Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Interlagos, 2022

Magnussen takes shock sprint race pole position in rain-hit qualifying session

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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Kevin Magnussen secured a stunning pole position for the Interlagos sprint race after a fortunately-timed red flag ensured he beat Max Verstappen to the fastest time.

In a qualifying hour affected by intermittent rain, Magnussen was the first driver onto the track in Q3 and set what would be the pole position time before George Russell spun into the gravel and trigged a red flag stoppage. Rain fell during the suspension, meaning none of the drivers could improve after the session resumed, securing a shock pole for Magnussen and Haas.

Max Verstappen will start alongside Magnussen on the front row for tomorrow’s sprint race, with George Russell lining up third.


With light rain having fallen over the Interlagos circuit between first practice and qualifying, the track was still lightly damp as the first phase of qualifying began. All drivers chose to venture out on intermediate tyres, Ferrari warning Charles Leclerc that more rain would arrive 10 minutes into the session.

Leclerc was the fastest of the first batch of drivers to complete an initial banker lap, setting a 1’18.723. Team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr went second quickest, a tenth of a second behind. Then the Red Bulls went fastest on their first efforts of the session, Max Verstappen going quickest of all and team mate Sergio Perez behind in second.

Times continued to fall by the minute, with Fernando Alonso moving to the top of the table before Lewis Hamilton went event faster to take the top spot. With just under 10 minutes remaining, AlphaTauri pitted both Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda for soft tyres. Gasly’s first lap was slower than his previous best, but the next time around he went quickest of all.

By now, almost the entire field had moved onto the soft tyres. With three minutes remaining, the drop zone consisted of the two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen.

Stroll and Vettel both improved on softs, bumping the two Ferraris into the drop zone. Sainz jumped into safety on his first slick lap, but Leclerc had to abandon his first lap when he was caught behind Tsunoda, leaving him only one lap with which to get himself through to Q2. Fortunately for Ferrari, he did just that, but his rivals were improving with every car that crossed the line.

After the end of a flurry of late times, Nicholas Latifi was the first driver to be knocked out in 16th place, a tenth behind Daniel Ricciardo in 15th. The two Alfa Romeos were also out, with Zhou Guanyu in 17th and team mate Bottas eliminated in 18th after a late session call for a second set of intermediates backfired. Tsunoda was eliminated in 19th, with Mick Schumacher the final driver out in 20th.

The Haas driver, whose future at the team is in serious doubt, was dismayed to learn he had failed to make the cut. “We didn’t get through, it was 15.1 to get through,” he race engineer informed him. Not only was Schumacher’s 1’16.361 well outside that, it was almost two-and-a-half seconds slower than his team mate.

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Q1 result

14Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’13.10613
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’13.4030.29711
314Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’13.5420.4369
45Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’13.5970.49112
511Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’13.6130.50712
61Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’13.6250.51911
720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’13.9540.84813
823Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’14.3241.21813
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’14.3711.26513
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’14.3981.29213
1163George RussellMercedesW131’14.4271.32111
1216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’14.4861.38012
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’14.6631.55710
1455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’14.6801.57412
153Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’14.9311.82512
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’15.0951.98913
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’15.1972.09112
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’15.4862.38013
1922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’16.2643.15812
2047Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’16.3613.25512

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There was still no rain actively falling over the circuit when the pit lane exit opened to commence the second part of qualifying. All drivers quickly headed out on track, but while all 15 were on soft slick tyres, there was a mixture of cars on used or new tyres.

Verstappen set the initial benchmark with a 1’11.670 on used tyres, but was beaten by Lando Norris who went a tenth of a second quicker than the Red Bull with brand new tyres. Pierre Gasly moved into third-fastest, just five-thousandths of a second slower than Verstappen, before Fernando Alonso jumped to the very top with his second push lap on new softs.

George Russell and Esteban Ocon both reported spots of rain appearing on their visors, before Leclerc also found rain streaks appearing on his visor through the middle sector. With the two Mercedes out of safety, the team pulled both Russell and Hamilton in for fresh softs. Russell used his to move up to third, while Hamilton improved on his first lap on fresh tyres to move directly behind his team mate.

With five minutes remaining, Carlos Sainz Jnr was on the bubble in tenth place, while Ocon, Alexander Albon, Vettel, Ricciardo and Stroll had to find some time to ensure progression into Q3. Vettel found just over a tenth to jump to ninth, which knocked Sainz into danger. The Ferrari driver responded by blitzing his own personal best time to jump up to second place and go safe once again.

In the final minute, the reported drizzle appeared to begin having an impact on the track with no one able to improve. The two Aston Martin drivers both made identical mistakes into the Senna S at the start of the lap, which sealed their fates, while none of the other drivers who need to find time were able to do so.

At the end of the session, that left Albon out in 11th place, ahead of Gasly and Vettel in 13th. Ricciardo failed to follow McLaren team mate Norris through to Q3 and was knocked out in 14th, while Stroll’s mistake at turn one left him as the final driver to see his qualifying end in Q2 down in 15th.

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Q2 result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’10.88120
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’10.8900.00921
316Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’10.9500.06922
463George RussellMercedesW131’11.3180.43721
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’11.3770.49622
614Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.3940.51318
720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’11.4100.52923
811Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’11.4560.57522
944Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’11.5390.65821
1031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.5870.70619
1123Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’11.6310.75021
1210Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’11.6750.79424
135Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’11.6780.79723
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’12.1401.25921
1518Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’12.2101.32924

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The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace was now so dark with rain clouds hanging overhead that the rain lights on the back of the cars formed a dazzling spectacle as the field queued at the end of the pit lane. With rain possibly falling at any moment, Ferrari chose to split strategy by sending Leclerc into the queue on intermediate tyres – the only one of the ten drivers to do so.

Magnussen was the first driver in the queue to leave the pits on slicks, with Leclerc behind him. At the end of his out-lap, it became clear the rain was not falling. Ferrari tried to call Leclerc in at the end of the lap, but they were too late and he was forced to complete a second lap. Meanwhile, drivers on slicks began to set their first lap times, with Verstappen going fastest on a 1’11.877. He was then beaten by Magnussen, who went two tenths of a second quicker than the world champion to take provisional pole.

Russell went third fastest, but then lost control of his Mercedes when he touched the grass under braking for turn four. He ran off into the gravel trap and tried to spin his Mercedes to avoid the barrier, but beached his car in the process. The session was red-flagged with Magnussen on the top of the times.

As the marshals cleared Russell’s car, the rain began to fall in earnest. Suddenly, Magnussen had a genuine chance of taking pole position if his rivals were unable to improve. When the session eventually resumed, it was clearly too damp for slick tyres. With only seven minutes remaining, there was no realistic opportunity for any of the ten drivers to improve on their initial times. Perez and Hamilton would both venture out on intermediates for sighting laps, but returned to the pits without starting a flying lap.

When the session clock finally ran out, Magnussen was officially confirmed as the being on pole position for the Saturday sprint race – the first of his career and the first ever for the Haas team. Verstappen will start alongside him on the front row in second place, with Russell’s mistake having the unintended consequence of securing him third on the grid.

Lando Norris took fourth on the grid, with Sainz in fifth ahead of the two Alpines of Ocon and Alonso in sixth and seventh. Hamilton will start eighth for the sprint, with Perez and Leclerc rounding out the top ten, the Ferrari driver having failed to set a time.

Q3 result

120Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’11.67426
21Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’11.8770.20323
363George RussellMercedesW131’12.0590.38524
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’12.2630.58925
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’12.3570.68324
631Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’12.4250.75122
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’12.5040.83021
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’12.6110.93725
911Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’15.6013.92726
1016Charles LeclercFerrariF1-75No time25

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2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    44 comments on “Magnussen takes shock sprint race pole position in rain-hit qualifying session”

    1. Doing the Hulk I see.
      It was a mega lap!

    2. well the sprint tomorrow will be a little more interesting now!

      1. Also, it will ruin this super exciting grid!!!
        I was never really that much against sprint races, but I really hate this particular instance of it where it ruins a super exciting and unique grid for the race.

        1. Yeah, sadly it will probalby mean we get a standard grid for the race on sunday, unless we get some accidents.

        2. Exactly. It really devalues pole position. It sort of feels like a second rate pole.

    3. Me putting my Racefans predictions in.

      K-Mag: “And I took that personally.”

    4. I get that Ferrari can only hope to have a chance at sporadic race wins, and that they know that their only driver capable of this is Leclerc – but is nobody weighing the pros and cons here? It’s Leclerc. If anyone is going to be on pole in the dry, it’s him. Putting him on some too-clever-by-half strategy is just … I don’t even know what to call it.

      Meanwhile, they have Sainz in the other car – who is usually nowhere near pole, and has an engine grid penalty that applies to the GP. Put him on the risky strategy, maybe take pole for the sprint and in doing so hope he doesn’t start the GP lower than 7th (because Verstappen will win the Sprint anyway).

      Oh well, at least one of the Ferrari-powered cars starts up front.

      1. Yeah, I mean Ferrari almost did themselves in in Q1 already with that endless wait in the pitlane. And then they messed up with getting Sainz out in time. Man, the moment Leclerc realised that he was the only one on wets, then he told his team it was bone dry, the team answered they saw some rain somewhere, then called him in only when he was already past the pit entrance. What a shambles. Then again, Leclerc could have just gone into the pitlane without waiting for his team, he knows their calls are rather wonky.

        I guess Red Bull / Perez were fully expecting Leclerc to go to the pitlane, otherwise they would have dropped back in time to enable a solid lap for him. Their mistake for overestimating Ferrari, I guess.

        Lovely job by Haas to give Magnussen the opportunity to do it. Looks like the track was already getting wetter by the second and that helped Kevin set the fastest lap and nobody could beat it. In the end Russel was lucky he binned it, otherwise surely Perez would have gotten close to the top of the grid since he was already starting a super first sector.

        The funny thing is, the strategy call in Q1 was part of what made Mick Schumacher be unable to set a lap – they sent him out too late on slicks to get a lap in but seemed almost as quick as Kevin until then. Just goes to show how a great call and a bit of a misser on strategy can really make or break a great weekend when it’s these conditions.

      2. Absolutely, it sounds all so silly, and no doubt binotto will defend the decision.

        1. “Binotto’s Law”
          If you really don’t believe it’s a mistake then it’s not a mistake.

    5. I made a comment earlier today on the Sprint Race article about Risk Vs Reward & Expectation Vs Reality:

      F1 want a high-risk (albeit safe) and unpredictable spectacle.

      Teams want the lowest possible risk and the most predictable way to achieve their “optimal” goal.

      These two things don’t often line up together. On those rare occasions they do – that’s when F1 is at it’s brilliant best.

      One of those rare occasions is exactly what’s happened today with KMag and Haas… Great stuff and congratulations to them!

      1. Just sad that the debacle we call sprint races will ensure that the grid for sunday will be almost normal again…
        How naive we were to think that Bernie being gone meant stupid ideas like this would be gone. Oh how innocent we were…

    6. Very happy for him. It’s always nice in any sport when the underdog gets a result like this. It’ll mean so much more to those in that garage than a pole would for those at Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes. Not a critique of them as such, it’s just a pleasure to see the HAAS team so overjoyed.

    7. Cried a little, not gonna lie.

      1. The facts article that Keith does a couple of days after a GP will have a few more paragraphs in it after what happened today.

    8. Would be even better if it was a normal weekend and pole position was actually going to be pole position for the Grand Prix.

      When we have these sprint weekends with the qualifying on Friday it just always for me feels more like when we used to have 2 qualifying sessions & the results from Friday didn’t really mean much because they ultimately weren’t usually what decided the grid for the GP. Back then the fastest driver after Friday qualifying would be called the provisional pole sitter rather than the actual pole sitter and that’s how I always feel with qualifying on these sprint weekends.

      For me the pole position winner is the driver who actually starts the GP on pole position and not simply who is fastest in qualifying. And it’s these sort of details that are a part of why I dislike the format on these sprint weekends.

      And I don’t mean to take anything away from Kevin or Haas, They did a great job and deserve the result but as I say I just think it would be so much better if this was a normal weekend and it was actually pole position for the GP rather than what is basically provisional pole (Similar to Jos Verstappen been fastest driving the Minardi in Friday qualifying in 2003 at the French GP when we had 2 qualifying sessions).

      1. yeah i feel similar.

        kmag will be tail end of top 10 after the awful sprint gimmick tomorrow rendering a good lap irrelevant.

        yes fine even if he was actually starting the real race on pole he’d quickly fall back very quickly thanks to the drs gimmick anyway but at least seeing him starting the real grand prix race on pole would mean it was an actual pole position and he’d be fighting a bit at the front of the actual real race for a bit which again would make it more special.

        winning qualifying, starting 1st for the sprint gimmick (which were were told by f1 last year wasn’t even a race), falling back and starting the real grand prix in a more normal position just doesn’t mean as much. it’s just all a bit fake for the nascar netflix casuals.

      2. Don’t worry, rain tomorrow a few laps behind the safety car and then red flagged before anything changes might keep the grid in the same order.

        1. Or George could reprise his brilliant going off behind the safety car about 2yrs & 2 weeks ago…. spooky

    9. Nail in the coffin for Mick?

      1. @Dane Too early still & besides, the team once again screwed him up.

      2. Rumour is they have already signed Hulkenburg for next season.

        1. Yep. I’ve heard this too. ScuderiaF1 podcast talked about it, I think it was a CrashF1 article they referenced, something about Aston Martin having a new reserve driver meaning Hulk is released for a seat

      3. No, nail in the coffin into Mick’s forehead…

    10. Among the surprises, a K-Mag is what I least expected, but I’m happy for him, even if he’ll eventually drop down the field tomorrow & more in the actual race.

    11. Just last week I made a comment where I said Ferrari shouldn’t waste time with SAI and better try something with other drivers… even K-Mag (most likely will do the same job as SAI is doing now)… and someone questioned my sanity. And now… this! I guess someone else should check their mental health. Go K-Mag!

      1. That was me, I still think you’re barmy but I too will be having wet dreams over the prospect of K-Mag in a Ferrari.

    12. Very happy for K-Mag and Haas. Well deserved!

    13. Too bad it’s not really pole. This would have been quite the qualifying session but the tension just isn’t there knowing it’s really for nought tomorrow.

    14. Pretty disappointed that there is no way of watching this on terrestrial TV. I feel like this happened with one of the first sprint race weekend ie that the traditional quali (relegated to the Friday) was amazing but it felt a bit less special.

      I feel like F1 is just gnawing away at me the last few years, basically driving me out as a fan. It’s only been 27 years, finally at a stage in my life when I could reasonably afford to go to another race but I really don’t feel the urge, which is rather sad.

    15. These types of moments are the best, most memorable for an F1 fan like myself. Wonderful day! Well done, K-Mag!! So happy for you.

    16. Shame its not actually pole position.

      It’s nothing more than provisional pole with the actual pole been decided in the gimmick race tomorrow.

      Pole is the guy who starts the grand Prix on pole and i just don’t see kev staying at the front in the gimmick sprint tomorrow.

    17. What world do we live in where Haas have a pole this year and Lewis Hamilton doesn’t?

      1. What world do we live in where Haas have a pole this year and Lewis Hamilton doesn’t?

        An interesting one, except the interest is going to knocked out of this weekend by the sprint.
        Unless, K-Mag does a special move and Verstappen tries, and fails, to go round the outside.

        The problem is, even on the short distance of the sprint, I can’t see him keeping the driver in the overly expensive car behind.

    18. Wonderful for Kevin!

      For the actual race would be even better.

    19. You have to admire how incompetence level Ferrari achieves.

      1. You have to admire how incompetence level Ferrari achieves.

        Something of a disappointment this year, piled on top of a few years when you expected the team to turn up with funny costumes and red noses and the car to have a large hand operated horn which also caused bits of the car to fall off when used.
        They have risen from that in some respects, but sadly not in all.

      2. In a lot of these mixed condition sessions Carlo’s side of the garage seems to get it right. You would think by now they would communicate a little between within the team. Of course the one useful lap in Q3 is the one lap Ferrari manage to screw up.

    20. I’m really pleased for KMag.

      George Russell, however has once again shown that he can benefit by triggering a Red Flag. I feel drivers triggering a Red Flag should be relegated to the back of the current Qualification Order (10th in this instance).

      1. I agree. Or maybe lose a second or half a second from their quickest time.

      2. George Russell, however has once again shown that he can benefit by triggering a Red Flag.

        Should carry some kind of penalty. Speaking as a Merc fan, I still want to see fair play and this doesn’t seem to be fair to benefit from your own mistake.

    21. Kevin, do it!
      HAAS sucks! Yet for winning races but please entertain us winning that stupid sprint format!

    22. This is great news. I’m pleased for Kevin and for Haas, this was a fantastic outcome.

    Comments are closed.