MAX VERSTAPPEN beat the “insane” rain to snatch pole position for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – just before the heavens opened.
The Red Bull man set the quickest time before the rain clouds andengulfed the Interlagos circuit and the session was stopped early.
said: “It’s fifth, and fifth is never that great. I did the best I could and hopefully we will have a better race.
“The car was showing signs of decent performance but generally we are a couple of tenths off the top guys.
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“But the conditions at the end have us a little bit further back on the grid, but it is difficult to say.”
Russell added: “It was absolutely crazy. I have never seen a change in weather as drastic as that.
“Theis still the podium. Aston Martin seem to have found their form but I am hoping our race pace is better than theirs.
“It will be a difficult fight with Max, but I expect it to be a two of three-stop race, so it is all to play for.”
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Verstappen, who is again the favourite, said: “We didn’t know when the rain would hit in qualifying, we thought it would hit but this is insane weather.
“It was all quite hectic in the last lap. It seems that it’s all very close. Last year we didn’t get that right but I think we are a bit better this year.”
Ferrari‘s Leclerc, who had been on pole in the previous two races, added: “In my whole career I have never experienced something like that.
“From Turn 4 onwards there was no rain. But the car was extremely difficult to drive, no grip.
“I was thinking about coming in at the end of the lap but I finished it and it was P2. So a really good surprise. A very weird one for everyone at the track.”
But they were caught out by the rain and did not get out on track with enough dry running to set a lap time.
Norris said: “The car was amazing. Easily quick enough to be quickest and on pole. So I am pretty gutted for that to end the way we did.
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“Obviously delivering the lap and putting it together in Q3 and everything is a different job, but easily quick enough.
“So another disappointing Saturday, but not a lot we could have done.”
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