Brazilian GP: Verstappen takes pole at Interlagos

Max Verstappen took the pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix while Sebastian Vettel will start second with Lewis Hamilton at third in the grid at Interlagos.

Verstappen, who finished fourth in the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, stormed to the pole position.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Max Verstappen secured the second pole position of his career to mark his Red Bull boss Christian Horner's 46th birthday in style on Saturday when he topped the qualifying times for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old Dutchman, who had given Horner a cream cake earlier in the day, produced a best lap in one minute and 7.508 seconds to outpace four-time champion Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in a final flurry while newly-crowned six-time champion Lewis Hamilton settled for third for Mercedes.

Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc qualified fourth, but faces a 10-place grid penalty after taking a new engine, ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes and Alex Albon in the second Red Bull.

Pierre Gasly was seventh for Toro Rosso ahead of Haas's Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo and Kevin Magnussen in the second Haas.

“Yes boys, that was really good!” said Verstappen on team radio. “That's the best birthday present - isn't it Christian?”

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Horner praised Verstappen for topping the times in all three parts of qualifying with a dazzling display of his speed at the undulating Interlagos circuit.

“The car was really good,” said Verstappen. “The track temperature was changing and we had to adjust a little bit for that, but the car was really flying - I'm really happy with pole position.”

Vettel said: “I had a bit of a wobble on the exit on my first run, but I think Max improved his time so fair play - it's his pole position. He did it and let's see what happens and what we can do tomorrow.”

Hamilton said: “Congratulations to Max. That was a great lap by him. We seemed to be quite competitive in Q3 and then we seemed to lose some ground - or they gained! I think we've been down on power compared to the others, but I gave it everything I had.”

Brazilian Grand Prix 2019

1. Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1 minute, 07.508 seconds.

2. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Ferrari, 1-07.631.

3. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 1-07.699.

4. Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 1-07.728.

5. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, 1-07.874.

6. Alexander Albon, Thailand, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1-07.935.

7. Pierre Gasly, France, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 1-08.837.

8. Romain Grosjean, France, Haas Ferrari, 1-08.854.

9. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 1-08.984.

10. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas Ferrari, 1-09.037.

Eliminated after second session

11. Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren Renault, 1-08.868.

12. Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, Renault, 1-08.903.

13. Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 1-08.919.

14. Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Renault, 1-08.921.

15. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 1-09.035.

Eliminated after first session

16. Daniil Kvyat, Russia, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 1-09.320.

17. Lance Stroll, Canada, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, 1-09.536.

18. George Russell, Great Britain, Williams Mercedes, 1-10.126.

19. Robert Kubica, Poland, Williams Mercedes, 1-10.614.