The Brazilian Grand Prix always puts on a show. Who can forget back in 2008, when Lewis Hamilton’s last-gasp overtake on Timo Glock led him to his maiden World Championship victory?
Or in 2012, when Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel had a title showdown for the ages. Sandwiched between them in 2009 was Nico Hulkenberg’s shocking pole position in ever-changing conditions.
Well, on Friday, 13 years on from the German’s famous lap, Interlagos was up to its old tricks again. As is so often the case in Sao Paolo, the weather was as unpredictable as ever.
Just ask the hapless Mattia Binotto!
Ferrari’s team principal opted to put his lead driver Charles Leclerc on intermediate tires when the track was bone dry.
There’s been one disastrous decision made after another at the Scuderia this season, and the Monegasque driver must seriously be considering his future at Maranello after the Italian team left his title challenge in tatters.
Unlike their adversaries at the other end of the paddock, there was one team who got it just right in Friday’s qualifying session in Brazil, Haas. Team principal Gunther Steiner has become one of the most likeable figures in all of Formula One in recent years, primarily thanks to his brilliant cameos in Netflix’s Drive To Survive. He put Kevin Magnussen on track at the perfect time during Q3, and the Dane romped to provisional pole position, much to the delight of everyone watching around the world.
There was still a long time to go during the session mind you, but then George Russell slammed his Mercedes into the barriers, causing the marshals to halt the session with a red flag. During the interval, the rain began to fall once again on track, meaning that no one could better Magnussen’s time, leaving him on pole for the first time in his career.
Fans the world over collectively gasped before celebrating. No driver and team pairing deserve this pole more than K-Mag and Haas. In honor of their incredible achievement, here are two recent qualifying shockers which left our jaws on the floor.
George Russell – Hungary 2022
The trials and tribulations of Mercedes this season have been well documented. The German outfit has dominated Formula One for the previous decade, steaming to eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships. But this campaign has all gone wrong. Red Bull, with a wealth of exciting partnerships such as with iGaming company PokerStars, and with Max Verstappen firing on all cylinders, has dominated the competition this term.
This has resulted in Lewis Hamilton not winning a Grand Prix all season. Should he not manage victory in Abu Dhabi, it will be the first season in his career that he hasn’t picked up at least one victory. Back in Hungary, his teammate did had a moment to remember.
Last season, George Russell earned himself the nickname of Mr Saturday. No one will ever forget when he put his back marker Williams on the front row of the grid at Spa.
This season he went one better, however, putting his underperforming Silver Arrow on pole position at the Hungaroring, staving off Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari by just 0.044 seconds.
Charles Leclerc – Monaco 2021
This season, Charles Leclerc finally had a car worthy of his talents. The jury is still out on whether his team is worthy of his brilliance, but at least they have managed to provide him with a car capable of challenging for race victories. That wasn’t always the case.
Last season, the Monegasque man was doing the best he could with an uncompetitive prancing horse under his control.
In three of the opening four races, he dragged his Ferrari kicking and screaming into 6th place, on each occasion at least 50 seconds behind the eventual race winner. That was all set to change on home turf.
In qualifying for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc was in blistering form and, out of nowhere, managed to put himself onto provisional pole.
Unfortunately for him, though, he slammed into the barrier on his second run thus bringing qualifying – and his weekend – to an end.
As Sunday rolled around, Leclerc made his way to the grid. However, the previous day’s collision left his gearbox irreparable, meaning he had to drop out of the race before it had even started.