Sao Paolo,


On Sunday afternoon, Max Verstappen will start the third edition of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix from pole position. The Dutchman was quickest of the ten drivers who had made the cut to Q3, all of them only getting one run completed before the rain arrived. It is Max’s 31st pole, his eleventh this year, a personal record for a season).

Qualifying was unpredictable and very closely contested. In Q1, the 20 drivers were all within the same second, while the fastest 10 in Q2 were all within 354 thousandths of a second.


The Sprint format this weekend meant there was only the one free practice session. Almost all the teams concentrated on running the Hard with 74.4% of the laps completed on this compound, while Alonso and the two Alpine drivers have already used two sets. The remaining laps were divided almost equally between the Medium (14.5%) and the Soft (11.1%). Track temperature during the session varied between 38 and 42 °C, as the wind began to make its presence felt on track. Two cars had punctures – a left rear for Alonso and Hamilton – because of debris on track.

The start of qualifying was delayed by 15 minutes so that the marshals could clean the track more. Then, almost up to the end of Q2, the weather was reasonably stable even if the temperature dropped quickly and the track seemed to get progressively quicker. In the closing moments of Q2 however, the wind really picked up and the times got slower. The sky was completely dark and the air was heavy with rain, but it only started to fall a few minutes into Q3, by which time most of the ten drivers had managed to put in a timed lap. The one exception was Piastri who was caught out and ended up in the gravel, bringing out a yellow flag which also affected Perez. From then on, it began to rain really hard and so the session was red flagged, not to be resumed.

The Pirelli Pole Position Award was presented by the 41 year old Brazilian footballer, Adriano Leite Ribeiro, known as “The Emperor.” The striker was Italian champion four times with Internazionale, the club with which he also won two Coppa Italia and three Italian Supercap. Playing for his country, his palmares also features wins in the Copa America and a Confederations Cup.


“The Friday of a Sprint weekend is always very frenetic with all the teams having just one hour to prepare for the rest of the programme, trying to fine tune the set-up and, at the same time, evaluate the three compounds available to them. On top of that, the Sprint format means the teams try to use their sets differently to usual, aiming for the most efficient use possible. Clearly, for Interlagos, we and the teams have a lot of data from previous years to call on, which will be useful in the coming hours, given that information acquired in FP1 is rather limited. From what we have seen, the C2 does not seem favourite for race use, because it has shown far from negligible degradation, triggered by the low level of grip leading to the cars sliding a lot.

The weather changed for the worse between free practice and qualifying, with temperatures dropping pretty suddenly, the wind increasing in intensity and the threat of rain looming more and more, eventually producing the storm that led to qualifying ending early. This made life difficult for the drivers, who had to deal with very changeable track conditions, while the wind was changing direction and speed to complicate matters still further.

The forecast is for better weather tomorrow with no rain. Last year in the Sprint here, 18 of the 20 drivers used the Soft and it's likely we can expect a similar scenario tomorrow, given that the temperatures should still be cooler than in this morning’s free practice.”


Founded in 1872, Pirelli is a company with deep Italian roots now recognised all over the world for its cutting-edge technology, capacity for innovation, and the quality of its products. Motorsport has always played an important part in Pirelli’s strategy, following the ‘race to road’ philosophy. The company has been engaged in motorsport for 116 years and today supplies tyres to more than 350 championships on both two and four wheels. Pirelli pays constant attention to the most efficient use of natural resources and energy, aiming to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. 
Pirelli has been Global Tyre Partner of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 2011. The company also supplies championships including FIA Formula 2, FIA Formula 3, Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, FIA World Rally Championship and GT World Challenge, alongside numerous national series.