Max Verstappen says his Red Bull Formula 1 car “came alive” in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix after some overnight tweaks, sparking his charge to pole position.

Verstappen topped all three stages of qualifying at Interlagos to clinch the second pole of his F1 career, beating Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the final fight for P1.

The result saw Verstappen top qualifying for the second time in three races – he was stripped of pole in Mexico for ignoring yellow flags – and continued his strong recent performances.

“I think last few races have been already quite strong,” Verstappen said.

“I think from today we changed the car a bit compared to yesterday, and it seemed to work really well, and especially in qualifying it really came alive.

“I had really good balance, already in Q2 it felt really good. And then in Q3, I think also the track got a bit warmer, it was a bit more tricky to get the lap time out of it.

“The last lap was pretty decent. It was alright. There’s always things you can do better, but it was good enough.

“The car already yesterday was not bad. I think today improved, so normally it should also be better in the race. We have to find out.”

While Verstappen still trailed the Ferraris through the final sector – a 1.2km sprint from the final corner to Turn 1 – he was pleased with the gains Honda had made on its power unit through the season, adding to those made on Red Bull’s chassis.

“Well I was not the fastest in the last sector, but we were the fastest in the second sector, where the most corners are,” Verstappen said.

“I think throughout the whole year, I think both from the chassis side and the engine side, we made good gains, and we just continue to work like that and experiment for next year.

“Very happy of course with the progress throughout the season.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli.

 

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