The final sprint race of the 2023 Formula One season is upon us at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. Lando Norris secured his first ever F1 pole to front the grid for the 24-lap sprint to the finish with world champion Max Verstappen right behind him and sure to pose the McLaren driver a stern test in his rapid Red Bull.
Norris, who was frustrated yesterday after qualifying only sixth for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, said after the sprint shootout: “Honestly, it felt like one of the worst laps I’ve done, so I’m a little bit surprised, but it’s a good surprise. I feel like we’ve made up for yesterday.”
The 23-year-old has never won a sprint race or a Grand Prix and had to watch Oscar Piastri, his McLaren team-mate, win the last sprint in Qatar last month.
Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez starts on the second row next to George Russell in his Mercedes at Interlagos. Lewis Hamilton is behind them in fifth as he looks to cut Perez’s 20-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship in his bid to finish second.
There are just two races remaining after tomorrow’s Grand Prix – and no more sprint races – in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi so points are at a premium for the Brit and the grid’s other drivers also looking to rise up the standings.
Express Sport provides live coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race below…
Norris escapes punishment
Pole-sitter Lando Norris faced an investigation after the sprint shootout – but the stewards have decided against punishing the McLaren man.
He was summoned for failing to follow the race director’s instructions in regards to “exceeding the time limit between the safety car lines during qualifying”.
It was decided that just a reprimand was the appropriate penalty because he was held up by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 before the stewards’ decision, Norris explained: “I tried to go, but there were two cars ahead of me. It’s just a silly rule.
“Two cars came out the pits at a similar time and crossed the line, so one of them has to back off, otherwise you’re gonna race, and it’s just silly.
“One had to back off, and I had to back off, so it’s just… this rule is stupid in my eyes.”
How the sprint grid looks
1) Lando Norris
2) Max Verstappen
3) Sergio Perez
4) George Russell
5) Lewis Hamilton
6) Yuki Tsunoda
7) Charles Leclerc
8) Daniel Ricciardo
9) Carlos Sainz
10) Oscar Piastri
11) Kevin Magnussen
12) Nico Hulkenberg
13) Pierre Gasly
14) Valtteri Bottas
15) Fernando Alonso
16) Esteban Ocon
17) Lance Stroll
18) Zhou Guanyu
19) Alex Albon
20) Logan Sargeant
Good evening one and all.
It’s time for another F1 sprint race, this time from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Could we see Lando Norris top the podium for the first time ever? British racing fans are certainly hoping so…
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