The penultimate round of the 2019 Formula One season takes place in Brazil for what could be one of the final Brazilian Grand Prix events at the Interlagos track. The weekend got off to a good start for Red Bull as Max Verstappen secured the pole. It’s his second official pole of the 2019 season and career. (An earlier pole in Mexico was taken away and does not count as an official pole position.)
Ferrari came into the round felling confident with their straight line speed, as they always do. However, they are a bit on the back foot with Charles Leclerc taking an extra engine component. The problem has resulted in a 10-place grid penalty no matter where he qualified on Saturday (Nov. 16).
Sebastian Vettel was second to round out the front row for Ferrari. 2019 champion Lewis Hamilton was third ahead of Leclerc, who set the fourth-fastest time. However, he will drop 10 places as mentioned before and will start a distant 14th.
Valtteri Bottas set the fifth-quickest time ahead of Alex Albon in sixth. Seventh was Red Bull exile, Pierre Gasly, with Romain Grosjean in eighth. Kimi Raikkonen set the ninth-fastest time while Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10 in the final F1 qualifying session.
Hamilton’s run was a slight disappointment for Mercedes. However, there’s little they have left to prove. The reigning championship team looks to ride out another title-winning season by testing new pieces for 2020.
Red Bull, meanwhile is just looking to win another race or two to round out 2019. They feel confident. Remember, this team was close to winning with Verstappen in Brazil last year only to be infamously taken out by the lapped car of Esteban Ocon.
Carlos Sainz’s bad luck in the second half of 2019 continued in Q1. The Spaniard had an engine issue in his McLaren and was unable to set a lap time, meaning he will roll off last on Sunday.
The 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix is set for lights out around 11:10 a.m. ET with coverage provided on ESPN2. Can Verstappen score a career high in wins on a season and get his revenge on the Interlagos track?