RACE DEBRIEF

    A rare Friday qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton come to the fore and take P1 for the Sprint, despite knowing pole won’t be his on Sunday thanks to grid penalties. Mercedes took the fight to Red Bull at Interlagos, with the action set to hot up tomorrow when Hamilton lines up alongside title rival Max Verstappen in the 100km dash. Here are the facts and stats from the third Friday qualifying session of the season...

    • Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3 for the second time in four races – and it is the second time where it does not give him pole, after Turkey where he had to serve a grid penalty.

    • Hamilton’s margin of 0.438s over P2 Max Verstappen was the largest advantage in a dry Q3 this season.

    READ MORE: Hamilton beats Verstappen to seal top grid slot for F1 Sprint in Brazil

    • Verstappen’s P2 makes this the same front row that started at the Sprint in Silverstone, which saw the Dutchman take the lead at Turn 1.

    • The Dutchman is yet to finish lower than second in a Sprint.

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    Hamilton was the fastest over one lap - but won't have pole on Sunday

    • Sergio Perez starts the Sprint fourth – having never finished higher than P9 in the two Sprints so far this season.

    • Pierre Gasly is in the top five in Q3 for the third time in the last four race weekends.

    • Carlos Sainz starts the Sprint sixth, meaning he out-qualifies a team mate over one lap for the first time at Interlagos.

    READ MORE: Hamilton brings back Senna-inspired helmet, as Verstappen also sports new design in Brazil

    • Lando Norris is P8 for the third time in the last four Q3 sessions.

    • Daniel Ricciardo’s ninth will be his lowest Sprint starting slot so far this season.

    • Fernando Alonso made the top 10 shootout, less than a week after being knocked out in Q1 in Mexico.

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    Gasly continued his impressive run of qualifying form in Sao Paulo

    • Sebastian Vettel missed out on Q3 for the seventh consecutive race.

    • Yuki Tsunoda is out in Q2, ending AlphaTauri’s run where they have had both cars into Q3 for three consecutive races.

    • Lance Stroll exited at the first time of asking for the third straight race in 2021, and the fourth straight time in Interlagos

    HIGHLIGHTS: See all the key moments from first practice in Sao Paulo

    • Nicholas Latifi outqualifies George Russell over one lap for the first time since they became team mates at the start of 2020.

    • Nikita Mazepin maintains his record of setting the slowest “proper” flying lap in conventional qualifying at every Q1 this season.