Max Verstappen claimed his second Formula 1 career pole ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix in Interlagos.
Verstappen headed Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in second and third respectively, improving on his second flying lap in Q3 to book top spot.
The Dutchman shot to the top of the timesheets with his opening lap, despite a mistake that saw him run wide, before improving with his second lap.
“Straight away from Q1 the car was flying and it was actually really enjoyable to drive, so I’m really happy with this pole position,” Verstappen said.
“I tried a different line, but also the track was a bit warmer (on my first run), gave me a bit more oversteer and then of course I went a bit wide.
“The second lap luckily was a bit better, so all good.”
Vettel was 0.123s slower than the Red Bull with Hamilton was less than a tenth of a second further back in third.
Though fourth fastest in qualifying, Charles Leclerc will drop 10 places on Sunday’s grid after Ferrari fitted a new power unit to his car.
Unable to improve on his final lap, Valterri Bottas claimed fifth from Alex Albon and a strong performance from Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in seventh.
The top 10 was rounded out by Romain Grosjean (Haas), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), and Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
Daniel Ricciardo banked the 12th fastest time for Renault, missing out on progressing to Q3 by just half a tenth.
The Australian found himself in the middle of the tight midfield pack, with seventh to 15th covered by just three tenths of a second as Q2 ended.
Lando Norris (McLaren) will start out of 11th with Antonio Giovinazzi 13th (Alfa Romeo), then it’s Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), and Sergio Perez (Racing Point).
Falling at the first hurdle were Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Lance Stroll (Racing Point), George Russell (Williams), and Robert Kubica (Williams).
Rounding out the field was Carloz Sainz, the McLaren driver not setting a time after striking dramas on his first flying lap that forced him back to the pits and out of the session.
The result is just Red Bull’s fifth pole position in the current turbo-hybrid era, and the team’s 63rd in total.
Having demonstrated solid race pace during practice it’s expected Verstappen will pose a genuine threat for victory, 12 months on from a clash with Esteban Ocon while leading that allowed Hamilton to steal the win.
The Brazilian Grand Prix begins at 0410 AEDT on Sunday.
Results: Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda||1:08.242||1:07.503||1:07.508|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Honda||1:08.503||1:08.117||1:07.935|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso Honda||1:08.909||1:08.770||1:08.837|
|8||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:09.197||1:08.705||1:08.854|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:09.276||1:08.858||1:08.984|
|10||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:08.875||1:08.803||1:09.037|
|11||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:08.891||1:08.868|
|13||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:09.175||1:08.919|
|15||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes||1:09.288||1:09.035|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso Honda||1:09.320|
|17||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes||1:09.536|
|18||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:10.126|
|19||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||1:10.614|
|NC||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault|