Lando Norris set the fastest time in the Sprint Shootout in Sao Paulo and will start the final Sprint race of the 2023 Formula 1 season from the top spot.
Norris made amends after messing up in qualifying on Friday, where he had one chance in Q3 before the rain came and messed it up.
In the Shootout, all the teams went for one run in SQ3, but this time Norris kept it together and posted the fastest time, beating Max Verstappen who was second, and Sergio Perez who was third.
Norris did not have the best of laps, as replay shows he went out of shape at one point, so he would’ve even been faster.
The Briton said afterwards: “A great day. Honestly, it felt like one of the worst laps I’ve done, so I’m a little bit surprised, but it’s a good surprise.
“I feel like we’ve made up for yesterday. My first pole in a long time, so I’m happy,” he added referring to Friday’s missed opportunity.
As for his expectations for the Sprint where he will have two Red Bull in his mirrors, he said: “No idea. But the pace has been good all weekend.
“The car’s been very strong. We’re on the right track. It’s a tough one, the Red Bulls are always quick, Max is always quick.
“So it’s not going to be an easy race, but the pace is strong, so if we’re going to have any chance, I’ll give it my all,” Norris concluded.
SQ3: Norris beats Verstappen this time
The final stage of the shootout, is an eight minute affair, and the Soft tyres are finally allowed, but the drivers did not venture out and remained in their garages despite being given the green light.
The plan seemed to do one run on Soft tyres kept till the end of the session which means no mistakes, one shot.
In the end, Norris was the one who made the most out of his one chance and posted a 1:10.622 to go fastest beating Verstappen by 0.061s while Perez was 0.073s further down the row in third.
George Russell was fourth fastest for Mercedes, 0.235s off the pace and 0.083s ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, fifth fastest in the sister car.
Yuki Tsunoda, under investigation for being too slow on his outlap, was sixth fastest in the AlphaTauri, almost four tenths off the pace and ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 0.058s, the latter in seventh.
Daniel Ricciardo was eighth fastest in the other AlphaTauri with Carlos Sainz ninth, and Oscar Piastri tenth. Piastri was 0.567s off the pace of his teammate.
SQ2: Alonso doesn’t take part, Norris turns on the heat
The start of SQ2 was delayed as the marshals worked to fix the barriers at the location of Esteban Ocon’s crash, which gave more time for the Aston Martin mechanics to fix Fernando Alonso’s car.
However, midway into the session, Aston Martin confirmed the Spaniard will not be taking part in the Shootout any further.
Our sprint shootout comes to an end. 🏁
Lance finishes P17 after his session was compromised by traffic. Fernando made it through to SQ2 but was unable to continue due to damage sustained following an incident with Ocon in SQ1.#BrazilGP#F1Sprintpic.twitter.com/zspaxdFN41
Verstappen was also the first driver waiting at the pit exit, with Perez behind him, and again the Medium tyres are the mandated compound for SQ2.
Verstappen turned the wick up and went fastest on his first run with a time faster than Sainz’s SQ1 topping time.
After the first run the order was: Verstappen – Sainz – Perez – Leclerc – Piastri – Nico Hulkenberg – Norris – Kevin Magnussen – Hamilton – Russell.
With two minutes to go the drivers were back on track for their second runs. Verstappen improved even more on his second run, but Perez went faster only to be beaten by Norris who ended up leading the pack into SQ3.
Norris was 0.009s faster than Perez in second and 0.041s faster than Verstappen in third.
Kevin Magnussen was 11th and the first to miss out on SQ3, beaten to it by Tsunoda by 0.051s into tenth. Hulkenberg was 12th fastest, 0.025s behind his teammate.
Pierre Gasly was 13th fastest in the Alpine ahead of Valtteri Bottas in 14th while Alonso who did not take part in SQ2 was classified 15th.
The session started in clear conditions, ambient temperatures in the region of 25 degrees Celsius, while the track temperature was in the region of 45 degrees.
As mandated by the Sprint format rules, the Medium tyres will be the compound allowed in SQ1 and SQ2.
Verstappen did not waste any time, and was the first out on track setting the first time, and his teammate Perez followed in the other RB19.
Verstappen went fastest and Perez second fastest, then Leclerc split them going faster than the Mexican, only for Sainz to go fastest of all, then Hamilton went second fastest behind the the Spaniard.
Halfway in SQ1 and after the first runs, the order was: Sainz – Hamilton – Verstappen – Russell – Magnussen – Norris – Leclerc – Hulkenberg – Ricciardo – Perez.
Replay showed some miscommunication in the Red Bull camp meant their drivers almost tripped over each other, while Piastri did not seem happy with his McLaren, having a brief moment off track at Turn 2.
As the drivers were doing their final runs and with seconds remaining in the session, Ocon binned his Alpine after crashing into a slower Alonso at Turn 3 and ended up in the barriers.