brazilian Grand Prix since 2014. With the eighth fastest time, this was the first time Lando Norris has reached Q3 at Interlagos.
Norris improved to sixth in Sprint Qualifying, which is McLaren’s best qualifying result at Interlagos since Jenson Button qualified fifth in 2014.
Fernando Alonso gave the Enstone team their first Q3 appearance at Interlagos since 2017. Though Alonso fell to twelfth in Sprint Qualifying, team-mate Esteban Ocon improved to ninth.
OUT IN Q2
Missing out on Q3 by just 0.052 seconds, Esteban Ocon maintained his record of never reaching Q3 on any of his Brazilian Grand Prix appearances.
Qualifying twelfth, Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 at Interlagos for the first time since 2009.
Both Alfa Romeo drivers reached Q2 for a second race in a row. It was the first time they’ve gone two races without a Q1 exit since the 2019 Japanese and Mexico Grands Prix.
For the first time in seventeen appearances at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen failed to set one of the ten fastest times in qualifying.
OUT IN Q1
Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for a third race in a row. He hasn’t had a streak of Q1 exits that long since recording fourteen Q1 eliminations in a row between the 2018 United States Grand Prix and the 2019 British Grand Prix.
Stroll has been eliminated in Q1 on all four of his Brazilian Grand Prix appearances. He’s also yet to out-qualify a team-mate at Interlagos.
For the first time as a Williams driver in a conventional qualifying session, George Russell was out-qualified by his team-mate. This is only the second time that Latifi has out-qualified his team-mate in Formula 1. He also out-qualified Jack Aitken at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
This was the second time in his career that Russell has been out-qualified by a team-mate. He was also out-qualified by Valtteri Bottas on his guest appearance at Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Williams recorded only their second double Q1 exit of the 2021 season. Both cars were also out in Q1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. This was Russell’s worst qualifying result of the season.
Both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were eliminated in Q1. This was the first time that Haas have recorded a Q1 exit at the Brazilian Grand Prix. None of their drivers had previously qualified below 14th at Interlagos.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.