Sainz and Alonso will start fifth and seventh this Saturday
Ferrari messed with Leclerc in a Q3 that ended early with a red flag
The Danish driver Kevin Magnussen (Haas) achieved the first pole of his life, although it will only serve him for the sprint race on Saturday, after an unpredictable Friday due to rain at the Brazilian Grand Prix, which ended early by a Red flag.
Magnussen and Haas celebrated in style, a pole that will surely last a few seconds with world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull), second, and George Russell (Mercedes), who caused the end of Q3 with eight minutes remaining of session, third. Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) will start fifth and seventh in the sprint.
Interlagos already promised as the third and last race of the year in this sprint format, with the addition of rain. Friday started with some free practices that served very little and qualifying, pending the rain radar. That if a dry or wet tire, doubt and decision-making left Charles Leclerc in a bad position, above all, jinxed throughout the session until he finished tenth in Q3 for being the only one to bet on the intermediate tire.
In the Monegasque box they got involved with the wheels in Q1 to start too, a crazy and tight start, because the track started wet but ended up dry. In the end, the usual ones were left out, without surprises, and with strange things up front like Lando Norris (McLaren) and even Alonso, who had to show his cards after not using the soft tires in free practice.
The Ferraris began their via crucis through the traffic. Yuki Tsunoda stopped Leclerc and he stopped Sainz, to both save the first fairly fair cut. For Q2 the times began to resemble FP1, but seven minutes from the end, the rain gave the scare, another threat without breaking from which the favorites were also saved.
The radar no longer lied for Q3, the rain was going to fall and it was time to get the best time as soon as possible. That's what everyone except Ferrari thought with Leclerc, even after a couple of laps with the others running fast. The Monegasque entered the pits when the rest had already had their lap and it was just beginning to rain, a total disaster at the time that Russell killed Q3 early.
Thus, Magnussen, who had achieved the objective of taking advantage of the first flying lap, kept his first pole and that of his team. However, being a weekend outside the traditional system, the pole that counts for the GP, not for the books, will be the result of this Saturday's short race. There, Verstappen is the favorite, although the sky can still hold emotions.
As for the Spaniards, Sainz was left without the objective, even more so after penalizing five positions on Sunday's starting grid this Friday due to an engine change. The man from Madrid will look for a perfect Saturday to minimize the damage and have options to fight for victory in the penultimate round of the year.
Meanwhile, an Alonso with good memories of Interlagos was also left halfway, with that seventh position that could have improved given his way of facing Friday. All in all, the double world champion has already left good performances in the sprints, also looking for a good result in the World Championship, and goodbye to Alpine.