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Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A521.

How sprint qualifying for F1's Sao Paulo GP unfolded

Last Updated: 12 Nov 2021 - 20:07

An as-it-happened account of what happened in F1's sprint qualifying at Interlagos.

After being absent from the 2020 season calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Formula 1 returns to racing in Brazil this weekend.

A fan favourite, Interlagos hosts this weekend’s 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix as Max Verstappen looks to tighten his grip on this year’s title. 

The Dutchman dominated the race last time out from third on the grid in Mexico to extend his lead over Lewis Hamilton to 19 points.

In recent years, Brazil has been a favourable track as like Mexico it is at altitude.

Verstappen would have won in 2018 had it not been for a collision with Esteban Ocon, while in 2019, the Red Bull driver reigned supreme.

Sprint qualifying makes its return for this weekend with five more points awarded on Saturday - 3, 2, 1.

Recent Brazil F1 Winners: 

2019: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 

2018: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2017: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 

2016: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 

2015: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2014: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

2013: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2012: Jenson Button (McLaren)

2011: Mark Webber (Red Bull)

2010: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

The remainder of the 2021 F1 calendar: 

Sao Paulo Grand Prix - November 14

Qatar Grand Prix - November 21

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - December 5

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - December 12

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20:07

That's qualifying done and dusted - we will be back tomorrow for the sprint!

20:06
20:01

Hamilton fastest in qualifying in Sao Paulo ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Ricciardo and Alonso.

19:55

Hamilton takes provisional pole position with a 1m08.107s, 0.2s ahead of Verstappen. Bottas is third ahead of Perez, Gasly, Sainz, Norris, Alonso, Ricciardo and Leclerc.

19:53

Here we go - time for the final runs in Q3!

19:52
19:48

Q3 is now underway... can anyone stop Hamilton?

19:44
19:41

Out in Q2: Ocon, Vettel, Tsunoda, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi.

19:41

Hamilton continues to imrpove to a 1m08.068s, 0.3s ahead of Bottas. Verstappen 0.4s down in the Red Bull.

19:40

Alonso can't improve and stays ninth, neither does Tsunoda, who is P12.

19:36
19:35

In the drop-zone currently: Ocon, Tsunoda, Vettel, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi.

19:34

Hamilton reclaims top spot with a 1m08.386s, 0.181s ahead of Verstappen. Bottas moves up to third.

19:32

It's a 1m08.567s for Verstappen, 0.3s ahead of Gasly who slots into second.

19:31

Hamilton goes fastest with a 1m08.659s but it's been deleted for track limits. Bottas goes P1 instead.

19:28

No cars out on track just yet...

19:26

Q2 is now underway at Interlagos!

19:23
19:19

Chequered flag out for Q1 - Stroll, Latifi, Russell, Schumacher and Mazepin are out.

19:17

Leclerc moves up to third in the Ferrari, just 0.4s shy of Hamilton.

19:14

In the drop-zone currently: Russell, Schumacher, Giovinazzi, Mazepin & Leclerc.

19:13

Hamilton improves again to a 1m08.733s to go 0.3s clear of Sainz.

19:11

The improvements are comign in thick and fast as Sainz improves to second, while Gasly and Tsunoda go fourth and fifth.

19:08

Hamilton goes fastest with a 1m08.824s, 0.5s ahead of Verstappen. Bottas lots into third, 0.5s down on his teammate.