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Bottas Best After Brazilian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying

Photo Credit: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

The 2021 Formula One season is quickly rushing to completion with the Brazilian Grand Prix being the fourth-to-last event. With Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton left with fewer chances to gain points, this weekend’s competition at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace contained the additional opportunity to gain up to three extra points as the race weekend was the last of three where the sport would stage a Sprint Qualifying session.

After a typical time trial on Friday, Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team race car registered the fastest lap time in Q3 but would receive a penalty for his DRS (Drag Reduction System) being out of compliance with the rules. While Hamilton was moved to the rear for Sprint Qualifying, drivers’ championship leader Verstappen received also entered Saturday with a penalty in the form of a 50,000 euro fine for making physical contact with the rear wing of the #44 Mercedes after Friday qualifying.

The 24-lap contest that would decide the running order for the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday had Max Verstappen’s Red Bull race car at the front but the #77 Mercedes AMG machine of Valtteri Bottas surged ahead almost instantly on the start taking the lead. Soft compound Pirelli tires would be partly to credit for the superior start of Bottas as well as the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. launching from fifth to second on the opening lap. Sainz would only briefly hold on the runner-up spot as Verstappen’s medium compound tires began to work better on the Honda-powered race car.

From a 20th place starting spot, Lewis Hamilton rapidly climbed through the field taking four positions on the first lap and gaining 14th place on the second lap. The charge by the seven-time Formula One World Champion was a source of deep amusement.

While Max Verstappen remained close to #77 Mercedes through much of the 24-lap Sprint Qualifying, Valtteri Bottas won the event gaining the full advantage of his opening lap edge. The Finnish driver and his Mercedes AMG team gained three points in their year-long standings in addition to capturing the pole position for Sunday. Max Verstappen’s #33 Red Bull Racing car took second place in the Saturday Sprint Qualifying obtaining two points that allowed the Dutch driver to extend his lead in the current drivers’ standings to 21 points over Lewis Hamilton. The final podium spot was taken by the #55 Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. staying on front of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull Racing.

Photo Credit: LAT Images/Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Though Lewis Hamilton missed out on scoring points, his performance in 24 laps resulted on a stunning fifth place run taking the final position from the McLaren of Lando Norris on a darling last lap move into turn one. Hamilton’s wild journey on the Formula One grid before Sunday’s race will actually see the #44 car in 10th place after incurring an engine penalty.

The 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix is scheduled for 71 laps starting at 2 p.m. local time (noon eastern time).

2021 Formula 1 Season
Brazilian Grand Prix
Starting Grid
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
5 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
6 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
8 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
9 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
10 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
12 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
13 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
14 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
15 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
17 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
18 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
19 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
20 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari


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