F1 Sprint
F1 2021
Round 19

Verstappen Extends His Championship Lead And Starts P2 In Brazil Tomorrow

br Autódromo José Carlos Pace

Max will start the Sao Paulo Grand Prix from second place after extending his championship lead in the Sprint at Interlagos.

Verstappen Extends His Championship Lead And Starts P2 In Brazil Tomorrow

After Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying, Max started from first place for the 24-lap Sprint on Saturday afternoon, with Sergio third and Pierre fourth. The two Red Bull Racing cars were on mediums tyres, while Scuderia AlphaTauri went for softs as Yuki lined up in 12th place.

At the start, the soft tyres on the Mercedes helped Valtteri Bottas to take the lead, with Max dropping behind Carlos Sainz into third place on the opening lap, one spot ahead of Sergio. It was also a tough start for Pierre, who slipped back to seventh.

All four cars lost a bit of ground as Yuki dropped back to 14th and was soon fighting with Hamilton, while Max regained second position on lap two. While the two AlphaTauris then looked after their tyres, Max could set off after Bottas while Sergio put pressure on Sainz.

As the laps ticked down, Max closed to within DRS range of Bottas but was unable to find a way past and had to settle for second place, securing a front-row start on Sunday. The two points that came with that result also saw his lead in the drivers’ championship grow to 21 points, but unfortunately Sergio couldn’t add to that tally as he was held off by Sainz and will start from fourth.

With Hamilton recovering to fifth but with a five place grid penalty for a change of ICU, Pierre will start from seventh in the grand prix, while Yuki will line up in 15th. As part of the Sprint weekend regulations, all four drivers will have a free choice of tyres at the start on Sunday.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Unfortunately, in today’s Sprint Qualifying all four Honda-powered cars lost places compared to their grid positions and tomorrow we face a long race over 71 laps, with Max, Checo, Pierre and Yuki starting from 2nd, 4th, 7th and 15th respectively. As we saw today, the gaps to our rivals are very small and it was also clear that subtle differences in conditions can have a big impact on car performance levels. We will now study the data from yesterday and today’s 24 laps, as well as considering the weather forecast for tomorrow,  with the aim of doing better in the Grand Prix itself.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
We started on the harder compound and as soon as I saw Valtteri was on the softs I knew it would be quite tricky to keep position, especially in these colder track temperatures. After the first lap we had good pace but it’s hard to overtake here and the tyres overheat a lot so there’s not much you can do so I ended up sitting behind. At the end of the day I always try to do the best I can and it was good to score a few points today. Tomorrow is the important day and it will be different when we have more options with pit strategies. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, it’s going to be quite a bit warmer so hopefully that will be better for us but it’s difficult to say at the moment.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
It was difficult to get past Carlos Sainz today, I thought I was going to get him quite easily, but I couldn’t get the exit right in the final corner and that effected my ability to pass him. We were expecting to hold them back at the start but that wasn’t the case in the end. The main issue I was having today was that Sainz was always getting a good exit out of the final corner while my tyres were overheating. The straight-line speed of the Ferrari was quite strong too. Tomorrow is the race that matters, there is still a lot to play for and we can take more risks than today. I could have made up that position today but it would have involved taking too many risks, more than I would like. I would like to move forwards in the race tomorrow, we will be pushing from the start and try to make the progress we want. It’s important to have a good starting position tomorrow and then work from there, I hope I can get through the Ferrari quickly and have good pace from lap one. We will learn from what we have done today and be stronger tomorrow.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
We had a terrible start today, I lost three positions into Turn 1 and just didn’t have the pace to come back at the Ferraris and McLaren. It clearly wasn’t the start of the race we expected, so we’ll look at what we can do better for tomorrow. That wasn’t the easiest day for us, especially as the last few laps on the soft tyre were really difficult.  As you know, it’s never over until the chequered flag, so we’ll look at the strategy tonight and do everything we can to come back stronger tomorrow.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m not happy with today. I lost too many positions on the first lap and after that I couldn’t maximise the performance from the soft tyre. Due to the format this weekend, I haven’t completed that many laps here, but I learnt a lot from today that I can take away and look at tonight ahead of the race tomorrow.

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