F1 Driver Form: Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos

Verstappen has never failed to score at Interlagos, three drivers have never failed to reach Q3 and Russell took his maiden win at the track in 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix!

🇳🇱 Max VERSTAPPEN

Max Verstappen took his first Brazilian Grand Prix victory in 2019 and went on to win at Interlagos for a second time in the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. He has a 100% points-scoring record at the track, having never finished lower than ninth.

In addition to his two victories, Verstappen has a further three podium finishes at Interlagos. He finished third as a result of his memorable drive in the wet in 2016, and finished as runner-up in both 2018 and 2021.

Image: © Andrew Balfour

Verstappen also holds a 100% Q3 appearance rate at the circuit, and secured his first Brazilian Grand Prix pole position in 2019. He took pole position again in 2023. Verstappen also set the fastest lap time in qualifying in 2021, but was overtaken by Valtteri Bottas in the Sprint and started second on the grid. Verstappen has never failed to out-qualify his team-mate at Interlagos.

The 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix was only the second time that Verstappen finished an Interlagos race in a worse position than where he started. He lost a single position in 2017 and lost three places in the 2022 race.

MAX VERSTAPPEN’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇲🇽 Sergio PEREZ

Sergio Perez has scored points at all of the last seven Interlagos races. His current Interlagos points-scoring streak began in 2016 with a fourth place finish – his best result so far at the track, which he equalled in both 2021 and 2023.

Perez nearly recorded his first podium finish at the track at the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix but missed out on a top three finish by the smallest of margins in a late-race duel with Fernando Alonso.

From his 12 appearances, Perez has scored points eight times in total. The Mexican has retired from the Brazilian race only once, in 2012.

Despite Perez’s high points-scoring rate, he has qualified in the top ten at the circuit only five times: in 2016, 2017 and all of the last three seasons. He has qualified in the top six three times. His best qualifying result here is fourth, in 2021. In the last nine Interlagos races, Perez has out-qualified his team-mate only twice: in 2018 and 2019.

From his ten finishes, 2015, 2017 and 2022 are the only occasions that Perez has failed to gain positions from where he started at Interlagos.

SERGIO PEREZ’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇬🇧 Lewis HAMILTON

16 years ago, Lewis Hamilton took his first World Championship victory by finishing fifth in one of the most dramatic F1 races of all time here at Interlagos. The track hasn’t been one of Hamilton’s best: he’s won here only three times in his career; in 2016, 2018 and 2021.

He’s taken further podium finishes in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2022 and has qualified on pole here three times, in 2012, 2016 and 2018. Hamilton has started from the front row on seven occasions in total.

Hamilton started from the pit lane in 2017 after crashing out in Q1. That was the second time, after 2009, that Hamilton has been eliminated in Q1 at Interlagos. From his 16 appearances, Hamilton has beaten a team-mate in qualifying seven times at the circuit. He has scored points in all of the 12 races he’s finished here, with his eighth place in the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix marking his worst finishing position at the track in a decade.

Hamilton’s pit-lane start in 2017 saw him gain 16 places on his way to finishing fourth. It is one of only three times that he’s gained positions from where he started at the circuit – he also gained 14 positions in 2009 and gained positions in both the sprint race and the Grand Prix in 2021.

In 2019, he looked set for a podium finish before colliding with Alex Albon. He ultimately finished seventh after receiving a penalty for the incident.

LEWIS HAMILTON’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇬🇧 George RUSSELL

George Russell became a Grand Prix winner at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. After starting from pole position having won the Sprint, Russell led all but five laps of the race to take his maiden victory. It was Mercedes’ only victory of the 2022 season.

His win is the only time that Russell has picked up points in a Grand Prix at Interlagos, though he finished fourth in the 2023 Sprint and scored points as a result of winning the Sprint over the 2022 race weekend. Russell finished a season-best of 12th in the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and finished 13th at Interlagos in 2021.

Russell’s 100% finish rate at Interlagos came to an end at the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, from which he retired with mechanical issues.

Russell made it out of Q1 for the first time at Interlagos in 2022 and lined up third on the grid for the sprint race. It was the second time he out-qualified his team-mate at the track. Russell reached Q3 again in 2023, this time qualifying sixth – one position behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Russell made his very first appearance at an F1 weekend at this track in 2017, when he participated in Free Practice 1 with Force India.

GEORGE RUSSELL’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇲🇨 Charles LECLERC

Charles Leclerc finished seventh on his first Brazilian Grand Prix appearance in 2018, but failed to finish in 2019 following a collision with his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel. He scored in both the 2021 and 2022 races at the track, bettering his result each time. He finished fifth in 2021 and finished fourth in 2022. He’s yet to finish on the podium at Interlagos.

Image: © Andrew Balfour

Leclerc’s 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend came to a nightmare end as he crashed out as a result of a hydraulic issue on the formation lap. He had finished fifth in the previous day’s Sprint event.

Leclerc has reached Q3 on all five appearances at the track, and was due to start from the front row of the grid for last year’s race before crashing out. Last year was the first time he out-qualified a team-mate at Interlagos.

Ahead of his first Brazilian Grand Prix outing in 2018, Leclerc had two previous Free Practice outings at the Interlagos circuit. He drove for Haas in FP1 in 2016 and drove for Sauber during the Friday session in 2017.

CHARLES LECLERC’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇪🇸 Carlos SAINZ

Carlos Sainz recorded the first podium finish of his career at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. After a post-race penalty for Lewis Hamilton, Sainz was bumped up to third in the final result. It was an impressive drive, considering he started from the back of the grid after being unable to set a lap time in qualifying. He returned to the podium in 2022, taking another third place finish at the track.

Image: © Andrew Balfour

Sainz’s 2019 podium was only the second time that Sainz has scored at the track, having previously finished sixth with Toro Rosso in 2016. He finished sixth once again in both 2021 and 2023 with Ferrari. Sainz has retired only once in his eight Interlagos appearances, doing so in 2015.

2017, 2021 and 2022 are the only seasons in which Sainz has progressed to Q3 at Interlagos. He recorded his best qualifying result at the circuit to date in 2022 with a front row start. 2023 was the first time that Charles Leclerc out-qualified Sainz at Interlagos during their time as Ferrari team-mates.

CARLOS SAINZ’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇬🇧 Lando NORRIS

Lando Norris’ 100% points scoring record at Interlagos came to an end in 2022 as he retired from the race. He had scored on both previous visits to Interlagos, finishing eighth in 2019 and tenth in 2021. In 2023, he recorded his first podium finish at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, finishing as runner-up to Max Verstappen.

Norris reached Q3 at the track for the first in 2021 and went on to qualify sixth in Sprint Qualifying. He reached Q3 again in 2022 and qualified seventh in the sprint race. Another seventh place qualification followed in 2023 – but Norris secured pole position for the Sprint race and went on to finish as runner-up.

He has moved up one position on the grid for the Grand Prix from where he qualified on every visit to the circuit so far. Norris is yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate at the track.

Norris drove at Interlagos for the first time in 2018, when he appeared in Free Practice 1 with McLaren.

LANDO NORRIS’ SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇦🇺 Oscar PIASTRI

After starting and finishing tenth in the Sprint at the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Oscar Piastri again qualified tenth for the Grand Prix itself.

Image: © Andrew Balfour

After being unfortunate to be caught up in the first corner chaos, Piastri fought back from the back of the pack but finished only 14th and failed to bring home any points from his first outing at Interlagos.

OSCAR PIASTRI’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇪🇸 Fernando ALONSO

Fernando Alonso has never won the Brazilian Grand Prix, but he has finished on the podium at Interlagos on nine occasions. He secured a third place finish in a close fight with Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, securing his first podium finish at Interlagos since 2013.

The Spaniard has recorded two retirements at the circuit, in 2001 and 2009, and crashed out in 2003 – though he was classified in third place in that red-flagged race. It has been 15 years since his last retirement at the track. Of the races which he’s finished at the circuit, his 15th place in 2015 and 17th in 2018 are the only occasions on which he has failed to score.

Alonso has taken pole at Interlagos once, in 2005, which is the only time that he has started on the front row at the track. 2015 and 2018 are the only occasions on which Alonso has failed to reach Q3 at the circuit – though he dropped out of the top ten on the grid in both 2021 and 2022 as a result of Sprint Qualifying. He qualified fourth in 2023 – his best qualifying result at Interlagos in a decade.

Of the races which he has finished at the circuit, 2005 and 2017 are the only years in which he’s completed a race in a worse position than where he started. He gained 12 positions in the 2022 race. Alonso has led 18 laps in total at Interlagos, most recently leading two laps of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.

FERNANDO ALONSO’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇨🇦 Lance STROLL

From six appearances, Lance Stroll has scored points twice at Interlagos. He did not score a point at the track until 2022, when he finished tenth. He bettered that with fifth place in the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. His two points-scoring appearances came after two successive DNFs at the circuit. He finished outside of the top 15 on his first two appearances here in 2017 and 2018.

2022 was also the first time that Stroll progressed past Q1 at the circuit while 2023 marked his first Q3 appearance here. Stroll qualified third for the 2023 race, out-qualifying his team-mate at the venue for the first time in his career.

LANCE STROLL’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇫🇷 Esteban OCON

Esteban Ocon scored points at Interlagos for the first time in 2021, coming home in eighth place. He’s scored in both seasons since, finishing eighth for the second year in a row in 2022 and driving to a tenth place finish in 2023.

Ocon made three previous appearances at the Brazilian Grand Prix before scoring for the first time – one with Manor in 2016 and two with Force India in 2017 and 2018. The Frenchman actually recorded his best result prior to 2021 with Manor in 2016, finishing 12th.

Ocon recorded the first DNF of his Formula 1 career after a first lap collision in the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix, while he finished a lap down in 14th place in 2018. He attracted headlines in 2018 as he attempted to unlap himself by overtaking race leader Max Verstappen. It resulted in the pair making contact, costing Verstappen the victory, and the Red Bull driver having an altercation with Ocon on the weighing scales after the race.

Ocon recorded his only Q3 appearance to date at Interlagos in 2022 but started outside of the top ten as a result of the Sprint. Conversely, in the previous season, Ocon only reached Q2 but moved up into the top ten in the Sprint. His first appearance in 2016 is the only season in which Ocon has been eliminated in Q1 at Interlagos.

ESTEBAN OCON’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇫🇷 Pierre GASLY

Pierre Gasly recorded the first podium finish of his career at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, finishing as runner-up. He has a 100% finish rate at the track and scored here for the third time in 2023, finishing seventh. He also finished seventh in 2021.

Gasly’s other three Interlagos appearances have resulted in finishes outside of the points. He recorded his worst result at the track to date in 2022, finishing 14th.

2023 was the third season, after 2017 and 2022, in which Gasly failed to reach Q3 at Interlagos. He reached Q2 in 2022, while he was out in Q1 on his first appearance in 2017. Gasly moved up into the top ten as a result of Sprint Qualifying in 2022.

Gasly recorded his best qualifying result so far at the circuit in 2019, with seventh; which later became sixth on the grid. 2023 was the first time that the Frenchman failed to out-qualify his team-mate at the circuit since his first appearance in 2017.

PIERRE GASLY’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇹🇭 Alex ALBON

Alex Albon has never scored points in a Grand Prix at Interlagos. He looked set to take his first podium finish at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix but finished only 14th after being tagged by Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages. Albon qualified in sixth place on his first appearance at the circuit.

In 2022, Albon failed to finish the Sprint race, meaning that he qualified in last place. He had reached Q2 on Friday afternoon, out-qualifying his team-mate at the track for the first time. Lining up 19th on the grid, Albon finished the race 15th.

In 2023, after lining up 15th on the grid and again out-qualifying his team-mate, he was eliminated in a first corner collision with Kevin Magnussen, ending his 100% finish rate at Interlagos.

ALEX ALBON’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇺🇸 Logan SARGEANT

Image: © Andrew Balfour

Logan Sargeant recorded one of the better results of his maiden Formula 1 season with 11th place on his first outing at Interlagos last year. He did so despite starting from the back row of the grid.

LOGAN SARGEANT’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇯🇵 Yuki TSUNODA

Yuki Tsunoda finished 15th in the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix and finished 17th in 2022. He was eliminated in Q2 in 2021 but could not make it out of Q1 in 2022. Tsunoda qualified in 15th place as a result of the Sprint race at Interlagos in both 2021 and 2022, but started from the pit lane in 2022.

Image: © Andrew Balfour

In 2023, Tsunoda scored points at Interlagos for the first time. After finishing an impressive sixth in the Sprint, Tsunoda finished ninth in the Grand Prix itself. He did so despite exiting in Q1 and qualifying only 16th.

YUKI TSUNODA’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇦🇺 Daniel RICCIARDO

Daniel Ricciardo failed to finish on each of his last two appearances at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix with McLaren and was unlucky to lose a lap at the start of last year’s Interlagos race, which he finished only 13th with AlphaTauri.

The Australian’s best result here is fourth place, recorded with Red Bull in 2018; a race in which he led four laps. He’s scored points on five of his 12 Interlagos appearances.

2018 remains the last time that Ricciardo has qualified in the top ten at Interlagos. He started from 11th on the grid in all of the last four seasons that the race has taken place prior to 2023. In 2023, Ricciardo recorded his first Q1 exit at the track since his first appearance in 2011.

Ricciardo has out-qualified his team-mate in Brazil only three times: in 2012, 2013 and 2019.

DANIEL RICCIARDO’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇫🇮 Valtteri BOTTAS

Valtteri Bottas has recorded two podium finishes at the Brazilian Grand Prix, finishing as runner-up in the 2017 event and third in 2021. Bottas has also recorded three retirements at Interlagos. He failed to finish on his first appearance in 2013 after colliding with future team-mate Lewis Hamilton, he retired in 2019 with an engine failure and he retired with a hydraulics issue in 2023.

Aside from two podium finishes, Bottas has scored a further four times in his ten appearances at the track. He recorded his first Q1 exit at Interlagos in 2022 – the first time he failed to reach Q3 here since 2016. He exited in Q1 again in 2023. 2013 is the only season in which Bottas has failed to qualify in the top five at the circuit.

Bottas has taken pole twice at the circuit, in 2017 and as a result of Sprint Qualifying in 2021. Bottas has finished in a better position than where he has started at Interlagos only twice – in 2015 and 2022.

VALTTERI BOTTAS’ SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇨🇳 ZHOU Guanyu

Zhou Guanyu was eliminated in Q1 on his first appearance at Interlagos in 2022 but qualified in 13th place as a result of making up positions in the sprint race. Zhou made up one position in Sunday’s Grand Prix and finished the race in 12th place.

It was a disappointing weekend for Zhou at the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, in which he finished only 17th in the Sprint before retiring just 23 laps into the Grand Prix itself with engine issues. Zhou had set the slowest time in qualifying and had lined up on the back row of the grid for the Grand Prix.

ZHOU GUANYU’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇩🇰 Kevin MAGNUSSEN

Kevin Magnussen took his maiden Formula 1 pole position at Interlagos in 2022. He did so in the traditional qualifying hour on Friday afternoon but lost positions in the sprint race on Saturday. His weekend ended on a sour note, colliding on the opening lap with Daniel Ricciardo. It was Magnussen’s second retirement at the track, after 2017.

Magnussen went on to record a third first lap retirement at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 2023, this time as a result of a first turn collision with Alex Albon.

Kevin Magnussen on the grid at the 2023 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Image: © Andrew Balfour.
Image: © Andrew Balfour

Aside from the point that he picked up for finishing eighth in the 2022 Sprint, Magnussen has picked up points in two Grands Prix at Interlagos, with ninth place finishes in 2014 and 2018.

His 2022 pole was only the third time Magnussen reached Q3 at Interlagos. His previous best qualifying result here was seventh place, on his first appearance in 2014. 2022 was also the first time in his six appearances at the track that Magnussen out-qualified his team-mate.

KEVIN MAGNUSSEN’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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🇩🇪 Nico HULKENBERG

Nico Hulkenberg recorded the only pole position of his career at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix on a wet Saturday afternoon with Williams. Hulkenberg also had a memorable race here in 2012, when he led for some time and was in contention for victory – until colliding with Lewis Hamilton.

Hulkenberg has not scored at Interlagos since 2017, with his 2018 retirement ending his 100% points-scoring rate at the circuit. He scored on all seven appearances at the track until then, with a best result of fifth in 2012. He failed to score on his last two appearances in 2019 and 2022, finishing 15th and 12th respectively.

Since taking pole in 2010, Hulkenberg has appeared in Q3 at Interlagos on five occasions – most recently in 2017. He has never been eliminated in Q1 here, reaching Q2 on all four of his other appearances. His worst qualifying result at the track is 14th – which is where he qualified in both 2018 and 2019.

2019 is the only time in his ten Interlagos appearances that Hulkenberg has been out-qualified by a team-mate at the track.

NICO HULKENBERG’S SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX HISTORY

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